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Former MEAC Standouts Baggs, Hilton Among Several HBCU Players Playing In NFL Europe
By Tony McClean
Updated: April 8, 2005
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Last weekend was the opening of the NFL Europe football season. Former and current quarterbacks Akili Smith and Kirt Kittner are among the players using the league as springboard to a chance to get on a NFL roster.
The league is also the beginning for some former HBCU football standouts to make an early impression for their NFL teams. In all, 20 former black collegians are on the rosters of the league’s six teams including the expansion Cologne Centurions.
Former FAMU record-setting quarterback Quinn Gray was allocated to NFL Europe by the Jacksonville Jaguars League in the spring of 2003. He would go on to help lead the Frankfurt Galaxy to the league title
Among more notable players on this year’s rosters are a pair of former MEAC Defensive Players of the Year. Ex-Bethune-Cookman linebacker Steve Baggs was allocated by the Detroit Lions to the Frankfurt Galaxy.
The MEAC’s 2003 Defensive Player of the Year, the 6-foot-2, 241-pound Baggs was re-signed by the team in January after being released by them in August of 2004.
Isaac Hilton, a two-time MEAC Defensive Player of the Year for Hampton University is on the roster of the Berlin Thunder. The 6-foot-3, 251-pound defensive end has ridden the NFL roller coaster since being selected by the New York Giants (seventh round, 253rd overall) in last year’s NFL college draft.
After being released in August by New York, Hilton was signed to Tampa Bay’s practice squad in September; released by them in October; and then signed to Carolina’s practice squad in November. The Panthers then allocated him to NFL Europe just before camp opened.
Here is a list of all HBCU players on NFL Europe rosters.
(allocated teams are in parentheses; x-on injured reserve)
S Sam Massey, Morgan State (Titans); CB DeWitt Ellerbe, South Carolina State (free agent); WR Ataveus Cash, Hampton (Giants); DE Earl Cochran, Alabama State (free agent).
S Kalvin Pearson, Grambling (Bucs).
S Chris Day, Grambling (Packers); S Keyon Nash, Albany State (Raiders); DE Greg Scott, Hampton (Bengals); x-OG Jason Thomas, Hampton (Dolphins).
LB Steve Baggs, Bethune Cookman (Lions); WR Jamal Jones, North Carolina A&T (Packers); x-CB Eric Joyce, Tennessee State (Falcons).
HAMBURG SEA DEVILS
LB Shawn Morgan, Fayetteville State (Packers); WR Terrence Metcalf, South Carolina State (Bucs).
CB James Thornton, Morris Brown (free agent); LB Jamal Brooks, Hampton (Browns); DE Isaac Hilton, Hampton (Panthers); x-S Cliff Johnson, Morgan State (Colts); x-WR Allen Suber, Bethune Cookman (Texans).