By Jay Skurski
Here’s a look at how the Western New Yorkers and University at Buffalo graduates currently playing in the NFL did in Week 17, and how they finished the 2012 regular season.
Brett Kern, P, Tennessee Titans: Punted four times for 204 yards in a 38-20 win against Jacksonville in Week 17. Kern, a Grand Island High School graduate, finished the season with a 47.6-yard average on 81 punts for the Titans, with a net average of 40.4 yards and a long punt of 71 yards.
Corey Graham, DB, Baltimore Ravens: The sixth-year pro from Buffalo made his eighth straight start for the Ravens on Sunday, finishing with two tackles in a 23-17 loss to the Bengals. For the season, Graham has 60 tackles, two interceptions, a forced fumble and eight passes defensed for the 10-6 Ravens, who host the Colts this weekend in the wild card round of the playoffs.
Mike Williams, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buffalo native started all 16 games this season for the 7-9 Bucs, finishing just four yards short of his first 1,000-yard season. Williams had six catches for 65 yards and a touchdown in a 22-17 win over Atlanta in the season finale Sunday, finishing the year with 63 catches for 996 yards and nine touchdowns.
Chris Gronkowski, FB, Denver Broncos: Appeared in 14 games for the 13-3 Broncos, making his first career catch for Denver in Week Three against Houston. Did not play in Week 17's 38-3 win over Kansas City because of a hamstring injury. The Broncos have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs and are on a bye this week.
James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers: The Niagara Falls native was inactive for the Packers' 37-34 loss to Minnesota, the fourth straight game he missed because of a knee injury. Starks, 26, has 71 rushes for 255 yards and one touchdown and four receptions for 31 yards in six games (two starts). He missed the first five games of the year because of a turf toe injury for the 11-5 Packers. Green Bay hosts Minnesota this week in the wild card playoff round. Starks has been limited in practice as he tries to get back for the game.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots: Returned after missing five games because of a broken forearm and made two catches for 42 yards and a touchdown in a 28-0 win over Miami in the season finale. He finished the regular season with 55 catches for 790 yards and 11 TDs. The Pats have a bye into the divisional round of the playoffs.
Doug Worthington, DT, Washington Redskins: The Buffalo native played in his sixth game of the season, recording one tackle in Washington's playoff-clinching 28-18 win over Dallas in Week 17. Worthington, a St. Francis graduate, joined the Redskins’ active roster from their practice squad prior to Week Three. The Redskins host Seattle this weekend in the wild card round.
Josh Thomas, CB, Carolina Panthers: Finished the regular season by making four straight starts for the Panthers, finishing with four tackles and two passes defensed in the Panthers' 44-38 win against New Orleans in Week 17. Thomas played in all 16 games of the season for the 7-9 Panthers, making 35 tackles and seven passes defensed.
Trevor Scott, LB, New England Patriots: Scott played in his 14th game of the season in a 28-0 win over Miami in Week 17. He recorded his third sack of the season. Scott finished the regular season with 14 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble for the 12-4 Patriots.
Note: UB graduate Jamey Richard is on injured reserve for the Patriots.