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How the locals fared: Week Two

By Jay Skurski

Our weekly rundown on the Press Coverage blog of the players from Western New York (along with the University at Buffalo) currently in the NFL:

Steven Means: The Buffalo native and Grover Cleveland and University at Buffalo product -- a rookie defensive end with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- was inactive in Week Two. Means made his NFL debut in Week One, playing five snaps on special teams in an 18-17 loss at the New York Jets. He did not register any statistics.

Mike Williams: The Tampa Bay receiver -- a Buffalo native and Riverside product -- was targeted six times by quarterback Josh Freeman, making just two catches for 9 yards in a 16-14 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week Two.

Continue reading "How the locals fared: Week Two" »

How the locals fared: Week One

By Jay Skurski

Our weekly rundown on the Press Coverage blog of the players from Western New York (along with the University at Buffalo) currently in the NFL:

Steven Means: The Buffalo native and Grover Cleveland and University at Buffalo product made his NFL debut for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, playing five snaps on special teams in an 18-17 loss at the New York Jets. Means did not register any statistics. The rookie defensive end was a fifth-round draft pick in June.

Mike Williams: The Buffalo native and Riverside product was targeted eight times by Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman, making four catches for 52 yards and a touchdown in a loss to the Jets.

James Starks: The Niagara Falls native is in his fourth season as a running back for the Green Bay Packers. He caught one pass for 8 yards and did not attempt any rushes in a 34-28 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Continue reading "How the locals fared: Week One" »

Where the Western New Yorkers are after final cuts around the NFL

By Jay Skurski

Five local players could not survive final roster cuts over the weekend, leaving a total of seven from Western New York on active rosters (or in one case, a physically unable to perform list) heading into the 2013 NFL season. Another two players from the University at Buffalo are also in the NFL. Here is an update on each of them:

Steven Means: The Buffalo native and Grover Cleveland and University at Buffalo product is listed as the backup right defensive end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who drafted Means in the fifth round of April’s NFL Draft. Mean impressed the Bucs earlier in the preseason with his athleticism.

James Starks: The Niagara Falls native is entering his fourth season with the Green Bay Packers. He’s listed as the starter at running back on the depth chart, but has promising rookies in Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin behind him.

J.C. Tretter: The Akron product, a fourth-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in April, will start the season on the team’s physically unable to perform list after he broke his ankle in May. He will miss at least the first six weeks of the season.

Continue reading "Where the Western New Yorkers are after final cuts around the NFL" »

J.C. Tretter breaks ankle at Packers practice; agent questions drill

By Jay Skurski

The start to the professional career of Akron's J.C. Tretter with the Green Bay Packers is almost certain to be delayed after he broke his ankle during practice Monday.

Tretter's agent, Alan Herman, spoke with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the injury, saying that Tretter got his cleat caught in the turf during a field drill.

"It's like they're trying to slide into second base and he got his cleat caught and his ankle rolled over and broke," Herman told the newspaper. "Why they're practicing a fumble drill, I don't know. There's not supposed to be contact. That's a silly drill. Why have big 300-pound guys slide like that in OTAs?"

Herman suggested the injury will take about six months to fully heal. That could make him a candidate for the injured reserve, designated to return rule that the NFL instituted last year.

Tretter was expected to have surgery within 24 hours, with screws and a plate inserted to repair the torn ligament.

Tretter was not available this evening when contacted by The News.

J.C. Tretter, Luke Tasker were almost roommates again

By Jay Skurski

For the past four seasons, Luke Tasker and J.C. Tretter have been roommates on the road with the Cornell football team.

They almost got a chance to do the same at the next level.

Tretter was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft on Saturday by the Green Bay Packers. Tasker went undrafted, but was close to signing as a free agent with the Packers before ultimately deciding to join the San Diego Chargers.

Continue reading "J.C. Tretter, Luke Tasker were almost roommates again" »

Interest by Packers catches J.C. Tretter by surprise

By Jay Skurski

J.C. Tretter saw the ‘920’ Wisconsin area code pop up on his phone and figured the moment had arrived.

It had.

The Green Bay Packers were calling this afternoon to inform Tretter they were drafting him into the NFL, using the 122nd overall selection in the fourth round.

"It was wild," Tretter said. "I talked to a bunch of people in the organization, and it started to well up inside me. I think back to all those times doing all the hard work and putting everything you can into and knowing what you've dreamed of is finally coming true, I'm just extremely excited about it."

Tretter didn’t have the Packers on his radar coming into the draft. He had met with them informally at the combine, but didn’t make a pre-draft visit or work out for them.

Continue reading "Interest by Packers catches J.C. Tretter by surprise" »

Report: Packers want to trade Niagara Falls native James Starks

By Tim Graham

Local boys James Starks and J.C. Tretter might not play together for the Green Bay Packers after all.

NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport tweeted that the Packers are shopping Starks, a fourth-year running back from Niagara Falls and the University at Buffalo.

Starks, a sixth-round pick in 2010, helped the Packers win the Super Bowl that year. He played only three regular-season games as a rookie but started all four of their postseason games, rushing for 315 yards and a touchdown.

The Packers drafted a pair of running backs this week. They took Alabama star Eddie Lacy in the second round and UCLA's Jonathan Franklin in the fourth round.

The Packers drafted Tretter, an offensive lineman from Akron, in the fourth round today, three slots ahead of Franklin.

Akron's J.C. Tretter drafted by Green Bay Packers in fourth round

By Jay Skurski 

Akron’s J.C. Tretter has found a pretty good landing spot in the NFL.

Tretter was drafted in the fourth round this afternoon, 122nd overall, by the Green Bay Packers. The Cornell product gets to block for Aaron Rodgers and another local product in Niagara Falls native James Starks, a running back.

Tretter, 6-foot-4 and 307 pounds, likely projects as a guard or center at the NFL level after playing his last two college seasons at left tackle. He’s a former high school quarterback who started his college career playing two years at tight end. With his Ivy League background, as you might expect, he’s also a smart player.

Tretter was also an all-state basketball player in high school, and is light on his feet. While he did 29 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press in college, he’s got to improve his functional strength at the NFL level. Here’s a profile on Tretter as part of The News ‘Road to the Draft’ series. Here is his nfl.com draft profile.

And lastly here's a feature story on Tretter prior to the NFL Scouting Combine.

Road to the Draft: J.C. Tretter

By Jay Skurski

J.C. Tretter

Position: Guard
School: Cornell
Measurements: 6-foot-4, 307 pounds
40 time: 5.09 seconds. 225-pound bench press: 29 repetitions. Vertical: 29.5 inches. 20-yard shuttle: 4.69 seconds. Broad jump: 9 feet, 1 inch.
2012 stats: 10 games, 10 starts
Draft projection: Fourth-fifth round

Continue reading "Road to the Draft: J.C. Tretter" »

Luke Tasker, J.C. Tretter take next steps toward NFL dreams

By Tim Graham

A pair of NFL prospects from Western New York participated in Cornell's pro day Friday, and their workout was overseen by another local.

Kenmore native and former NFL offensive-line coach Jim McNally put wide receiver Luke Tasker (St. Francis) and guard J.C. Tretter (Akron) through various events Friday at Cornell University.

Tretter was the focal point. He's projected as a mid-round draft choice and was invited to last month's NFL scouting combine, as Buffalo News reporter Jay Skurski wrote then.

Continue reading "Luke Tasker, J.C. Tretter take next steps toward NFL dreams" »

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | tgraham@buffnews.com


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | mgaughan@buffnews.com


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | jskurski@buffnews.com

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