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How the locals fared: Week 13

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 for his team's 27-6 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Mike Williams: The Tampa Bay receiver -- a Buffalo native and Riverside product --  finished his season with 22 catches for 216 yards and two touchdowns. He was placed on injured reserve because of a torn hamstring on Oct. 28.

James Starks: The Green Bay Packers running back, a Niagara Falls and University at Buffalo product, carried just two times for 2 yards in a 40-10 blowout loss to the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving day. Starks played seven offensive snaps (16 percent) and another three on special teams (11 percent).

J.C. Tretter: The Akron product, a fourth-round draft pick of the Packers in April, is on the team’s physically unable to perform list after he broke his ankle in May. He practiced for the first time Nov. 20, and the team has until Dec. 11 to either activate him to the 53-man roster, or place him on injured reserve.

Rob Gronkowski: Gronkowski had six catches for 127 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots' 34-31 victory against the Houston Texans. Gronk took 63 of 70 offensive snaps (90 percent) for New England.

Brett Kern: The Grand Island native punted six times for 222 yards for the Tennessee Titans in a 22-14 loss at Indianapolis. He had a net average of just 32.2 yards on the punts, but four of the six were downed inside the Colts' 20-yard line. The three punts that were returned went for a total of 29 yards.

Corey Graham: The Baltimore Ravens' cornerback, a Buffalo native and Turner/Carroll product, made eight tackles on defense and another on special teams in a 22-20 victory over Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving night. Graham also defended one pass. He played a lot, getting 56 defensive snaps (85 percent) and another 12 on special teams (48 percent).

Note: Local players Dan Gronkowski, Chris Gronkowski, Jeremy Kelley, Naaman Roosevelt and Doug Worthington are currently free agents, as is UB graduate Trevor Scott. 

UB players

Josh Thomas: Thomas, a cornerback, played 13 special teams snaps (54 percent) for Carolina in a 27-6 victory over Tampa Bay. He did not play defensively.

How the local fared: Week 12

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 for his team's 24-21 victory over the Detroit Lions.

Mike Williams: The Tampa Bay receiver -- a Buffalo native and Riverside product --  finished his season with 22 catches for 216 yards and two touchdowns. He was placed on injured reserve because of a torn hamstring on Oct. 28.

James Starks: The Green Bay Packers running back, a Niagara Falls and University at Buffalo product, carried three times for 37 yards in a 26-26 tie against the Minnesota Vikings. Starks also caught one pass for minus-5 yards, playing eight offensive snaps (9 percent) and another eight on special teams (21 percent).

J.C. Tretter: The Akron product, a fourth-round draft pick of the Packers in April, is on the team’s physically unable to perform list after he broke his ankle in May. He is eligible to come off the list and begin practicing. The team then must decide within three weeks to activate him to the 53-man roster or put him on injured reserve for the season.

Rob Gronkowski: Gronkowski had seven catches for 90 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots' 34-31 overtime victory against the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football. For the first time this season, he appeared in 100 percent of the offensive snaps (87 in total) for the Patriots.

Brett Kern: The Grand Island native punted four times for 163 yards for the Tennessee Titans in a 23-19 win at Oakland. He had a net average of 29 yards on the punts, with one downed inside the 20 and two returned for a total of 18 yards.

Corey Graham: The Baltimore Ravens' cornerback, a Buffalo native and Turner/Carroll product, had two interceptions and defended three passes during Baltimore's 19-3 victory over the New York Jets. Graham played 36 defensive snaps (63 percent) and another 17 (61 percent) on special teams. Graham defended three passes and made one tackle in the win.

Note: Local players Dan Gronkowski, Chris Gronkowski, Jeremy Kelley, Naaman Roosevelt and Doug Worthington are currently free agents. 

UB players

Josh Thomas: Thomas recorded his first career interception for the Panthers in a 20-16 victory over the Miami Dolphins. He played 13 defensive snaps (21 percent) and another 21 snaps on special teams (66 percent), making two special teams tackles.

Trevor Scott: Scott was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prior to the team's 31-13 loss to Carolina in Week Eight. He had played in four games with the Bucs, making three tackles.

How the locals fared: Week 11

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 -- played three snaps on special teams (9 percent) in a 42-28 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. He did not record any statistics.

Mike Williams: The Tampa Bay receiver -- a Buffalo native and Riverside product --  finished his season with 22 catches for 216 yards and two touchdowns. He was placed on injured reserve because of a torn hamstring on Oct. 28.

James Starks: The Green Bay Packers running back, a Niagara Falls and University at Buffalo product, carried two times for minus-1 yard in a 27-13 loss to the New York Giants. Starks played four offensive snaps (7 percent).

J.C. Tretter: The Akron product, a fourth-round draft pick of the Packers in April, is on the team’s physically unable to perform list after he broke his ankle in May. He is eligible to come off the list and begin practicing. The team then must decide within three weeks to activate him to the 53-man roster or put him on injured reserve for the season.

Rob Gronkowski: Gronkowski made five catches for 59 yards and one touchdown in a 24-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football. The Amherst native played a season-high 62 offensive snaps (86 percent).

Brett Kern: The Grand Island native punted three times for 117 yards for the Tennessee Titans in a 30-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. He had a net average of 34 yards on the three punts, and had two of them returned for 15 yards.

Corey Graham: The Baltimore Ravens' cornerback, a Buffalo native and Turner/Carroll product, made a team-high eight tackles, one sack and one pass defensed in a 23-20 loss to the Chicago Bears. Graham played 32 defensive snaps (52 percent) and another 11 (37 percent) on special teams, with one tackle.

Note: Local players Dan Gronkowski, Chris Gronkowski Jeremy Kelley, Naaman Roosevelt and Doug Worthington are currently free agents. 

UB players

Josh Thomas: Thomas, a cornerback played on 12 special teams snaps (57 percent) for the Carolina Panthers in a 24-20 victory over the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football. He did not get any snaps defensively, or record any statistics.

Trevor Scott: Scott was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prior to the team's 31-13 loss to Carolina in Week Eight. He had played in four games with the Bucs, making three tackles.

How the locals fared: Week 10

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 a healthy inactive for his team's 22-19 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football.

Mike Williams: The Tampa Bay receiver -- a Buffalo native and Riverside product --  finished his season with 22 catches for 216 yards and two touchdowns. He was placed on injured reserve because of a torn hamstring on Oct. 28.

James Starks: The Green Bay Packers running back, a Niagara Falls and University at Buffalo product, carried four times for 5 yards and had one catch for 9 yards in a 27-13 loss to Green Bay. Starks played nine offensive snaps (11 percent).

J.C. Tretter: The Akron product, a fourth-round draft pick of the Packers in April, is on the team’s physically unable to perform list after he broke his ankle in May. He is eligible to come off the list and begin practicing. The team then must decide within three weeks to activate him to the 53-man roster or put him on injured reserve for the season.

Rob Gronkowski: Gronkowski and the New England Patriots were on a bye in Week 10. He made nine catches on 10 targets for 143 yards and a touchdown in the New England Patriots' 55-31 beatdown of the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week Nine, getting his most extensive playing time of the season with 49 snaps (64 percent).

Brett Kern: The Grand Island native punted five times for 219 yards for the Tennessee Titans in a 29-27 loss to the previously winless Jacksonville Jaguars. He had a net average of 42.6 on the five punts, and only two of them were returned for 6 yards.

Corey Graham: The Baltimore Ravens' cornerback, a Buffalo native and Turner/Carroll product, made five tackles, including one for a loss, in a 20-17 overtime victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Graham played 55 defensive snaps (62 percent) and another 15 (48 percent) on special teams.

Note: Local players Dan Gronkowski, Chris Gronkowski Jeremy Kelley, Naaman Roosevelt and Doug Worthington are currently free agents. 

UB players

Josh Thomas: Thomas made one special teams tackle for the Panthers in a 10-9 win at San Francisco after being a healthy inactive for two straight weeks. Thomas, a cornerback, played 21 snaps on special teams. He did not see the field on defense.

Trevor Scott: Scott was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prior to the team's 31-13 loss to Carolina in Week Eight. He had played in four games with the Bucs, making three tackles.

How the locals fared: Week Nine

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 -- played six defensive snaps (10 percent), but did not register any statistics in a 27-24 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Mike Williams: The Tampa Bay receiver -- a Buffalo native and Riverside product --  finished his season with 22 catches for 216 yards and two touchdowns. He was placed on injured reserve because of a torn hamstring on Oct. 28.

James Starks: The Green Bay Packers running back, a Niagara Falls and University at Buffalo product, rushed six times for 40 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown run, in a 27-20 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. It was Starks' third touchdown of the season. He played 12 offensive snaps (22 percent).

J.C. Tretter: The Akron product, a fourth-round draft pick of the Packers in April, is on the team’s physically unable to perform list after he broke his ankle in May. He is eligible to come off the list and begin practicing. The team then must decide within three weeks to activate him to the 53-man roster or put him on injured reserve for the season.

Rob Gronkowski: The Amherst native is back. In his third game of the season, Gronk made nine catches on 10 targets for 143 yards and a touchdown in the New England Patriots' 55-31 beatdown of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 55 points is the most ever scored against Pittsburgh. Gronkowski got his most extensive playing time of the season, seeing 49 snaps (64 percent).

Brett Kern: The Grand Island native punted five times for 228 yards in a 28-21 win over St. Louis in Week Nine. One of those punts was downed inside the 20-yard line, while three of them were returned for a combined 33 yards. Kern had a net average of 35.0 on the five punts.

Corey Graham: The Baltimore Ravens' cornerback, a Buffalo native and Turner/Carroll product, made five tackles and one pass defensed in a 24-18 loss to the Cleveland Browns. Graham also made a pair of special teams tackles. He played 38 defensive snaps (54 percent) and another 18 (62 percent) on special teams.

Note: Local players Dan Gronkowski, Chris Gronkowski Jeremy Kelley, Naaman Roosevelt and Doug Worthington are currently free agents. 

UB players

Josh Thomas: Thomas was made a healthy inactive for the Carolina Panthers by coach Ron Rivera for the second straight week. He was benched after allowing two completions of 60-plus yards in Week Seven against St. Louis (one was called back on a penalty). Thomas has started five games this season for the Panthers, who improved to 5-3 with a 34-10 win against Atlanta in Week Nine.

Trevor Scott: Scott was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prior to the team's 31-13 loss to Carolina in Week Eight. He had played in four games with the Bucs, making three tackles.

How the locals fared: Week Eight

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 -- played 11 defensive snaps (17 percent), making one tackle in a 31-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Means also seven snaps on special teams (24 percent).

Mike Williams: The Tampa Bay receiver -- a Buffalo native and Riverside product -- made three catches for 20 yards against the Panthers. He played 58 snaps (83 percent), but unfortunately, his season came to an end when the Bucs placed him on injured reserve Monday because of a torn hamstring. His season ends with 22 catches for 216 yards and two touchdowns.

James Starks: The Green Bay Packers running back, a Niagara Falls and University at Buffalo product, returned after missing three games because of a knee injury to rush for 57 yards on just seven carries, an average of 8.1 yards per carry, in his team's 44-31 win over Minnesota. Starks, who played just 11 offensive snaps, also scored his second touchdown of the season.

J.C. Tretter: The Akron product, a fourth-round draft pick of the Packers in April, is on the team’s physically unable to perform list after he broke his ankle in May. He is eligible to come off the list and begin practicing. The team then must decide within three weeks to activate him to the 53-man roster or put him on injured reserve for the season.

Rob Gronkowski: The Amherst native played in his second straight game after missing the first six of the season following surgeries on his forearm and back in the offseason. Gronk played 50 percent of New England's offensive snaps (33 of 66), making two catches for 27 yards in a 27-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

Brett Kern: The Grand Island native was on a bye week with the Tennessee Titans. Kern punted six times for 263 yards in a 31-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week Seven. He put three of those punts inside the 20-yard line, and averaged a terrific 43.8 net yards. Only two of the six punts were returned, and those went for 0 yards.

Corey Graham: The Baltimore Ravens' cornerback, a Buffalo native and Turner/Carroll product, was on a bye. Graham played 28 defensive snaps (49 percent) in a 19-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week Seven, making four tackles and one pass defensed. He also played 11 snaps (44 percent) on special teams.

Note: Local players Dan Gronkowski, Chris Gronkowski Jeremy Kelley, Naaman Roosevelt and Doug Worthington are currently free agents. 

UB players

Josh Thomas: Thomas was made a healthy inactive for the Carolina Panthers by coach Ron Rivera in his team's 31-13 victory over Tampa Bay. Thomas was benched after allowing two completions of 60-plus yards in Week Seven against St. Louis (one was called back on a penalty). He has started five games this season for the Panthers.

Trevor Scott: Scott was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prior to the team's 31-13 loss to Carolina. He had played in four games with the Bucs, making three tackles.

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" »

West Seneca's Jeremy Kelley signs futures contract with Colts

By Jay Skurski

The list of Western New Yorkers in the NFL went up by one today when West Seneca's Jeremy Kelley signed a reserve/futures contract with the Indianapolis Colts.

Kelley, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound receiver, spent the 2012 season with the Utah Blaze of the Arena Football League, making 19 catches for 231 yards and seven touchdowns in eight games. Kelley spent the 2011 season with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League, recording two receptions for 15 yards.

After graduating from West Seneca West, Kelley played four years at the University of Maine. He finished his collegiate career with 13 catches for 148 yards and a touchdown, and was also a special teams contributor.

Reserve/futures contracts are signed by players who were out of the NFL at the end of the 2012 season, or on a team's practice squad. Players like Kelley with such contract will remain in "reserve" until the 2013 NFL league year starts March 12.

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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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