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Luke Tasker lands job with CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats

By Jay Skurski

From the in-case-you-missed-it department comes this: St. Francis graduate Luke Tasker has signed to the practice roster of the Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Tasker, 22, spent training camp with the San Diego Chargers after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Cornell following the 2013 NFL Draft. He was released as part of San Diego's final cuts Aug. 30.

In Hamilton, he reunites with coach Kent Austin, who was Tasker's coach for three years with the Big Red.

"A lot of the terminology is still the same. There's a lot to learn with the 12th man out there and some of the things are more complex than what we did at Cornell," Tasker told the Guelph Mercury after his first practice last week. "The big thing is that there's a lot of memorization that I already have down."

A 5-foot-11, 191-pounder, Tasker will attempt to earn a spot on the active roster as a receiver, Austin told the paper. The Ticats are 6-6 this season, in second place in the CFL's East Division behind Toronto (8-4). Hamilton has six games remaining in the 18-game regular season CFL teams play, beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday when it hosts Calgary.

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, 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" »

Chargers sign St. Francis alum Luke Tasker to rookie deal

By Tim Graham

Some St. Francis High love is going down in San Diego.

Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco has signed fellow Frannies grad Luke Tasker to a free-agent rookie contract.

Tasker is the son of Buffalo Bills special-teams trailblazer Steve Tasker.

Luke Tasker had 75 catches for 1,207 yards and eight touchdowns last season at Cornell. He ranked fifth nationally in Division I-AA with an average of 120.7 receiving yards a game and ninth with 7.5 catches a game.

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" »


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 |

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 |

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 |