(Born December 14, 1980) -- If you had asked Sam Aiken in college what his pro football future would look like, he probably wouldn’t have been mentioned being good at tackling on special teams. Yet that’s where he found a role.
Aiken was born and raised in North Carolina. It’s fair to see he was a good athlete in high school, as he was all-conference in football, basketball and track and was second in the state in the high jump. Then it was on to college at the University of North Carolina, where he set a school record as a senior with 68 catches for 990 yards.
Aiken was a fourth-round pick of the Bills in 2003. He saw little action in his rookie year. The next season, Aiken suited up for all 16 games. He not only caught 11 passes, a career high in Buffalo, but made 14 tackles in special teams. The tackles went up to 24 in 2005, and he stayed a Bill through 2007.
Then Aiken became a free agent, and he jumped to the Patriots for the 2008 season. In 2009 he became a big contributor to New England’s special teams, and caught 20 passes as well.
The now-veteran receiver was released in 2010, and had a brief stay with the Browns later that year. At last report, Aiken was serving as a graduate assistant coach at North Carolina.
--- Budd Bailey