PUEBLO, Colo. (September 3, 2015) – As the preseason for the National Football League comes to an end Thursday, here is an update on the former Colorado State University-Pueblo football student-athletes trying to advance or continue their careers at the next level.
At the start of the summer, eight Pack products were signed or earned tryouts with NFL teams. Eight is now three as the last preseason games will be played tonight and the final cuts must be made by Saturday at 4 p.m. ET to secure each of the 32 team's 53-man roster. Sunday at 12 p.m. ET, the teams can begin to assemble a 10-man practice squad.
Here is a quick update on all eight of those former CSU-Pueblo standouts, which span all seven years of the rebooted football program.
Ryan Jensen (2009-12) – Baltimore Ravens – Offensive Line
Jensen was drafted in the 6th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by Baltimore. In 2014 he was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster of the Ravens Dec. 16. The center played in one regular season game and one playoff game in 2014 after being listed on the game-day inactive (foot) list for all 16 games as a rookie in 2013. He was re-signed April 14, 2015 and has played all over the offensive line in all three preseason games for the Ravens this season, earning reps with the number one offense. Baltimore battles the Atlanta Falcons tonight, but Jensen may not play due to concussion suffered against Washington in week three that has kept him out of practice this week.
Mike Pennel (2013) – Green Bay Packers – Defensive Line
Pennel signed with Green Bay as a non-drafted free agent May 12, 2014. He earned a spot on the 53-man roster following training camp and played in 13 regular season games last season and two playoff games for the Packers. The defensive tackle totaled eight tackles (seven solo) in his rookie season. In three preseason games in 2015, Pennel has started twice and owns four tackles (three solo). He is listed as the number two nose tackle on the unofficial depth chart from packers.com. The Packers host New Orleans tonight.
C.J. Roberts (2010-14) – Arizona Cardinals – Cornerback
Roberts signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Cardinals in May and has worked his way to the 75-man roster of the organization. In three preseason games he has totaled seven tackles (six solo), which included a preseason-best three tackles in week three. Listed as number three at right corner on the depth chart, Roberts lands back in Colorado for the final preseason contest, as the Cardinals face the Denver Broncos tonight at 7 p.m. MT.
Paul Browning (2010-14) – Cleveland Browns (Offseason) and Carolina Panthers (Training Camp) – Wide Receiver
Browning was invited to a rookie mini-camp tryout with the Cleveland Browns and earned a free agent contract with the team May 11. Browning was then released by the team June 19. A couple days into Carolina Panthers training camp, Browning got a call and joined the team Aug. 2. He played in all three preseason games and brought in the game-winning two-point conversion reception in week one. He was waived by the team in the first round of cuts, Aug. 31.
Chase Vaughn (2008-09) – Denver Broncos – Linebacker
Vaughn signed a future contract with the Broncos, Dec. 29, 2014 and remained with the team until Aug. 31 when he was waived. In three preseason games, the former Pack All-American totaled two tackles. Vaughn signed with the NFL organization in May 2014 after a successful 3-day rookie mini-camp, earning a spot on the 90-man off-season roster. He was cut from the Broncos in August (2014) after an injury-riddled training camp.
Josh Bredl (2009-14) – Green Bay Packers – Lineman
Bredl earned a rookie mini-camp tryout with the Green Bay Packers the first weekend of May. The Packers worked him out primarily on the defensive line, with the offensive line as a secondary option. After not being picked up by the Packers or any NFL team, Bredl found his way on World Wrestling Entertainment's reality series Tough Enough. Starting with seven male competitors, Bredl lasted on the show the entire 10 weeks and in the end was voted the winner in a worldwide fan vote. In the process, he earned a one-year, $250,000 WWE contract.
Chris Bonner (2013-14) – Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs – Quarterback
Bonner earned rookie mini-camp tryouts with both the Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs in May, but nothing materialized with those or any NFL teams. Bonner is back in Pueblo finishing his business degree, while also serving as a student assistant coach for the CSU-Pueblo football team.
Darius Allen (2011-14) – Baltimore Ravens – Linebacker
Allen was signed to an undrafted free agent contract by the Baltimore Ravens, but was waived by the team May 12.
The ThunderWolves open the 2015 season hosting Central Washington University. The Pack welcome the Wildcats to the ThunderBowl Sept. 5 at 5 p.m. in a RE/MAX RED OUT (fans are encouraged to wear red). The game is set to be broadcasted by the American Sports Network and air live on Alititude2 and Comcast CET.
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As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.