Sunday, August 7, 2011

This summer, five former ACU stars signed with or changed teams in the National Football League and Canadian Football League as preparations began for the 2011 season.

Offensive lineman Tony Washington was signed by the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders, and soon earned a starting role.

Rookie wide receiver Edmond Gates – the Miami Dolphins’ fourth-round choice in April’s NFL Draft – signed a four-year deal with the team and was on the field for the team’s first practice.

Rookie wide receiver Raymond Radway and rookie offensive lineman Trevis Turner signed free-agent deals; Radway with the Dallas Cowboys and Turner with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

On the veteran free-agent market, safety Danieal Manning left the Chicago Bears to return home to the Lone Star State,  signing a four-year, $20 million deal with the Houston Texans.

Two players stayed with their original teams as third-year receiver Johnny Knox returned to the Chicago Bears, while fourth-year running back Bernard Scott returned to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Radway has been the surprise of the Dallas Cowboys' camp, drawing praise from everyone from owner Jerry Jones to head coach Jason Garrett to his position coach.  To read about the praise for Radway, click here, here, here, here and here.

Gates has also had a solid start to his pro career as his speed has been the early talk in Dolphins' camp.  To read about Gates, click here and here.  Knox spent a good portion of the off-season strengthening his upper body, and, according to this story in the Chicago Tribune, it's already made a difference.

Manning is expected to be a key piece for the Texans as they seek to improve their defense and make a push for the franchise's first playoff berth.  In five seasons with the Bears, Manning played in two NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl.

Early on in Bengals' camp, Scott has been bothered by a slight hamstring pull, but he is expected to be a bigger part of the teams' offense under new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.  Head coach Marvin Lewis, has already said it was his fault that Scott didn't touch the ball more in 2010.

Washington has moved into the starting spot at right tackle for the Calgary Stampeders, who are 4-2 and one game behind rival Edmonton in the CFL West Division.