THREE FORMER BLUE DRAGONS OPEN ON NFL ROSTERS FOR 2013 KICKOFFSeptember 5, 2013
HCC Sports Information
Three former Hutchinson Community College athletes will be on opening-day NFL Rosters as the begins tonight.
Of course all Blue Dragons fans are keeping their eye on Minnesota Vikings rookie Cordarrelle Patterson, who in April became the first Blue Dragon ever to be drafted in the first round.
But as 2013 begins, former Blue Dragon Shaun Hill will be in an NFL uniform for the 12th-straight season and former Blue Dragon track and field athlete Armond Smith will suit up for the Carolina Panthers.
The first time Patterson touched a ball in the NFL, he returned a kickoff 50 yards in the Vikings’ preseason opener against the Houston Texans.
After his two-time All-America career at Hutchinson and one year at the University of Tennessee, Patterson became the first Blue Dragon football player ever drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft, going to the Vikings with the 29th overall pick.
So far, by all accounts, Patterson hasn’t disappointed the Vikings. He is currently listed as a first-team kick returner and second-team split end on their depth chart on Vikings.com
Patterson caught eight passes in the preseason for 84 yards. He had three kick returns and averaged 30 yards per return.
The Vikings open up on Sunday on the road for an NFL North matchup at Detroit. Kickoff is scheduled for Noon.
Hill begins his fourth season with the Detroit Lions and 12th in the NFL. Hill will be the back-up for starter Matthew Stafford.
A Blue Dragon All-Jayhawk Conference quarterback in 1998 and 1999, Hill went from Hutchinson to the University of Maryland where he helped the Terrapins win the 2001 ACC championship and earn a berth in the Orange Bowl.
The Vikings signed Hill as an undrafted free agent in 2002. He saw one game with the Vikings in four seasons with that franchise. Hill then went to the San Francisco 49ers, where he got to see his first extended playing time in the NFL. Hill threw for better than 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2008.
The Lions traded for Hill on March 16, 2010. In his first three seasons with the Lions, Hill has played in 14 games and has thrown for 2,901 yards and 18 touchdowns. He played and started the final 10 games in 2010 where he completed 257 of 416 passes for 2,686 yards and 16 touchdowns.
For his career, Hill has completed 591 of 954 passes for 6,381 yards and 41 touchdowns.
The Lions open Sunday at home with the Vikings at Ford Field.
Smith will be in an NFL uniform for the third-straight year and for the second year with the Carolina Panthers.
Smith ran track at Hutchinson in 2007 and 2008, but did not play football. When he transferred to Union College in Kentucky, Smith put the pads back on and was named the Mid-South Offensive Player of the Year in 2010.
Smith originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cleveland Browns and made the Browns’ 2011 opening day roster. He played in three games with the Browns in 2011, carrying the ball six times for 2 yards and had a special teams tackle. Brown was released midway through the 2011 season.
After spending 12 games on the Panthers’ practice squad in 2012, Smith played in four games last season.
Smith is listed as the No. 3 running back behind DeAngelo Williams and Kenjon Barner. He is also listed as the second-team kick returner on Panthers.com.
The Panthers play host to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.