Cats Get Free Agent Contracts

April 25, 2002

TUCSON - Three Arizona football players have signed free agent contracts with National Football League teams this month, earning chances to compete for roster spots at three professional camps later this spring and summer.

Cornerback Jermaine Chatman inked a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, offensive guard Kevin Barry signed a free agent contract with the Green Bay Packers and center-guard Steven Grace signed a deal with the Arizona Cardinals.

For the first time since 1986, no Wildcats were selected in the April NFL draft. But Arizona has sent numerous players on to professional teams via free agency, including wide receiver Jeremy McDaniel (Bills), offensive tackle Jose Portillo (Falcons), punter Josh Miller (Steelers), fullback Paul Shields (Colts), safety Mike Scurlock (Rams), and safety Brandon Sanders (Giants).

Chatman and Barry came to Arizona via junior colleges, each starting the past two seasons. Grace was a four-year letterman for the Cats. Barry will be returning to his home state for his free agent tryout - he's from Racine, Wis. Chatman is from Compton, Calif., and Grace is a Honolulu native.

Arizona had a large contingent of former players on active NFL rosters last year, including Super Bowl Champion linebacker Tedy Bruschi, whose New England Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams. Former UA tailback Trung Canidate and tight end Brandon Manumaleuna played for St. Louis.

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