Monday, September 1, 2008

Former UAlbany Stars Rashad Barksdale & Andre Coleman Make NFL Practice Squads

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. -- Former University at Albany defensive standouts Rashad Barksdale and Andre Coleman has been signed to the National Football League practice squads of the New York Giants and San Diego Chargers, respectively.

Barksdale, the first Great Dane to play in an NFL regular-season game, was released by Kansas City on Saturday and picked up by the Giants on Sept. 1. Barksdale, who did not play college football until his senior season, was originally drafted in the sixth round by the Philadelphia Eagles. He was an outfielder on the UAlbany baseball team for two years after transferring from Hudson Valley Community College.

“He is one of those great surprises that you get in your football coaching career,” said UAlbany coach Bob Ford, who started the football program at the club level in 1970. “He has a great understanding of the game despite not playing on a competitive level for four years until his senior season. The Giants are getting someone who has great work ethic, good character and a tremendous determination and fighting spirit.”

A native of Hudson, N.Y., Barksdale played in six games as both a cornerback and special teams performer for the Chiefs during the 2007 campaign. The 5-foot-11, 208-pound defender accounted for 37 tackles and three interceptions in his lone season as a collegian.

“Rashad was outstanding on this level,” Ford stated. “He has everything physically and is strong with great instincts and a fierce competitor. He is very confident without stepping over the line.”

Coleman, a 6-foot-3, 287-pound defensive end, is on the Chargers’ practice squad for the second consecutive year. He had four tackles, including one for a loss, in San Diego’s final preseason game against San Francisco, but did not make the final cut when the roster was trimmed over the weekend.

A first-team All-Northeast Conference performer, Coleman totaled 42 tackles and led the Great Danes in hits for a loss (13.0) and sacks (6.0) as a senior in 2006. He was named to the Sports Network FCS Mid-Major All-America Team.

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