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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Two ex-Wildcats sign with NFL teams

    The 2009 NFL Draft might have wrapped up in New York City on Sunday night, but that didn’t keep the Arizona football team from sending more players into the league.

    Two former Wildcats made their way into the NFL as linebacker Ronnie Palmer signed a three-year deal with the Washington Redskins and former UA safety Nate Ness agreed to terms with the Cleveland Browns.

    Palmer was in New Mexico during the weekend attending his little brother’s Spring Game at New Mexico State in Las Cruces when he got a phone call from Redskins coaches.

    “”(Getting the call) was a big stress relief and all I could do was smile. I was at a loss for words for a while,”” Palmer said. “”My family was with me and that was a good time. They could tell I was getting a little ancy towards the afternoon and it was definitely a blessing.””

    Palmer – listed at 6-foot-3, 245 pounds – said he had a good idea that the Redskins had an interest in signing him; it was just a matter of when and how.

    “”I had a couple of teams in mind and they were at the top of my list. They were the first to call and it worked out from there,”” Palmer said. “”I just called my agent and we finalized the deal … midway through the seventh (round). I knew they were going to pick me up – either they were going to draft me or I was going to go there, just whatever came first.””

    Palmer, who led the Wildcats with 85 tackles last season, added that because he wasn’t one of the 256 players selected in the draft that it would only fuel his competitive fire.

    Ness – a 6-foot-1, 190-pound safety – also voiced his displeasure that he wasn’t picked during the two-day, seven-round draft.

    Ness pointed to Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, as a prime example of an undrafted player who went on to make a big name for himself. Harrison, a Kent State product, was not only undrafted but was cut four different times – including in NFL Europe – before breaking out last season to win the NFL’s defensive player of the year award.

    “”It really sucked (to not get drafted), but I mean, the opportunity is here. It’s just on me to do something about it,”” Ness said. “”I can’t hang my head about not being drafted. I still have an opportunity to be somebody.””

    Ness, who ranked second on the Wildcats last season with 75 tackles, said multiple teams expressed interest in him but he wound up choosing to sign with the Browns because he felt he had a good chance to earn a roster spot in Cleveland.

    Both players said they plan on leaving Tucson on Thursday to head to their respective teams’ rookie mini-camps.

    “”The opportunities are here and it’s going to come,”” Ness said. “”It’s just up to myself to capitalize on those opportunities.””

    Added Palmer: “”This is a dream come true and I just want to keep playing, you know. I’m just ready to work.””

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