Cavs in the Pros
As the NCAA commercials tell us, most collegiate athletes turn pro “in something other than sports.” Although that statement is certainly true, Virginia has produced its share of athletes among the professional ranks. Ever wondered which former Cavalier stars are still excelling on the gridiron, diamond, court and elsewhere? Read on.
Ronde Barber: A true ironman of the NFL, Barber made his 200th consecutive regular season start Sunday, the longest streak in NFL history for a defensive back. The Buccaneers’ defensive captain made his debut at free safety after moving from cornerback, a position he had played for Tampa Bay since he was drafted in 1997. The 37-year-old Barber’s game did not appear diminished in the slightest, as he was credited with five total tackles, one sack, two passes defensed and an interception of Cam Newton, which he returned 24 yards, in the Bucs’ win against division-rival Carolina.
Matt Schaub: After ending last season on the injured reserve with a foot injury – courtesy of then-Buccaneers defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth(less) falling on him – Schaub opened the season by orchestrating a 30-10 win against the Dolphins, completing 20-of-31 passes for 266 yards, one touchdown and a 102.4 passer rating. Houston rewarded Schaub after the game with a four-year contract extension worth $62 million. Maybe he’d like to make a donation to his alma mater?
Kevin Ogletree: Arguably the MVP of the Cowboys’ Wednesday night season-opening 24-17 victory against the division-rival New York Giants, Ogletree became an instant sensation with a breakout game. The former undrafted free agent outperformed Dallas’s primary receivers, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, by hauling in eight passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns, all career highs.
Heath Miller: After a quiet preseason, the former Pro Bowler hauled in four catches for 50 yards and one touchdown in the Steelers’ 31-19 loss at Denver Sunday night.
D’Brickashaw Ferguson: The three-time Pro Bowler and starting left tackle for the New York Jets anchored an offensive line that did not give up a sack and helped the offense rack up 48 points against the Bills.
Chris Cook: After a 2011 campaign plagued by injury and domestic assault charges, which were later dropped, the starting cornerback for the Minnesota Vikings was credited with five tackles, one sack and two passes defensed in the Vikings’ 26-23 overtime win against the Jaguars.
Ras-I Dowling: Cook’s former mate in the Cavaliers’ defensive backfield suited up for the New England Patriots and recorded four total tackles in a 34-13 victory against the Titans.
Chris Long: The starting defensive end for the St. Louis Rams with a Littlejohn’s sub named after him did not record any defensive statistics in a 27-23 loss at Detroit.
Ahmad Brooks: The 49ers outside linebacker, coming off his first full season as a starter, recorded two tackles and a sack in San Francisco’s 30-22 win against Green Bay, a matchup billed as a potential preview of the NFC Championship.
Chase Minnifield: Projected to be selected as high as the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the former All-American cornerback went undrafted because of injury concerns and later signed with the Washington Redskins. Minnifield caught coaches’ eyes with standout performances during offseason practices, but he reinjured the knee that kept him out of the Chick-fil-A Bowl and was waived-injured by Washington. After clearing waivers, Minnifield currently remains on the Redskins’ injured reserve.
Cam Johnson: After becoming the only Cavalier selected in this April’s draft, going in the seventh round to San Francisco, the linebacker is currently a member of the 49ers’ practice squad.
Rodney McLeod: The backup free safety for St. Louis recorded two tackles in his NFL debut. McLeod earned a spot on the Rams’ 53-man roster a week earlier despite being undrafted.
Ryan Zimmerman: The starting third baseman and undisputed leader of the MLB-leading Washington Nationals, Zimmerman boasted a 14-game hitting streak entering Tuesday night’s game, the longest active streak in the NL. After a subpar first half of the season, Zimmerman has come alive recently, spurring the Nats to a 6.5-game lead in the NL East. The Z-Man is having a stellar season offensively, batting .286 with 82 RBIs, 21 homers, 51 walks and 53 extra-base hits. Zimmerman’s leadership will be especially key as the majors’ second-youngest nears the franchise’s first postseason berth.
Mark Reynolds: The power-hitting first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, Reynolds ranks third on the team in home runs with 21 and first in walks with 64. In last week’s four-game series against the Yankees, who entered Tuesday night’s game just one game ahead of the Orioles in the AL East, Reynolds went 3-for-12 with four RBIs and drew three walks. All three hits were home runs, including a two-homer, three-RBI performance that powered the Orioles past the Yankees 10-6 Thursday. The O’s will depend on Reynolds as they attempt to make the postseason for the first time since 1997.
Javier López: The lefty sidearm reliever for San Francisco has pitched 2.1 innings in September, allowing three hits, a walk and an earned run, while fanning one batter. López is 3-0 this season with six saves, 15 holds and 2.41 ERA. He could play a key role as the Giants look to capture their second World Series in three years.
Mike Scott: The Virginia fan favorite officially inked his contract with the Atlanta Hawks last Thursday. A second-round pick in the 2012 NBA draft, Scott signed a two-year contract for the rookie minimum. Hawks GM Danny Ferry reportedly texted the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Mike will be on the team this year.”
Somdev Devvarman: The 2012 Olympian competed in men’s singles at the U.S. Open, falling in four sets to Spain’s Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo in the first round.
Treat Huey and Dom Inglot: Huey, Devvarman’s former doubles partner at Virginia, and Inglot advanced to the second round of the men’s doubles bracket at the U.S. Open before being eliminated.
Perhaps not everyone can turn pro in sports, but plenty of Cavaliers sure do.
For weekly updates on these athletes and others, check out the new Cavs in the Pros blog at