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Four former Chippewas on NFL rosters, four more make practice squads


eric-fisher

Eric Fisher (Photo: NFL)

On Saturday, all 32 teams in the NFL were forced to trim their rosters down to 53 players as the season marches toward its start. Four former Chippewas made the 53-man rosters, while four more had to wait an extra day before being assigned to practice squads. 

Here's a look at the eight former Chippewas who will be with NFL teams to start this fall. 

Eric Fisher - Offensive tackle, Kansas City Chiefs

Fisher, a former top pick in the NFL Draft, won his first Super Bowl ring last season with the Chiefs and is heading into his eighth year with the team. He played in just eight games a season ago after playing in 16 in each of the past six years. He's spent the entirety of his career with the Chiefs. 

He's expected to start at left tackle once again. Interestingly, the Chiefs were 11-0 with Fisher in the lineup and 4-4 without him. Fisher will be a free agent in 2022. 

Sean Murphy-Bunting - Cornerback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Murphy-Bunting shot up the Bucs' depth chart last season, playing in all 16 games. He played a variety of roles, serving mostly as a slot corner or nickel back. He finished the season with 41 total tackles, 34 of which were solo, and three interceptions.

The highlight of his season came in week 15 against his hometown Detroit Lions. Playing in front of friends and family, Murphy-Bunting snagged a pass from the Lions' David Blough and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown. After emerging as a high-ceiling prospect, Murphy-Bunting is expected to play a big role for the Buccaneers in his second year. 

Kavon Frazier - Safety, Miami Dolphins 

After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Dallas Cowboys, Frazier signed a one-year, $1,047,500 deal with the Dolphins, where he will be expected to contribute on special teams. Frazier battled multiple injuries last season and played in just four games.

He was named a special teams captain by the Dolphins per a tweet from DEC Management, with whom Frazier is a client. He also became a leader off the field by speaking out against ongoing racial injustices. The Grand Rapids native has made 67 tackles and forced two fumbles in his career with the Cowboys.

Tyler Conklin - Tight end, Minnesota Vikings

Conklin has played in 31 of a possible 32 games in his two years as a pro. He's one of three tight ends on the Vikings' roster, joining starter Kyle Rudolph and second-year man Irv Smith Jr. Conklin will have to compete with Smith to earn the backup position after spending last year as the third tight end. 

In his two years, Conklin has caught 13 total passes and amassed 135 yards. He's yet to reach the end zone. 

The following four made their respective team's practice squads: 

Cooper Rush - Quarterback, New York Giants

Rush signed with the Giants less than a week after being released by the Dallas Cowboys. He spent three years with the Cowboys before being cut following the team's signing of Andy Dalton. He was waived by the Giants on Sept. 5 and added to the practice squad the following day. 

Jonathan Ward - Running back, Arizona Cardinals

Ward went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft and was the only Chippewa to sign with a team as an undrafted free agent. He was bumped from the 53-man roster but quickly signed with the Cardinals' practice squad. Though reports say he was impressive in training camp, he'll have to wait a little longer for his first chance to suit up in an NFL uniform. 

Xavier Crawford - Cornerback, Chicago Bears

Crawford, who spent one year with Central Michigan, is with his third NFL team in the last two seasons. He was drafted by the Houston Texans in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft but subsequently released. After being claimed by the Dolphins and playing in five games in 2019, he found his way to the Bears. He didn't crack the 53-man roster, but will be with the practice squad. 

Joe Ostman - Defensive end, Philadelphia Eagles

Ostman made the Eagles' roster as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He has yet to play in an NFL game and missed all of last season with a torn ACL. A report from USA Today's Eagles Wire stated that Ostman was having a strong training camp and impressed the organization. 

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