Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Jovan Haye gets the bling — and a return trip to Nashville, where he played for Vanderbilt

Now Jovan Haye can buy a diamond necklace that spells his whole name and not just his initials. The former Vanderbilt Commodore signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Titans and is headed back to Nashville.

You may remember that Haye, who played on Bobby Johnson's awful 2-9 team of 2004 — as well as his awful 2-10 teams of 2002 and 2003 — thought he'd be a first or second rounder and came out early for the draft. But he went in the sixth round to the Carolina Panthers, playing only two games and then getting cut the following season. Meanwhile, Johnson's persistence started paying off and the Commodores won five games behind Jay Cutler and the high-flying offense and beat Tennessee for the first time in a million years. What would Vanderbilt have done that season with a dominating D-lineman like Haye? Maybe, I don't know, beaten MTSU? How high would Haye have gone in the draft if he'd stuck around, raised his stock and helped the Commodores go to a bowl?

Instead, he did it the hard way, playing only two games in his first two seasons. But he persevered, became a bona-fide NFL player for the Panthers and then the Buccaneers, and now he's making the big bucks with the Titans. Way to go, Jovan.

Here's a quick rundown of other Commodores in the NFL:

• Corey Chavous, safety, 11 seasons, Rams
• Jamie Winborn, linebacker, 9 seasons, Broncos
• Todd Yoder, tight end, 9 seasons, Redskins
• Hunter Hillenmeyer, linebacker, 6 seasons, Bears
• Justin Geisinger, offensive tackle, 4 seasons, Redskins
• Jay Cutler, quarterback, 3 seasons, Broncos
• Chris Williams, offensive tackle, 1 season, Bears
• Earl Bennett, wide receiver, 1 season, Bears
• Jonathan Goff, linebacker, 1 season, Giants
• Marcus Buggs, linebacker, 1 season, Bills
• Curtis Gatewood, linebacker, 1 season, Chiefs

A whopping five players off the 2007 team that went 5-7 — and beat South Carolina and scared the you-know-what out of Georgia and Tennessee and Kentucky — played in the NFL last season.

This year, expect to see D.J. Moore and Reshard Langford playing on Sundays — Moore as a first day pick and Langford perhaps as a free agent, the path Buggs and Gatewood took. I really think Langford's going to crack some team's roster.

Other players who might get a shot in NFL camps include wide receivers Sean Walker and George Smith and maybe even kicker Bryant Hahnfeldt. And what about Chris Nickson as an athlete? I always wanted to see him try another position besides quarterback. But all those guys are long-shots.


nobody important said...

I think Winborn got cut by Denver. I can't remember if Mike Nolan was the guy who cut him in San Fran as well, but I remember him leaving San Fran on bad terms.


You're right. Thanks. I'm making a post about it now.