The Star-News


Will Eastlake grad Jefferson stick with the NFL Arizona Cardinals?

Fri, Aug 30 2013 11:21 AM Posted By: Phillip Brents

Eastlake High School football coach John McFadden considers himself a lucky man, not necessarily because his Titans have won two CIF championships in the past four years (2009 and 2012) but because many of his former players at the east side Chula Vista school have gone on to have successful college football careers.

Marcus Perry, a 2008 EHS graduate, established himself as one of the nation’s top long snappers while at Oregon State.

Tony Jefferson, of course, was Mr. Everything during a star-studded high school — and then equally stellar collegiate — career at Oklahoma University.

Perry played in every game for the Beavers from 2008-2011, including two bowl games — the 2008 Sun Bowl and 2009 Las Vegas Bowl.

Jefferson is currently trying to earn a roster spot with the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL after going undrafted in what was one the biggest surprises at last April’s gala event in New York City.

The former Titan, who opted for the NFL Draft after this junior season at OU, certainly impressed Arizona coach Bruce Arians by making two interceptions at his safety position in a recent preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.

If Jefferson is to stick with the Cardinals, it might involve playing on special teams or even the team’s practice squad to start. But with both of the safety spots open at Arizona, the former EHS standout may yet earn a starting spot as a first-year player in the league.

Jefferson certainly hasn’t lacked the motivation. After he signed with Arizona as an undrafted free agent, he posted a message on his Twitter account to show teams that passed on him that they had made a mistake. He wrote: “Do it for the non-believers.” 

As for sticking in the NFL, former Bonita Middle School/Helix High School grad Alex Smith appears to have made the transition from San Francisco to Kansas City.

During eight years with the 49ers, the former No. 1 NFL Draft pick (2005) passed for 14,280 yards, completed 81 touchdowns and scored four rushing touchdowns.

His performance in a playoff victory against the highly touted New Orleans Saints and a trip to the 2011-12 NFC Championship Game were memorable moments. But after suffering a concussion midway through last season, he remained on the sideline as San Francisco advanced all the way to the Super Bowl.

Smith was traded to the Chiefs in February.

Team officials in KC believe that Smith, 29, can be a top 10 signal-caller in the league. Before being injured last season, Smith had compiled a 19-5 record and 95.1 quarterback rating over parts of two seasons.
He’ll be running new KC coach Andy Reid’s West Coast offense.

The Chiefs are coming off a dismal 2-14 campaign in 2012, so there’s nowhere to go but up.

In fact, Smith, who calls the move to the Missouri city a “fresh start,” said expectations are high for the 2013 season.

He said he felt he did nothing wrong to lose the starting job with the 49ers and has a “hungry” feeling now as a Chief.

He avoided a sack and scrambled for 38 yards down the sideline in last Saturday’s exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a 26-20 overtime victory.

In his most important outing so far with his new team, he completed 17 of 24 passing attempts for 158 yards and one touchdown.

Kansas City kicks off regular season play Sunday at Jacksonville. He will make his home debut the following week against Dallas.


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