Nine Harvard Football Players Earn NFL Roster or Practice Squad Spots

Nick Easton '15 (center) is slated to start on the offensive line for Minnesota this season (Courtesy Vikings).
Nick Easton '15 (center) is slated to start on the offensive line for Minnesota this season (Courtesy Vikings).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A total of nine Harvard football alumni have earned spots on NFL 53-man rosters or practices squads. The NFL season begins Thursday evening, with the New England Patriots hosting the Kansas City Chiefs. Harvard alumni represent more than half of the 17 former Ivy League football players to earn that distinction.

Cameron Brate '14
6-5 | 235 | TE
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brate is entering his fourth NFL season, all with Tampa Bay, and is listed as the top tight end on the Buccaneers' depth chart. Brate had a headline year in 2016, setting career-highs with 57 catches for 660 yards and eight touchdowns. While at Harvard, Brate was a unanimous selection to the All-Ivy League first team, as well as a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy. He finished his senior campaign with 25 receptions for 403 yards with five scores. 

Tampa Bay will open the season Sept. 17 at home against the Chicago Bears after their scheduled opener at Miami was postponed until Week 11 of the regular season.

Ben Braunecker '16 
6-4 | 255 | TE
Chicago Bears

Braunecker enters his second season with the Bears after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent following the 2016 draft. He had four receptions for 41 yards in his rookie campaign in Chicago. He led Harvard with 48 receptions for 850 yards and eight TDs during the 2015 season, landing on several All-America first teams. A native of Ferdinand, Indiana, Braunecker concluded his Crimson career with 68 career receptions for 1,168 yards and 10 scores. 

Chicago will open the season at home Sept. 10, hosting the Atlanta Falcons at 1 p.m.

Nick Easton '15
6-3 | 303 | C
Minnesota Vikings

Easton is beginning his second year with the Minnesota Vikings where he appeared in 11 games, including five starts in 2016. Easton joined the Vikings during the 2015 season after being traded from the San Francisco 49ers. An AP FCS All-America third team selection, Easton was part of an offensive line that helped the Crimson to a perfect 10-0 record and an Ivy League championship title in 2014. 

The Vikings open the year on Monday Night Football Sept. 11 at home against the New Orleans Saints.

Easton Rewarded for Patience on Vikings Offensive Line (Star Tribune)

Anthony Fabiano '16
6-3 | 305 | C
Washington Redskins

Fabiano was signed to the Washington Redskins practice squad on Sept. 4 after spending the previous two season with the Cleveland Browns. He played in four games and made one start for the Browns in 2016. Named to the Reese's Senior Bowl Watch List, Fabiano was a first-team All-Ivy League selection, helping the Crimson to its third-straight Ivy League championship title in 2015. 

Washington begins the season at home Sept. 10 against NFC East division rival Philadelphia at 1 p.m.

Ryan Fitzpatrick '05
6-2 | 225 | QB
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fitzpatrick signed a contract this offseason with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, his seventh team during his career, and earned the back-up quarterback role. Over his 12-year NFL career, Fitzpatrick has started 116 games, completing passes at a 59.7 percent rate and registering 166 touchdowns. At Harvard, the Asa S. Bushnell Cup winner accumulated 1,986 yards with 13 touchdowns as a senior, leading the Crimson to a perfect 10-0 record in 2004. 

Kyle Juszczyk '13
6-1 | 240 | FB
San Francisco 49ers

Fresh off his first Pro Bowl appearance, Juszczyk signed the largest free agent contract for a fullback in NFL history, joining the San Francisco 49ers on a four-year, $21 million deal. Over his last two seasons, Juszcyk has caught 78 passes for 587 yards playing for the Baltimore Ravens. He has appeared in all 64 games of his NFL career, tied for the longest active streak among fullbacks. While at Harvard, Juszczyk earned numerous first-team All-American honors after posting 52 receptions for 706 receiving yards (13.6 avg.) and eight TDs, tied for the second-highest total in a single season in Harvard history. 

San Francisco will start the year at home Sept. 10 against the Carolina Panthers.

Tyler Ott '14
6-3 | 252 | LS
Seattle Seahawks

Ott is entering his third NFL season and second with the Seahawks. He spent part of the 2016 season with the Cincinnati Bengals where he played in three games as the long snapper and spent 2015 with the New York Giants, playing in one game. A Senior Bowl participant, Ott finished his senior season with 15 catches for 188 yards and four touchdowns – three of those against Princeton for which he was named National Tight End of the Week by College Football Performance Awards. Ott long snapped for the Crimson for all four years. 

Seattle is set to open the season at Green Bay Sept. 10 at 4:25 p.m.

Adam Redmond '16
6-6 | 290 | OL
Indianapolis Colts

Redmond is entering his second season with the Colts. He was signed as an undrafted free agent and was on the practice squad last season. The co-Recipient of Harvard's William Paine LaCroix Trophy and an Ivy-League first team selection in 2015, Redmond helped the Crimson to three-straight Ivy League titles during his career.

The Colts open the season on the road against the Los Angeles Rams Sept. 10 at 4:05 p.m.

Cole Toner '16
6-5 | 300 | OL
Cincinnati Bengals

Toner is entering his second NFL season and first with the Cincinnati Bengals after signing with their practice squad last week.. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 draft by the Arizona Cardinals and played in two games last season. A semifinalist for the 2015 National Football Foundation William V. Campbell Trophy (the academic Heisman), Toner helped the Crimson to three-straight Ivy League titles during his career in Cambridge.

The Bengals will begin the year at home against Baltimore Sunday afternoon.