May 12, 2009
DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois' receiver Matt Simon, who took part in the New Orleans' Saints rookie mini-camp this past weekend in New Orleans on a tryout basis, has signed a free agent contract with the team, the Saints' announced Monday.
Simon joins fellow 2008 seniors Larry English, the defensive end who became the highest draft choice in NIU history when the San Diego Chargers selected him with the 16th overall pick in the first round, and wide receiver Britt Davis, a free agent pick-up by the New York Jets, on NFL rosters.
The 6-1, 199-pound Simon was added to the Saints' roster Monday after three days in New Orleans over the weekend. According to NIU coaches, who were in contact with Simon, the Huskie began camp working with the fourth team but by the end of the three-day session, had moved up to the first team. To make room on the roster for the Huskie, as well as two other players, the Saints released two rookie free agents they had previously signed.
The Farmington, Minn. native caught 96 passes for 1,660 yards and eight scores in 44 games during his Northern Illinois career to average 17.3 yards per catch. As a senior in 2008, he ranked second on the team with 24 catches for 377 yards while helping lead the Huskies to an appearance in the Independence Bowl. A second team All-Mid-American Conference selection as a junior, he caught 52 passes for 969 yards and five TDs that season.
Davis earned notice during the Jets' rookie minicamp while catching passes from former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, New York's number one pick. Davis, a Broadview, Ill. product, signed with the Jets the day after the conclusion of the NFL draft and participated in the team's rookie minicamp the first weekend in May. He is scheduled to return to New York on May 21 to begin participating with the whole team in Organized Team Activities (OTAs).
As a Huskie, the 6-3, 170-pound Davis caught 146 career passes in 46 games and totaled 1,676 career receiving yards and eight touchdown catches. He ranks fifth on the Northern Illinois' all-time chart for career catches and compiled 2,063 all-purpose yards. He set the NIU records for most catches by a freshman (42 in 2005) and by a sophomore (57) before being slowed by injury his final two seasons.
"We're very happy for these three young men that they have a chance to continue their football careers at the next level," said NIU head coach Jerry Kill. "They are players that have worked hard and overcome adversity to get where they are today. They are all great representatives of Northern Illinois University."
The three newest Northern Illinois "players in the pros" join fellow Huskies Ryan Diem (Indianapolis Colts), Doug Free and Sam Hurd (both Dallas Cowboys), Garrett Wolfe (Chicago Bears), Justin McCareins (Tennessee Titans) and Michael Turner (Atlanta Falcons) currently on NFL rosters.
-- NIU --
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