Three Falcons sign contracts in a week

While current BG football players have struggled through recent weeks, a few from last year’s team have found better fortunes as their dreams of playing in the NFL are being realized.

The first to be signed to an NFL roster was BG’s third all-time rushing leader, P.J. Pope. Pope had spent the fall on the Chicago Bears practice squad when he got the call to play for the Packers while in a Chicago mall. Leaving the Windy City wasn’t an easy decision, but for Pope the chance to play on Sunday was too great to pass up.

“I was excited but at the same time I had a decision to make whether or not to stay [in Chicago] or go,” Pope said. “Everything in Green Bay is going good though – I’m getting along great with everyone.”

Soon after, another un-drafted free agent, Charles Sharon, was signed to the Jacksonville Jaguar’s from their practice team. Sharon is BG’s all-time leading receiver with 3,450 yards and 232 receptions in his four seasons as a Falcon.

Not to be left out of the action, former BG standout Omar Jacobs found a new home with the Philadelphia Eagles practice team last week. His acquisition was made shortly after the team sent starting quarterback Donovan McNabb to the disabled list, creating the need for a third quarterback in the system behind Jeff Garcia and A.J. Feeley.

“It’s been nothing but love,” Jacobs said. “Guys work hard and there’s a great atmosphere is the locker room.”

Jacobs left BG with one year of eligibility remaining to pursue a career in the NFL, but met a setback when he was cut from the Pittsburgh Steelers in early September. Since then, Jacobs has been evaluated by eight different NFL teams, finally landing in Philadelphia.

Only one of the three, Pope, has had the fortune to make his NFL regular season debut. Pope got in Green Bay’s game against Minnesota on special teams, which he described as a “pretty cool” experience.

With another level of play, comes another level of expectations as the trio continually pushes themselves to adjust to the professional level.

“I’ll just keep working hard and wait for my chance,” Pope said. “I’ll help the team wherever I can.”

But with new teams come new coaches, new systems and new terminology.

“It’s the same plays but how they call certain things [that’s tough],” Jacobs said. “Like when they say ‘banana,’ I have to know what that means.”

Jacobs cited the importance of his and other players’ success at the next level to BGSU and the future of Falcon athletics.

“It’s great for the University and the [football] team’s recruiting that they can point to guys like us,” Jacobs said.

The three have remained in close contact since training camp, keeping each other posted and making congratulatory phone calls in recent weeks.

“I’m just happy for everybody else, that they’re out there doing something instead of sitting around, hoping and wishing,” Jacobs said.

Pope echoed the words of his former quarterback, but added that they need to focus in and make the best of this once in a lifetime opportunity.

“I’m happy to see we’ve all got chance,” Pope said. “I think hard work pays off and teams are noticing we’re all talented players. Hopefully everyone takes their chance and runs with it.”