April 28, 2009
Two days after the conclusion of the 2009 NFL Draft, five additional Pitt players have signed free-agent contracts, joining the four Panthers taken in the draft over the weekend.
Punter Dave Brytus (McDonald, Pa./West Allegheny) signed with the Baltimore Ravens, offensive lineman C.J. Davis (Imperial, Pa./West Allegheny) will join the Carolina Panthers, defensive lineman Rashaad Duncan (Belle Glade, Fla./Glades Central) signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, long snapper Mark Estermyer (Chippewa, Pa./Blackhawk) will stay in Pittsburgh with the Steelers and 2006 graduate Adam Graessle (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) has signed with the Green Bay Packers.
Brytus was a two-year starter for the Panthers after transferring from Purdue, where he was also a two-year starter for the Boilermakers. In his senior season, Brytus averaged 40.7 yards on 60 punts, including a season-long 60-yarder in Pitt’s win over Iowa. For his efforts in that victory, he was named the Big East Special Teams Player of the Week.
Davis earned All-Big East first-team honors as a senior after starting the season at left guard, and then transitioning to center due to injury. The Imperial, Pa., native did not miss a beat, finishing his career with 43 consecutive starts dating back to 2005. Davis will join former Pitt standout Jeff Otah with the Carolina Panthers, as Otah was their first round pick in the 2008 draft.
Duncan dramatically elevated his final two seasons at Pitt. He earned the coaching staff’s Defensive Line MVP honor in 2008, and was named the team’s 2007 Most Improved Defensive Player. As a senior, Duncan started all 13 games at nose tackle, while contributing 55 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. In his career, he started 35 of his 48 games played and totaled 145 tackles.
Estermyer was a vital part of Pitt’s strong kicking game throughout his four seasons with the Panthers. The long snapper handled both punts and field goals and was selected to play in the 2008 Senior Bowl. In addition to his on the field success, Estermyer was a star in the classroom as well, making the Big East All-Academic Football Team all four seasons.
Graessle, who has been inactive the past two seasons, is a former punter for the Panthers (2003-06). A two-time All-Big East pick while at Pitt, Graessle was a candidate for the prestigious Ray Guy Award for the nation’s top punter as a senior. As a junior in 2005, Graessle was named Pitt’s Special Teams MVP.
Pitt’s five free agents join the list of 2009 draftees in running back LeSean McCoy (Harrisburg, Pa./Bishop McDevitt), who was selected in the second round by the Philadelphia Eagles; linebacker Scott McKillop (Export, Pa./Kiski Area), a fifth round pick by the San Francisco 49ers; running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (Johnstown, Pa./Greater Johnstown), who went to the Arizona Cardinals in the seventh round and wide receiver Derek Kinder (Albion, N.Y./Albion), a seventh round selection of the Chicago Bears.
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