Former Northern Illinois assistant coach and NIU alum Dan Roushar was hired as the running backs coach of the New Orleans Saints
over the weekend. Roushar will join Sean Payton's staff after spending his last six seasons at Michigan State. During the past three seasons at MSU, Roushar served as the Spartan's offensive coordinator, where he helped the likes of Kirk Cousins, Le'Veon Bell and Andrew Maxwell set new school records.
Prior to his stint in East Lansing, Mich., Roushar spent the 1997-2002 seasons coaching the Huskies' offensive line and serving as offensive coordinator. While coaching NIU, Roushar helped groom Ryan Diem into an NFL prospect, while recruiting future NFL starter Doug Free to DeKalb. He has also spent time at Butler, Rhode Island, Ball State, Illinois and Cincinnati.
Roushar graduated from NIU in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in physical education, while also earning two varsity letters as a quarterback with the Huskies.
While the NIU football team has just started its preseason camp, several former Huskies are well into their second week of NFL training camp. One Huskie, Nathan Palmer, has distinguished himself in the early going. Palmer, who signed a free agent contract with the San Francisco 49ers, has impressed coaches and has a good chance to make the 53-man roster writes Eric Branch of The San Francisco Chronicle.
NFL training camps are now in full gear, which means that football season is just around the corner. This year, 12 former Huskies are in training camps, including five from last season's MAC Championship squad.
QB Chandler Harnish (Indianapolis), WR Nathan Palmer (San Francisco), C Scott Wedige (Arizona), LB Pat Schiller (Atlanta) and FB Cameron Bell (San Francisco) will try to join RB Michael Turner (Atlanta), WR Britt Davis (New England), LB Larry English (San Diego), OT Doug Free (Dallas), CB Chris Smith (St. Louis) and CB Tracy Wilson (New York Jets) as Huskies in the NFL. Meanwhile, WR Landon Cox will also get an opportunity to catch on in the league, as he was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this week.
Huskie fans will also get to see a familiar face on the field in the first preseason game of the year Sunday night, as Wedige and the Arizona Cardinals take on the New Orleans Saints in the NFL Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.
The game kicks off at 7 p.m. CT on NFL Network. Fans can also follow the action live on NFL.com
. The contest will also feature 2012 Hall of Fame inductees Jack Butler, Dermotti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin and Willie Roaf, all of whom will be formally inducted the night before.
For the full NFL preseason schedule to see when the other NIU alums are in action, click here
Being last has it's perks. Sometimes. For former NIU super-star quarterback Chandler Harnish, who was named "Mr. Irrelevant" for being the last pick of April's NFL Draft, he is about to enjoy the perks of being "last" for maybe the first time ever in his life. Next week marks the beginning of the 37th annual Irrelevant Week, which involves a litany of charitable events for Harnish in Newport Beach, Calif. To see what one of the newest members of the Indianapolis Colts will be doing next week, click here
Even though the moniker of "last" led him to this wonderful opportunity, it's interesting to know that he will be the "first" Mr. Irrelevant to enjoy his Irrelevant Week during the Fourth of July. Looks like he will be having a great time in Orange County!
Former Northern Illinois University offensive lineman and Indianapolis Colt Ryan Diem announced his retirement from the NFL today
. Diem played 11 years (2001-11) all with the Colts. He began his career at right guard before playing right tackle for nine seasons. He returned to right guard this past season. Diem played in two Super Bowls and was a member of the Colt team that won Super Bowl XLI.
While his Huskie career maybe over, things haven't slowed down for Chandler Harnish. The 2011 Vern Smith Leadership Award winner is preparing for the biggest job interview of his life as he is set to participate in the 2012 NFL Combine in Indianapolis Feb. 22-28. The Chicago Tribune's Fred Mitchell caught up with Harnish and discussed his pro potential in this story
Before heading to Indianapolis, Harnish will be collecting some more hardware
. This weekend, Harnish will travel to Columbus, Ohio to accept the 2011 Male Athlete of the Year Award from the Touchdown Club of Columbus. The second Huskie to win that award, Harnish was the TCC's 2010 MAC Player of the Year. He will then be at Halas Hall, Feb. 20 to receive the Mental Toughness Award from the National Football Foundation Chicago Metro Chapter.
Just how good was the Northern Illinois University secondary last year? Two former starters from last season's squad, safety Tracy Wilson
and cornerback Chris Smith
, are playing in the National Football League.
Wilson, as you read here on Huskie Happenings a few weeks ago, was elevated from to the Jets active roster from the practice squad. He has seen action in two games, making three tackles on the season. Wilson made one tackle, an assist, against Washington and made a solo and assisted tackle this weekend against Kansas City.
Smith, who is playing for the St. Louis Rams, saw action in his first NFL game Monday night in Seattle. he made three solo tackles and the Rams fell to the Seahawks, 30-13.
Former NIU running back Chad Spann is still in the league as well. The former Vern Smith Leadership Award winner, who started the year with Indianapolis, then was picked up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is now on the Steelers practice squad.
Former Northern Illinois safety Tracy Wilson will soon be activated on the New York Jets 53-man roster, according to Head Coach Rex Ryan in the team's weekly press conference on Monday on NewYorkJets.com. Wilson will be activated from the practice squad and replace safety Emmanuel Cook on the roster.
Ryan said about Wilson "He's been doing a great job. [Wilson is] one of the hardest working guys we've got on this team, if not the hardest. So I think that young man's earned it."
For more news and updates as it develops, click here
Former Huskie running back, one of the NIU all-time greats, Michael Turner (2000-03) played in his second career Pro Bowl yesterday evening. The Atlanta Falcons back turned in 53 yards on eight carries and had one catch for 11 yards. Turner's 64-total-yard performance helped the NFC crush the AFC 55-41 in Honolulu. The game marked the end of Turner's seventh season in the NFL. During the 2010 campaign, the North Chicago, Ill., native posted his second 1,000-yard season (1,371) and had his third with double digit touchdowns (12).