Former WVU Stars Begin NFL Preseason Action - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Former WVU Stars Begin NFL Preseason Action

Tavon Austin was held without any stats in his preseason debut with St. Louis. Tavon Austin was held without any stats in his preseason debut with St. Louis.

Outside of the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins (who signed former West Virginia guard Jeff Braun), the rest of the National Football League had not gotten started with its preseason schedule until Thursday night.

We've already gone over Pat White's strong debut for the Washington Redskins (64 total yards and a touchdown, plus the game-winning two-point conversion) but he wasn't the only Mountaineer getting his preseason underway.

In that same game with White, one of his old teammates was on the field for the opposing team. Former WVU receiver Darius Reynaud has become a mainstay with the Tennessee Titans organization, mostly for his return abilities.

Once a target of White's Reynaud was only targeted one time in this game, but he did have seven rushes for three yards to go with his one kickoff return of 24 yards. On the first play after his return, starting running back Chris Johnson proved why the backfield belonged to him with a 58-yard touchdown run.

Chris Neild returned to the Redskins after missing all of last season with an injury and he rounded out the stat sheet with one tackle for Washington.

Another game pitting some former Mountaineers against each other was also perhaps the most highly anticipated of the night for WVU fans, but it failed to produce any real excitement for those hoping to see the Austin and Bailey show.

Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, first- and third-round selections respectively, sported their new St. Louis Rams uniforms for the first time in a game situation, but neither made much of a splash in their debuts. Austin, the source of much talk this offseason, failed to accumulate any statistics, either as a receiver or in a return role as the Browns punted short the one time he lined up to field it. 

Bailey was targeted three times and made two receptions for 27 yards.

In the preseason, especially in Game 1, teams tend to keep it quite vanilla with their starters. The lack of production Thursday is by no means a sign of things to come from these two, who hope to see their numbers called quite often in quarterback Sam Bradford's receiving corps.

Across the field was a player who was a senior in Austin and Bailey's true freshman season, Kent Richardson. The defensive back signed with the Cleveland Browns in the offseason after being named the Arena Football League's Defensive Player of the Year.

He had a brief stint with the Green Bay Packers out of college, but this was his first preseason game after leaving the NFL. Richardson finished the game with two tackles.

Former teammates back on the same field for a second year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were linebacker Najee Goode and cornerback-turned-safety Keith Tandy. Goode, who played mostly in the second half, led the Bucs defense with six tackles, including one for a loss.

Tandy had four tackles and one pass defended.

Adam "Pacman" Jones finished with one tackle for the Cincinnati "Hard Knocks" Bengals and Bruce Irvin was held out of the Seattle Seahawks' opener with a groin issue.

In action Friday night will be quarterback Geno Smith of the New York Jets along with Miami and Jeff Braun, while Don Barclay will suit up for year two with the Green Bay Packers and J.T. Thomas' Chicago Bears take on the Carolina Panthers. 

The Steelers will showcase former Mountaineers like Will Johnson, Joe Madsen, J.D. Woods and Terence Garvin against a New York Giants team that carries former Steelers safety Ryan Mundy and offensive lineman Selvish Capers on its roster Saturday night. And on Sunday, Pat McAfee will suit up as the franchise player for the Indianapolis Colts.

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