This Ventrone getting into the flow of things
|08.30.10 at 1:26 am ET|
FOXBORO — His brother is most famous for delivering one of the biggest hits in Super Bowl history while his teammate at Villanova might be one of the best college athletes in America.
But Ross Ventrone is out to make a name for himself as a rookie free agent defensive back/special teams player with the Patriots.
The first thing you notice about Ventrone is not that he’s even shorter than his 5-foot-10 brother Ray, who laid out Domenik Hixon of the Giants in Super Bowl XLII. It’s not his mild-mannered, overly pleasant personality. What is most noticeable about this native of Pittsburgh is … the free-flowing mane that trails behind him as he runs on the practice field.
New England is a team his brother, Ray, played on for parts of three seasons, including last year before moving onto the Browns.
Ross Ventrone was released earlier in camp before being brought back by the Patriots last week. Ventrone comes to New England after winning an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision championship last year with Villanova, the same alma mater of Ray. One of Ross’ teammates was star running back Matt Szczur, a fifth-round pick of the Chicago Cubs in the June MLB draft.
Ventrone was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on April 29 after playing and starting three years for Villanova, following his transfer from Pittsburgh. Ventrone was the leader of a secondary that was one of the best in the FCS in 2009.
Ventrone was in on 73 tackles, including 53 solos. He had 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks and was in on 198 tackles in his three-year career with the Wildcats. Two years ago, Ventrone had a team-best four interceptions for the Wildcats.
Ventrone is someone who knows how to climb a hill. He began his college career as a walk-on at Pittsburgh. After being redshirted as a freshman in 2005, he worked on the scout team in 2006 before earning a scholarship to Villanova.
Now with the Patriots, Ventrone, like his brother, is making his mark on special teams. He played in the opener against the Saints before getting cut for Week 2. He was brought back last week and made a tackle on special teams against the Rams. Now, in the preseason finale against the Giants at the New Meadowlands Stadium on Thursday, he will try to leave his mark against the same team his brother did during Super Bowl XLII.
And, with a lot of luck, Ross, with long, flowing locks of hair, will make enough of a name for himself to make the team.