NFL DRAFT

Chris Gronkowski, Tuihalamaka sign free agent deals

2010-04-26T00:00:00Z Chris Gronkowski, Tuihalamaka sign free agent dealsRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 26, 2010 12:00 am  • 

For players looking for work, the day after the NFL draft can be a stressful game of musical chairs.

Two Arizona Wildcats are sitting pretty after a productive Sunday.

H-back Chris Gronkowski (Dallas Cowboys) and linebacker Vuna Tuihalamaka (Indianapolis Colts) both signed undrafted free agent contracts, and more UA players could be closer to deals.

Tuihalamaka was in especially high demand. His agent, Steve Caric, said the linebacker had "six or seven offers" to choose from.

"He was a little under the radar from NFL teams, being a juco guy who didn't play much his junior year," Caric said. "But the more teams saw him and watched his film, the more they fell in love with him."

The 6-foot-2-inch, 230-pound Tuihalamaka registered 68 tackles as a senior after having just 20 in 2008.

Gronkowski had a similar experience - only in reverse.

He was a major part of Arizona's offense as a junior, catching eight passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns.

An injury to his brother Rob Gronkowski, Arizona's star tight end, limited Chris' role as a senior. Playing both tight end and fullback in an offense that emphasized the pass, he caught just four passes for 20 yards.

Chris Gronkowski made up for it with a productive off-season. He relocated to Miami, Fla., and along with his brother hired agent Drew Rosenhaus.

The Patriots selected Rob Gronkowski with their second-round pick on Friday. Chris and Rob's brother, Dan, is a second-year tight end with the Detroit Lions.

More UA players could agree to free-agent deals in the coming days. Safety Cam Nelson will head to Chicago Thursday for a tryout with the Bears. Tailback Nick Booth is still considering offers from the Bears and a few other teams.

The agent for cornerback Devin Ross said Sunday that he will choose offers from among three teams soon.

Ross was viewed by many as a fourth- or fifth-round pick heading into the draft, but he was not selected.

"I think the NFL missed the boat on this kid. At worst, he was a mid-round pick," agent Harold Lewis said. "We're trying to make these lemons into lemonade, and we're going to find the best opportunity for him."

On StarNet: Follow the Arizona Wildcats through the off-season on Ryan Finley's blog: go.azstarnet.com/finley

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