Wildcats in the NFL

Former Arizona Wildcats DT Earl Mitchell has photo blog worth following



— The Houston Chronicle published an in-depth article about Earl Mitchell’s impoverished upbringing in Houston and what his late grandmother meant to him surviving through that and becoming a success
— ESPN.com reports that Mitchell worked hard during the offseason to earn his starting spot, including CrossFit sessions

Former Arizona defensive tackle Earl Mitchell has become a regular starter for the Houston Texans in his fourth season, and he wants to let the world know his appreciation of where he stands.

He grew up in an impoverished area in Houston. The Houston Chronicle reported two years ago that Mitchell and his mother and sister slept on occasion at the Salvation Army in Houston when he was 5. He was exposed to drug dealing and criminal activity in the neighborhood where his late grandmother lived.

Mitchell and his mom and sister often lived in his grandmother’s house. She taught him how to be resilient and survive during trying circumstances. Narnie Mitchell, his grandmother, passed away at age 77 when Mitchell was 14 and his life about to blossom. He did not slip without her. He gained strength from her teachings.

“We had the same mindset of … we’re going to live different,” Mitchell told the Chronicle about him and his sister. “We’re not going to live in a drug-infested neighborhood. We’re going to grow up and have families. If we want change, we have to be the change.”

Mitchell, who played for the Wildcats from 2006-09, has created a photograph blog titled “My NFL Journey”. The photos show Mitchell sweating and working hard during games and at practice, but the lighter side of Mitchell with him talking to classrooms and interacting with children makes for a comprehensive, heartfelt, worthwhile blog.

My favorite picture: One of his mother Lisa Hearron wearing his Houston No. 92 jersey holding a sign that has the letter “D” with a drawing of a fence. Her grin shows how proud she is of how far her son has come. Mitchell writes: “Love seeing her happy!”

Earl Mitchell's mom, Lisa Hearron, is showing her son to bring the defense (Earl Mitchell blog post)

Earl Mitchell’s mom, Lisa Hearron, is showing her son to bring the defense (Earl Mitchell blog post)

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Former Arizona quarterback Matt Scott (Jacksonville) and basketball player Fendi Onobun (Chicago) are included among practice-squad rosters heading into the season. Each participated with their respective team during the exhibition season.

Players on the practice squad do not count towards the active 53-man roster, but they can practice with the team throughout the season. Players on the practice squad can be signed by any other team at any time. The only catch is that the team that signs him will have to keep him on their active roster for at least three weeks.

This site will run statistic updates on former Wildcats who are active in the NFL throughout the season. Here are the preseason stats of those who are on the active rosters:

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An overall list of UA players active in the NFL:

Lance Briggs, LB, Chicago Bears
Eben Britton, G, Chicago Bears
Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona Cardinals
Juron Criner, WR, Oakland Raiders
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Nick Folk, PK, New York Jets
Robert Golden, S, Pittsburgh Steelers
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Earl Mitchell, NT, Houston Texans
Brooks Reed, LB, Houston Texans

WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.


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