May 8, 2006
BERKELEY - Four members of the 2005 California Golden Bears football team have signed free agent contracts with National Football League teams and will participate in upcoming mini-camps.
The Chicago Bears added rover Donnie McCleskey to their roster for mini-camp. Free safety Harrison Smith signed with the Detroit Lions. Other Cal players to sign were fullback Chris Manderino (Cincinnati Bengals) and punter David Lonie (Washington Redskins).
McCleskey and Smith played a pivotal role in the Golden Bears' secondary last season. McCleskey wrapped up the season with 73 tackles, moving him to eighth on the all-time tackles list (258). Smith broke up eight passes in his senior season, ending his career second on the Cal all-time list with 32.
In his final season as a Golden Bear, Manderino scored two rushing touchdowns and two receiving and Lonie produced a 42.0 average on his punts last season, with his longest of 56 yards.
The free agent signings along with the three Bears chosen in the draft brings the total to seven Cal players who have joined a NFL roster this spring. Offensive lineman Ryan O'Callaghan was drafted by the New England Patriots (136th pick overall), center Marvin Philip was picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers (201st Pick overall) and guard Aaron Merz was drafted by the Buffalo Bills (248th pick overall).