April 24, 2010
BERKELEY - Former Cal football players signed free agent contracts or arranged workouts with NFL teams on Saturday. Safety Brett Johnson signed with Buffalo, while offensive linemen Chet Teofilo and Mike Tepper both signed with Dallas. Safety Marcus Ezeff has not signed a contract but has a workout scheduled next week with the New York Jets.
Johnson played in 49 career games at Cal from 2006-09 with 22 starts, including 21 in his final two seasons. He finished his collegiate career with 107 tackles, three interceptions that he returned for 64 yards, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one blocked kick and eight pass breakups. Johnson had a career-high 52 tackles as a senior. He returned one of his three career interceptions 43 yards for a touchdown in a 42-7 victory over Colorado State as a junior in 2008.
Johnson, who was not invited to the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine this past February, was impressive during Cal's Pro Day last month. He reportedly had the best mark in the vertical jump, broad jump and 40-yard dash. Johnson set a Cal record with a 42'6" showing in the vertical jump that was better than all but three marks recorded at the combine. He then went 10'9" in the broad jump, which would have finished third at the combine, before running a 40-yard dash that was clocked as low as 4.30 by scouts in attendance.
"The whole process was exciting," said Johnson. "I had a great day at Pro Day and that brought me some more interest from teams. I'm excited to have an opportunity to play at the next level."
"Brett really opened up a lot of eyes with the Pro Day he had at Cal in March," said head coach Jeff Tedford. "He is a tremendous athlete who has the physical ability necessary to make it at the next level."
Teofilo played in 16 games and made eight starts during five seasons that he participated in a game in at Cal in 2005 and 2007-09. He saw his most extensive action as a junior in 2008 when he started the team's first seven games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury against UCLA.
"I'm just really appreciative of the opportunity, especially with my senior year being so up and down," said Teofilo. "But I worked hard in the offseason and when I got the phone call I was really excited. I'm just looking forward to making the most of this opportunity."
Tepper played in 39 games with 28 starts during six seasons with the Cal football program from 2004-09. He was granted a sixth year of eligibility in 2009 following a pectoral injury that ended his scheduled 2008 senior campaign before it began. Tepper responded by earning first-team All-Pac-10 honors and the team's Ken Cotton Award as the Most Courageous Player on Offense as a sixth-year senior, starting all 13 games at left tackle. He was also on the West roster for the 2010 East-West Shrine Game following his senior campaign. As a junior in 2007, Tepper started all 13 games for a unit that allowed a league-low 11 sacks (third-lowest total in the nation).
"I'm very happy to finally be part of a professional football family," said Tepper. "I'm excited to be joining the Cowboys and to have the opportunity to compete for a job. My whole experience at Cal, both in football and school, was a very good one. In my last year I had a new offensive line coach, and I used that opportunity to show that I was coachable and that I could learn a new technique."
"Mike matured a lot during the time he was at Cal and it is so gratifying to see that it has paid off with him getting the opportunity to play in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys," said Tedford. "I wish Mike the best as he continues his football career."
Ezeff played in 44 games with 25 starts during his four seasons at Cal from 2006-09, including 20 consecutive starts during one stretch that included all 13 games in 2008 and his first seven of 2009. He totaled 153 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, three interceptions that he returned for 78 yards including a 69-yard touchdown against UCLA in 2008, eight pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Ezeff will long be remembered at Cal for a play during his 2007 sophomore season when he forced a fumble by Oregon receiver Cameron Colvin at the Cal one-yard line with 0:16 seconds remaining in the game to preserve a 31-24 Cal victory in Eugene.
"It's truly a blessing to get this opportunity," said Ezeff. "It's a first step. I will always thank Cal for giving me the opportunity to be successful, and I thank the Jets for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talent."
"Marcus had a solid career at Cal and helped us win a lot of games during his time here," said Tedford. "I am happy for him that the Jets are giving him an opportunity to showcase his abilities at the next level."
Check back on CalBears.com and the Bear Blog in the upcoming days to find out if any other former Cal players sign free agent contracts or arrange workouts with NFL teams, or sign a contract or arrange a workout with a team from another professional football league.