(Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Kris J. Murante staff photographer)
Perry Patterson's road to making it as a pro makes Demetris Nichols' seem stable. Let's have a look.
Patterson graduated from SU in 2006, finishing fourth all-time in passing yards (5,220), third in completions (456), fifth in career completion percentage (.529) and fifth in career touchdown passes (25). I know, crazy, right?
Perry went un-drafted though he did attend Buffalo Bills mini-camp. He was not offered a contract.
On June 5th, 2007, Patterson signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. It was a dream opportunity. Perry grew up a die-hard Eagles fan and would have the chance to play behind fellow SU quarterback Donovan McNabb.
Patterson then took his show to the AFL where he signed with the Columbus Destroyers in early 2008. Fate continued with it's long-running cruel joke against Perry as he was once again cut almost immediately, this time after about a week. The Destroyers said he failed a physical but Perry knows the true reason:
"They made it up," he said. "How can you fail your physical and be out on the field? They're owned by an Ohio State graduate, and they wanted (former Buckeyes quarterback Justin Zwick)."
Either that's true or the Dallas Desperados had the most lax doctor in the world because Perry signed with them a few months later. He spent most of his tenure there as a back-up and never got a chance to shine because, you know, the league closed up shop.
Perry moved on to the Abliene Rough Riders of the IFL, though he once again saw limited action due to the team already having a starter in former Cowboy Quincy Carter. In the meantime, the league's Rochester Raiders were looking for a QB to call their own and a familiar face intervened:
Raiders offensive lineman Joe Donnelly had played at SU with Patterson and felt he could spark the Raiders' offense. So he placed a call to his old friend in late April.
"I explained all the benefits about coming to Rochester," Donnelly said. "When he heard about the career opportunities of working at CGI and playing for the Raiders he jumped all over it."
It was the spark the team needed.
Patterson was granted his release from Abeline and joined up with the Raiders. Now? Patterson has finally found a place to ply his trade. He's led the Raiders into the playoffs and is putting up some solid stats to boot:
Patterson has tossed 42 touchdown passes and thrown only 10 interceptions. He has completed 54.3 percent of his passes and is averaging 168 yards passing in his 10 games, leading the Raiders to an 8-2 record.
He also gets a day job out of the deal (in sales and research for CGI Communications, a local marketing company run by Raiders co-owner Bob Bartosiewicz) and has plans to enroll at SU for his master's. That is, of course, if the NFL doesn't come calling one more time.
[Raiders co-owner Dave]McCarthy said. "Perry has been a perfect fit for us. If the Bills don't give him a look, they're crazy."
If they do give him a look, let's just hope they give him more than five business days to prove his worth.
Also, those Raiders uniforms...yikes. Somebody...do something.