SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Patriots

January 26, 2012

Former St. John's Prep, UMass football star Zardas reflects on a pair of Super Bowl teammates

No matter who ultimately wins Super Bowl XLVI next Sunday night in Indianapolis, Chris Zardas will be a happy man.

A former star running back at St. John's Prep, Zardas was college football teammates at UMass Amherst with players from both teams: safety James Ihedigbo of the New England Patriots and wide receiver Victor Cruz of the New York Giants.

Cruz was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Giants in 2010 while Ihedigbo was released by the New York Jets this past summer and subsequently signed by the Patriots in August.

"It's awesome to have both of them playing in the Super Bowl. They're two really good kids," said Zardas, who was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2010 NFL draft, but later released. "James was on our 2006 team that went to the (Division 1-AA) national championship, and Victor was my year (of graduation, in 2010). I was a redshirt freshman when Ihedigbo was a senior, so I'm a lot closer to Cruz because I played with him a lot longer."

Zardas couldn't be happier for the two former Minutemen who will be battling for the Vince Lombardi Trophy 10 days from now.

In just his second year with the Giants, Cruz caught 82 passes for a team-record 1,536 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, earning Second Team NFL All-Pro honors. He also had 10 catches for 142 yards in last week's NFC championship win over the San Francisco 49ers in overtime.

"Cruz was always a very good player, but he had a rough time his freshman and sophomore years with some academic problems. His father died and he had to drop out of school for a while, but he got back on the right track his junior and senior years," recalled Zardas. "I'm not surprised at the catches he's making because I've seen him do it all along.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Patriots

Videos
Sports
  • 140423_SN_KYU_LAX_4 Young makes most of overtime chance, lifts Marblehead over Danvers MARBLEHEAD -- The final play -- a rebound scooped off the Piper Field turf and deposited into the back of the cage -- was like a microcosm of Harrison Young's experience with the Marblehead boys varsity lacrosse team. Young spent his junior year bidi

    April 24, 2014 6 Photos

  • ParalympicsSwimming Sharks swim in Paralympic Spring Can-AM Beverly YNS Sharks Cailin Currie and Leanne Smith recently participated in the 2014 US Paralympics Swimming Spring Can AM held in Miami, Florida. They were accompanied to the meet by new Y of the North Shore head coach Chris Morgan. Smith attained pe

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wednesday's area roundup: O'Connor wins four events, drives Beverly track over Danvers

    GIRLS TRACK Beverly 108 2/3, Danvers 27 1/3: Kristen O'Connor captured the high jump, triple jump, high hurdles and low hurdles to lead the Panthers to a win over Danvers. Beverly (4-0) also got strong performances from Caitlin Harty (400, 59.9), Rac

    April 24, 2014

  • Thibodeau third in NBA coach of the year balloting CHICAGO -- In Tom Thibodeau's four seasons with the Bulls, he has finished first, second, eighth and third in Coach of the Year voting. The latest finish of third, which the NBA announced Tuesday, placed him behind the Spurs' Gregg Popovich and Suns

    April 24, 2014

  • Local sports briefs BASEBALL Registration for Marblehead T-Ball is open to boys and girls ages 4-6. The season begins in late April and each player receives a t-shrit and hat. Volunteer coaches are also sought. Games take place for ages 4-5 on Tuesday from April 22-June

    April 24, 2014