SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

April 26, 2010

Zardas an Eagle again after signing with Philadelphia

Chris Zardas is an Eagle again. The former St. John's Prep Eagle signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent Saturday.

He was watching the NFL draft on television at his Wakefield home when the phone rang. It was the call he had been waiting for, and the UMass Amherst star was thrilled to be offered a free agent contract.

"I was so excited I don't remember the man's name, who called from the Eagles," said Zardas, the starting fullback for the Minutemen the last two years. "I was watching the draft on television with my parents when it came. I knew Philadelphia was very interested, and felt that was my best shot. They had sent me a letter expressing interest in signing me as a free agent."

Zardas was told the team was sending a contract for him to sign and rushed to his agent Kristin Kuliga's Boston office to sign it late Saturday afternoon.

"I had been told that once the draft ends teams immediately start making their calls to the free agents they were interested in signing," said Zardas, who overcame injuries and illness that plagued him during his first two seasons at UMass. "Honestly, I didn't care if I was drafted or caught on as a free agent. I don't know any details yet, but was told I would get a call later to tell me when to report for mini camp."

Zardas, a 6-foot-1, 230 pound fullback with excellent speed and good hands coming out of the backfield was primarily used as a blocker for tailback Tony Nelson. He had 43 carries for 164 yards and three touchdowns this past season. He also caught seven passes for 46 yards and a touchdown.

He was named All-CAA first team and New England Football Writers First Team. In February, Zardas was invited to play in Texas vs. The Nation football game in El Paso, Texas. He got the nod as the starting fullback for The Nation and scored a touchdown while several scouts looked on.

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