DeShone Kizer headlines former Notre Dame players who landed on NFL's waiver wire

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

The only Notre Dame football player ever to leave two years of college eligibility on the table was looking for a second chance this weekend.

The Oakland Raiders on Sunday provided it, plucking third-year pro quarterback DeShone Kizer off the waiver wire and adding him to their 53-man roster.

The Green Bay Packers had waived Kizer Saturday as NFL teams had to pare rosters from 90 players to 53.

The addition of Kizer gives the Raiders four quarterbacks, for now — starter Derek Carr, and backups Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman.

Kizer, Notre Dame’s starting quarterback in 2015 and 2016, spent the 2018 season as longtime standout Aaron Rodgers' backup after coming to the Packers from the Cleveland Browns in a trade last offseason. The Browns selected him in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Kizer started 15 games as a rookie with the Browns in 2017, completing 53.1 percent of his passes for 2,894 yards and 11 touchdowns with 22 interceptions. Cleveland went 0-16 that season.

Kizer then appeared in three games as a backup in Green Bay last year, notably tossing an interception and losing a fumble in the season opener against Chicago before Rodgers returned from injury to save the day.

Kizer spent this offseason battling with 2018 undrafted free agent signal-caller Tim Boyle, out of Eastern Kentucky, for the backup duties behind Rodgers. Unless the Packers make a deal for a player outside the organization, Boyle will be the backup.

Final cuts had to be made Saturday by 4 p.m. EDT. A 24-hour window for teams to claim players placed on waivers ensued. Teams then were able to assemble a practice squad of up to 10 players each.

Tracking area standouts

Three players with local ties found themselves on the transaction wire on Saturday.

Former South Bend Washington star Gehrig Dieter (SMU/Bowling green/Alabama) was placed on injured reserve by the Kansas City Chiefs, meaning he won’t play at all in the 2019 season.

Dieter was sidelined throughout training camp with a back injury.

Former Marian High offensive lineman Kirk Barron (Purdue) was waived by the Cincinnati Bengals, while former Elkhart Central wide receiver Spencer Schnell (Illinois State) was waived by Tampa Bay.

Tracking former Irish

Two former Harry Hiestand protégés landed on the Chicago Bears’ waiver list Saturday. Both undrafted rookie offensive linemen, Alex Bars and Sam Mustipher, were signed to the team’s practice squad on Sunday.

Both players were recruited by and played most of their careers under Hiestand at Notre Dame. The offensive line coach left Notre Dame after the 2017 season to join the Bears in the same capacity.

Other Irish undrafted rookies who didn’t make the final cut around the NFL included linebacker Te’von Coney (Oakland), defensive lineman Jonathan Bonner (Washington), and punter Tyler Newsome (L.A. Chargers).

Rookie seventh-round draft choice, tight end Alizé Mack (New Orleans) also found himself on the waiver wire.

NFL veterans with ND ties who were waived Friday or Saturday comprised cornerbacks KeiVarae Russell (Cincinnati), Bennett Jackson (Baltimore) and Cole Luke (Carolina); wide receivers T.J. Jones (N.Y. Giants) and Michael Floyd (Baltimore); running back Josh Adams (Philadelphia); offensive linemen Jarron Jones (Buffalo) and Sam Young (San Francisco); and linebacker Greer Martini (Minnesota).

Jackson was claimed on waivers Sunday by the New York Jets. Luke was signed to Carolina's practice squad.

Dallas, meanwhile, waived wide receiver Jalen Guyton, a player who started his career at Notre Dame and finished it at North Texas. And Oakland placed defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes on injured reserve. Vanderdoes originally signed out of high school with the Irish but ended up spending his college career at UCLA.

Placed on injured reserve this weekend were former ND players Equanimeous St. Brown, a wide receiver with Green Bay; Theo Riddick, a running back with Denver; and James Onwualu, a linebacker with Jacksonville.

Tight end Ben Koyack survived Saturday's round of cuts, but was waived Sunday by Jacksonville after the Jaguars made four waiver claims, including two tight ends.

Former Irish safety Matthias Farley was waived by the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday. The New York Jets signed him Friday.

DeShone Kizer throws a pass during a preseason NFL game with the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday. Two days later, the Packers waived the former Notre Dame QB.