They are responsible for some of the longest-tenured NFL careers in Northeast Conference history and none of the three men were drafted.
Robert Morris offensive lineman Hank Fraley was the first, going undrafted in 2000 after garnering three consecutive all-NEC first team selections. When his playing career was finally over, he had made 142 appearances (123 starts) during NFL regular season games and was the Eagles’ starting center in Super Bowl XXXIX. Fraley is currently pursuing a career in coaching. After serving as an offensive line assistant with the Minnesota Vikings, he signed on with Pac-12 member UCLA this past winter.
Monmouth’s Miles Austin was also a three-time all-NEC first teamer, but he, too, did not hear his name called on Draft Day in 2006. The explosive wideout, who averaged more than 20.0 yards per catch during the 2005 season, signed on with the Dallas Cowboys and made his initial impression by returning kicks. By 2010, Austin was a two-time Pro Bowler. He posted back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons in 2009 and 2010. He played 129 career games, second all-time for a NEC alumnus behind Fraley.
Then, there’s Wagner alumnus Julian Stanford, who has been an active member of the 53-man roster for three different NFL teams. The Nutmeg State product was an all-NEC first teamer in 2011, but had to settle for an undrafted free agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars during the Spring of 2012. Stanford made the Jags’ 53-man roster out of training camp and proceeded to start six games as a rookie. After eventually moving on to stints with the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Bucs, Stanford is back in the New York Metropolitan area. He played in nine games for the New York Jets during the 2016 campaign, including three starts in place of the injured Darron Lee. He made 28 tackles before his season ended with a trip to the injured reserve list (ankle).