March 23, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Four players selected in the first three rounds of the NFL draft following their respective Notre Dame careers have agreed to serve as honorary coaches for the 2009 Blue-Gold Spring Football Festival. Bertrand Berry, Reggie Brooks, Jeff Faine and Justin Tuck accepted the invitation by head football coach Charlie Weis and will participate in weekend events including coaching the April 18 game.
The 2009 Blue-Gold Spring Football Festival, presented by Home Run Inn Pizza, will take place April 17-19 with the Blue-Gold Game kicking off Saturday, April 18 at 1:35 p.m. in Notre Dame Stadium. Tickets for the game are currently on sale at the Notre Dame ticket office and discounted general admission tickets are available at Michiana-area Meijer stores. Details for all weekend events including the football alumni flag game and fun run to benefit Hannah and Friends can be found on UND.com.
Berry, originally from Humble, Texas, played outside linebacker for the Irish from 1993 through 1996. He started five games as a freshman in ’93, six in ’94, then all 12 contests in ’95 and 11 in ’96 (starting 23 straight contests to end his career). He led Note Dame in sacks as a sophomore (with six), finished third on the ’95 squad with his 76 total tackles, then led the team in sacks again as a senior in ’96 with 10 to go with 60 overall tackles. An honorable mention All-America selection as a senior, he finished his career with 187 tackles, 16.5 sacks and 11 other tackles for loss.
A 1997 Notre Dame graduate with a degree in communication and theatre, Berry was selected in the third round (86th overall pick) of the ’97 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He played for the Colts from ’97 through 1999, then spent a season in 2000 with the CFL Edmonton Eskimos. He signed with the Denver Broncos in 2001, spent three seasons with the Broncos and became a starter at defensive end, leading the ’03 squad in tackles and sacks. He has been with the Arizona Cardinals since the ’04 season, played as a starter in the 2005 NFL Pro Bowl and helped the Cardinals to the Super Bowl following the 2008 season.
Brooks, a native of Tulsa, Okla., played for the Irish from 1989-92. After starting his career as a defensive back as a freshman, Brooks moved to tailback, was named second-team All-America and finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting after a stellar senior campaign in ’92. Brooks rushed for 1,372 yards and scored 13 touchdowns that year. He averaged 122.1 yards per game and an even more impressive 8.0 yards per carry as the Irish went 10-1-1, including a 28-3 rout of Texas A&M in the 1993 Cotton Bowl. His career average of 7.6 yards per rush remains a school record, while his 1,372 yards rushing in ’92 rank third-best in single-season school history. Brooks’ 227-yard game against USC on Nov. 28, 1992, ranks as the fourth-highest single-game rushing effort in school history.
Brooks played four seasons in the NFL, predominantly for Washington (1993-95), after the Redskins selected him in the second round of the ’93 NFL Draft (45th overall pick). He finished with 1,726 career rushing yards, including 223 attempts for 1,063 yards as a rookie in ’93. He was named to the NFL’s ’93 all-rookie team by the Pro Football Writers of America.
Brooks worked with The Nordam Group in Tulsa for six years as a PC network technician and system business analyst, then was the IT Network Specialist for Union Public Schools in Tulsa. He also previously served as an assistant coach for the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe and as an intern for the Indianapolis Colts. Brooks received his bachelor’s degree in 1999 from Notre Dame in management information systems. He spent four years working with the Notre Dame Office of Information Technologies as Administrator of Production System I. Currently manager of monogram/football relations for the Notre Dame Monogram Club, he also assists with Notre Dame football pre- and post-game shows, as well as the weekly coaches’ radio show, for Notre Dame Sports Properties.
Faine, originally from Sanford, Fla., started at center for Notre Dame for three consecutive seasons from 2000 through 2002. He started 36 consecutive games over those three seasons, after not seeing game action as a freshman in ’99. As a senior in ’02, Faine won first-team All-America honors from The Sporting News and ESPN.com, plus second-team honors from Associated Press. As a senior in ’02 he also received the Nick Pietrosante Award, by vote of his teammates, as the Irish player who best exemplified courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and pride. He led all Notre Dame players in playing time in both ’01 and ’02.
A 2002 Notre Dame graduate with a degree in film, television and theatre, Faine was selected in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft as the 21st overall pick by the Cleveland Browns. He played with the Browns from 2003 through ’05, with the New Orleans Saints in ’06 and ’07 and with the Tampa Bay Bucs in ’08 (he was a Pro Bowl alternate selection in ’07). He has been a starting center since he entered the NFL and has now started in all 82 NFL games in which he has played.
Tuck, originally from Coosa County, Ala., played defensive end for the Irish from 2002 through ’04, after not seeing game action as a rookie in ’01. A two-year starter, he finished his career as Notre Dame’s career leader in sacks (24.5) and tackles for loss (43), as well as the Irish single-season leader in sacks (13.5 in ’03). His Irish teammates voted him the team MVP in ’04 when he started 11 games and recorded team highs of 14 tackles for loss and six sacks.
A third-round selection (74th overall pick) by the New York Giants in the 2004 NFL Draft, Tuck helped the Giants win Super Bowl XLII following the ’07 season ( he had two sacks and a forced fumble in that game) and then became a Pro Bowl end in 2008. The Associated Press named him first-team All-Pro in ’08. He’s a 2005 Notre Dame graduate from the Mendoza College of Business, with a major in management.