April 26, 2005
New Haven, CT - Former Yale football stars Rory Hennessey and Ralph Plumb both signed free agent contracts at the conclusion of the NFL draft this past weekend and will attempt to continue their playing careers at the next level. Hennessey, an offensive lineman and Yale's captain, signed with the Detroit Lions. Plumb, Yale's all-time leading receiver, signed with the Oakland Raiders. They will attend their teams' upcoming mini-camps.
"I'm really excited to finally find out where I'm going," Plumb said. "It's been 4-5 months of training not even knowing if you're going to make it or have a chance. I haven't made it, but I have a shot. That's all I was asking and my agent [Joe Linta '83, a former Yale football player] got it for me."
Among Plumb's potential teammates with the Raiders is another former Bulldog, fullback Chris Hetherington '95. Like Plumb, Hetherington played a different position with the Elis (quarterback) than the one that got him into the pros. Plumb will attempt to duplicate the success another receiver-turned-tight end from Yale has enjoyed - Eric Johnson '01 of the San Francisco 49ers, whose career receptions record Plumb broke this past season.
Hennessey, a two-time All-American, also will have Eli connections with his new team. The Lions' defensive coordinator is Dick Jauron '73 and the team is owned by William Clay Ford '49.
Hetherington, Johnson and Tampa Bay tight end Nate Lawrie '04 were the three Bulldogs who appeared in NFL games last season.
report by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity Department