For the first time, a Stony Brook football alumnus was on an active NFL roster for a game during the regular season.
The New York Giants signed former Seawolves tight end Will Tye off the team’s own practice squad on Saturday to make his professional debut on Sunday when the team played against the Buffalo Bills.
“Definitely a dream come true,” Tye said after his NFL debut. “I still can’t believe it now.”
Tye was waived by the Giants on Sept. 1 before they signed him back onto the practice squad on Sept. 7.
The Statesman reported on Saturday afternoon that according to Tye’s agent DuWayne Upton, the former Seawolf and Seminole would be signed later in the day, and an article posted on the Giants’ official website at 3:45 p.m. confirmed it.
According to Tye, he practiced with the offense all week as if he was going to head upstate with the Giants to play the Bills, but the promotion to the active roster came when head coach Tom Coughlin called him into his office on Saturday.
“He said, ‘Play fast. Play fast,’” Tye said about what his coach told him before the game. “‘You’re going to see a lot of things out there. Just play fast and have fun.’”
The Giants terminated the contract of defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis to make room for the former Seawolf. Tye was one of two active tight ends on the team’s roster for the game against the Bills.
He was targeted once in the 24-10 Giants win, dropping the pass. But Tye also got snaps as a blocker during the game.
Stony Brook had three former players sign contracts with NFL teams prior to training camp this year, with only Tye being signed to a practice squad.
Adrian Coxson, a former Seawolves wide receiver, signed with the Green Bay Packers after the NFL Draft this spring and spent some time with the team early on in the summer before being released on Aug. 17 and eventually retiring from football altogether.
He said he is happy to see his former teammate earn an opportunity.
“He took advantage of it and now he is getting his shot,” Coxson said. “He is very blessed and I support him 100 percent and [I am] looking forward to seeing him play on Sundays.”
Tye was one of 44 players invited by the Giants to a tryout in the spring. He was one of only three from that group to be signed to a contract.
After transferring from Florida State, Tye caught 79 passes totaling 1,015 yards and scored nine touchdowns in his two seasons with Stony Brook.
“They said good job,” Tye said about what his coaches told him after the game, then laughing. “I didn’t mess up too much.”