Three Patriot Leaguers Sign NFL Free Agent Contracts

Lehigh's Billy Boyko

April 29, 2013

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Three Patriot League football standouts will get an opportunity to extend their career in the National Football League after signing free agent deals over the weekend.

From Lehigh, wide receiver Ryan Spadola signed a contract with the New York Jets while linebacker Billy Boyko inked a deal with the Oakland Raiders. Georgetown linebacker Robert McCabe, the 2012 Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, signed with the Miami Dolphins. Each player signed after the conclusion of the NFL Draft on Saturday.

Spadola is ranked second in Patriot League history in both receptions (232) and receiving yards (3,611). He was a three-time first team All-Patriot League selection and earned All-America honors following his sophomore season and again after his junior year in 2011, when he was a first-team honoree from three different organizations and set a Patriot League record with 1,614 receiving yards.

Spadola spent time this winter training at Fit Speed Athletic Performance, in Weston, Fla., a facility run by Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall; and participated at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February.

Boyko was a first team All-Patriot League selection and an ECAC All-Star in 2012. He led Lehigh with a career-high 104 tackles and added a sack and two forced fumbles. Boyko appeared in 42 career games for the Brown and White, totaling 183 tackles and 5.5 sacks.

McCabe was a dominant force in the Patriot League during his final two seasons at Georgetown. He posted consecutive 100-tackle seasons, including a Division I FCS-leading 159 tackles in 2012 when he won the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year award and was a fourth-place finisher for the Buck Buchanan Award. He also had 14.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks last season. McCabe's strong senior season earned him an invitation to the 88th Annual East-West Shrine Game, where he was able to compete with some of this year's top draft-eligible talent in front of scores of NFL executives, coaches and scouts.

The trio will look to join the fraternity of former Patriot Leaguers in the NFL which included five players last season. Blake Costanzo, who played linebacker at Lafayette from 2002-05, is the longest-tenured of the group and will enter his seventh active season in 2013 and second with the Chicago Bears. Former Fordham quarterback John Skelton heads into his fourth season and first with the Cincinnati Bengals after spending the last three with the Arizona Cardinals. Former Lehigh All-American offensive lineman Will Rackley heads into his third season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, while Isa Abdul-Quddus will go into his third year at defensive back for the New Orleans Saints after a standout career at Fordham. Former Colgate running back Nate Eachus will head to his second season with the Kansas City Chiefs after playing fullback as a rookie in 2012.