Stoops reconnecting with former Cats

There are 19 former Cats playing in NFL training camps around the country and Coach Mark Stoops and staff wanted to make sure each of them got a little something to remind them of home.

Players like Randall Cobb of the Green Bay Packers and Matt Smith of the Atlanta Falcons both tweeted out pictures of the care packages stocked with plenty of Kentucky gear (hats, visors, shorts, a media guide) and a hand-written note from Stoops.

“Our hope is that they’ll wear that UK gear around at camp proudly,” UK spokesman Susan Lax said this week.

In an interview with the Herald-Leader on Thursday morning, Stoops said he wanted to make sure that former UK players, whether NFL stars or not, feel a part of the program.

He called staying connected with past players “very important.

“I watched my brother Bob do that at a very early stage at Oklahoma, before the early success,” he said. “We maybe don’t have as much tradition as they have with some of their with all the years of history there. But the history we do have here and the great players we have had here, I want them to feel comfortable.

“Every player I run into, whether they were a great player here or an average player here, I always tell them they’re welcome here and I’d love to see them around practice. It’s always open to them, the ex-players, and I want them to feel at home.”

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at
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