Oliphant signs with NFL's Baltimore Ravens

Contact: William Sodoma
Date: February 8, 2007
WATERVILLE, Maine --­ Colby College graduate Dan Oliphant is a National Football League player.

Oliphant (Chatham HS/Chatham, N.J.) became the first Colby graduate to sign with an NFL team after agreeing to a free agent contract on Tuesday with the Baltimore Ravens. Oliphant, a 2006 Colby graduate, will play in NFL Europa (formerly named the NFL Europe League) starting in April and could be one of the offensive linemen in the Ravens’ training camp when the new season begins.

“I know the Ravens were really happy with the way he came in for his workout (Tuesday),” Colby head coach Ed Mestieri said. “He improved on the things they wanted him to work on from his last workout, mostly dealing with footwork.”

Mestieri has a good source in Eric DeCosta, a 1993 Colby graduate and the Ravens’ Director of College Scouting. Mestieri, though, points out that Oliphant did not get signed because of the Colby connection.

“Dan got the initial look because of our connection to the Ravens, but what got him this far is his potential as an NFL player,” Mestieri said. “The NFL is a business and he’s earned this opportunity based on his ability and how hard he’s worked.”

Oliphant was a two-time first team all-conference selection at offensive line in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). The Mules were 18-6 in Oliphant’s final three years when he started. Oliphant and DeCosta, who played linebacker during his days at Colby, were both Ellsworth Millett Award winners for contributing the most to Colby athletics in their four years.

After graduation, he stayed at Colby and was a volunteer assistant coach for the Mules for the 2006 season. While Oliphant did work with the offensive line, the main idea of being at Colby was to get in shape for an NFL tryout.

“It was a chance for him to be around a football atmosphere and have the time necessary to train for this opportunity,” Mestieri said. “He lost 15 pounds and now he’s faster, quicker and stronger. He devoted the last year of his life to this and I can’t tell you enough how proud we are of him.”

Despite the 15 pounds of weight loss, Oliphant is still 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds. He worked out Tuesday against defensive lineman Kenny King, another free agent signing by the Ravens. King has played in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals and was a four-year starter and an All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection at the University of Alabama.

“We were told Dan more than held his own against King,” Mestieri said. “It helped his confidence in that here he is a guy from Colby going up against a four-starter at Alabama, it showed him he was capable to compete at the next level.”

Oliphant will head to Baltimore for a few weeks of training before leaving for Tampa, Florida, for the NFL Europa training camp on March 9. The league has workout sessions and then has a draft to put players on the six teams in the league. Oliphant will be with his new team in Florida for a week or so and then head to Europe for the 2007 season in April and May. The six-team league features squads from Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Rhein, Cologne, Hamburg and Berlin.

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