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Accused murderer an NFL drifter

6/21/2011

Eric Naposki, briefly a New England Patriots outside linebacker in the late 1980s, has been accused of murdering a wealthy Southern California inventor 17 years ago.

A courtroom report from Monday described Naposki as a "onetime star professional football player."

Not exactly.

Naposki played five NFL games over two seasons with the Patriots and Indianapolis Colts. The outside linebacker from Connecticut wasn't drafted, was cut after his rookie season, waived by the Dallas Cowboys and dumped by the Colts. He also was released by the New York Jets, Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks.

But Naposki did have some newsworthy transactions with the Patriots. His rookie season ended after five games when he suffered two broken ribs and a lacerated kidney in a 31-6 loss to the Houston Oilers.

After the Cowboys signed Naposki as a Plan B free agent, he was claimed by the Colts and then dumped. The Patriots re-signed Naposki, making him the last player added to the 1989 opening-day roster to replace future Hall of Famer Andre Tippett, who was out for the season with a shoulder injury.

To make room on the roster for a need position, the Patriots cut center -- and future ESPN college football analyst -- Trevor Matich.

Napoksi lasted a week before the Patriots cut him again. He signed with the Colts, who cut him about a week later. He joined the Jets in the 1990 offseason but couldn't make the team.

Oh, wait. I just found something ... Naposki intercepted a Mike Elkins pass and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown to help the Barcelona Dragons best the Sacramento Surge in 1991. Turns out, he led the Dragons in tackles and tied for sacks that season.

He became another transaction footnote when he became the first World League player signed by the Redskins. They cut him a month later.