While Yale students will be enduring the last moments of exam period, Bobby Abare ’09 has a different and rare challenge ahead of him next weekend — making an NFL team.
The Bulldogs’ leading tackler each of the last three seasons and Yale’s 131st captain, Abare agreed to terms with the Kansas City Chiefs after the NFL Draft’s conclusion Sunday night.
“I still can’t believe that I’m going to get the chance to fulfill my dream of playing in the NFL,” Abare said in an interview on Wednesday. “It’s a dream come true just getting the opportunity to try out, and now I just hope I can take the next step.”
Abare, a three-time All-Ivy and 2008 Football Championship Subdivision first-team All-American linebacker, said four or five teams showed interest in him, but that when it came down to it, the Chiefs were the most diligent. Although he has not directly spoken to the Chiefs’ coaches, he said he believes the team will give him a chance to earn a spot on special teams and at his natural position of linebacker.
Abare will report to minicamp the weekend of May 8 with the hopes of impressing the Chiefs in what will basically be a tryout. If the Chiefs are pleased with what they see, he will then be given a contract and invited to the team’s training camp this summer.
As captain of the 2008 Yale team, Abare tallied 86 tackles, four sacks, four interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. Over four seasons, the Acton, Mass., native recorded 279 tackles as a Bulldog.
Abare will look to join the likes of Calvin Hill ’69 — and more recently Eric Johnson ’01 and Nate Lawrie ’04 — as Bulldogs who went on to play at football’s highest level. Recent graduates who, like Abare, were given opportunities as undrafted free agents include Rashaad Bartholomew ’01 and Jeff Mroz ’05.
“Bobby has made a career of big plays,” former head coach Jack Siedlecki said. “He is always around the ball making things happen. Teams take note of that, even though he might come up a little short in physical measurements. He will now get an opportunity to show his intensity and play-making ability on the big stage.”
The accolades were plentiful for Abare. He was named first-team All-American, was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award given to the top defensive player in FCS, and was given the Ted Blair Award as Yale’s most valuable player. But a week from Friday, he will just another player looking to fulfill his dream of playing in the NFL.
“We’re really proud of him and excited for him,” Abare’s twin brother and former teammate, Larry Abare ’10, said. “It’s a testament to his character.”
No Ivy Leaguer players were drafted last weekend, but two Harvard players have also been invited to NFL minicamps. The New York Jets picked up quarterback Chris Pizzotti and the Oakland Raiders signed defensive end Desmond Bryant.