The lacrosse community wasn’t surprised that Belichick took a chance on an athlete who spent more time in college playing lacrosse rather than football. Belichick played lacrosse at Annapolis High, Phillips Academy, and Wesleyan University.
“(Yeatman)… transferred to Maryland in January 2009. After playing two seasons of lacrosse, he joined the Terps’ football program at tight end for the 2010 season.
For the Patriots, one might come from the lacrosse field – which might as well be out of the blue.
But just because Will Yeatman’s path to the Patriots differed from that of most NFL players doesn’t mean it can’t work. Especially in New England, where coach Bill Belichick knows a little something about jumping from lacrosse to football. He did it himself.
If Yeatman survives the final roster cuts in early September, a player with an extremely limited college football background will be competing for arguably the most successful team in the most popular sport in the United States.
“He’s a good athlete,’’ Belichick said. “He’s made a lot of progress, but he’s got a lot of ground to make up just from a football-playing experience standpoint. But he’s working hard to do that.’’
The lacrosse community wasn’t surprised that Belichick took a chance on an athlete who spent more time in college playing lacrosse rather than football. Belichick played lacrosse at Annapolis High, Phillips Academy, and Wesleyan University. At Wesleyan, Belichick also played center and tight end for the football team. Both Belichick’s daughter Amanda (Wesleyan) and son Stephen (Rutgers) played lacrosse in college, too. Amanda is currently an assistant coach for the Ohio State women’s lacrosse program.
Yeatman’s unconventional path to the NFL began at a traditional college football powerhouse. He enrolled at Notre Dame in the fall of 2006, where he played tight end for the football team and attack for the lacrosse team.
After missing the 2008 spring lacrosse season because of an arrest for driving while intoxicated, Yeatman was suspended for the final 10 games of the ’08 football season following an additional arrest for underage drinking.
“You could tell that he still had the itch to play football,’’ former Maryland lacrosse coach Dave Cottle said. “I just thought it was the right thing for him. I told him I thought he had a gift . . . and he would always regret it if he didn’t go out and try to play football.
“Fortunately, he did.’’
At Maryland last fall, Yeatman recorded 13 catches for 134 yards and one touchdown in 11 games. His former lacrosse teammates cheered him on from the stands.