Pictured during his time at Xaverian in 2014, former Hawk and Northwestern defensive end Joe Gaziano (97) signed with the Los Angeles Chargers practice. squad this past week. Photo by Sgt. Bryan G. Lett.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Last time we checked on Joe Gaziano back in May, the former star Xaverian Hawk defensive end signed with the Los Angeles Chargers as an un-drafted free agent. Gaziano graduated from Northwestern in May, where he started three out of his four years at defensive end for the Wildcats. Gaziano finished his collegiate career as Northwestern's all-time leader in sacks (30) to go along with 48.5 tackles-for-loss and multiple All-Big 10 selections.
Throughout training camp, many reporters who cover the Chargers said they would not be surprised if Gaziano made the team, thanks to an impressive showing. Simply getting signed as un-drafted free agent and being invited to a training camp is an accomplishment on its own for any football player. But, to actually compete for a spot on the 53-man roster as a defensive end, with a team that is as talented and deep at the defensive end position like the Chargers are with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, is insanely impressive. Unfortunately, on September 9, the Chargers released Gaziano during final cuts.
This summer, HBO's Hard Knocks was on scene filming the Chargers and Rams training camps. Part of the show documents final cuts and the reactions of the players. Thankfully, Gaziano's cut was not one that was featured on this season's final episode.
The very next day on September 10, the team re-signed Gaziano to its practice squad and announced the news on Twitter.
While not making the initial 53-man roster certainly hurts, Gaziano is still in prime position to play NFL snaps this fall. Depth in the NFL is everything. Joe Gaziano proved throughout training camp that he can be a serviceable defensive end for the Chargers. Now it comes down to waiting his turn and riding it out on the practice squad.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his own personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.