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    Fenaroli makes Falcons’ 80-man Squad

    Fenaroli stabilized the Seawolves offensive line for four seasons during which time the team had four 1000-plus yard rushers. (Kenneth Ho/The Statesman)

    Former Stony Brook University center Paul Fenaroli agreed to a pro football contract with the NFL franchise Atlanta Falcons over the summer.

    Since signing with the team, Fenaroli has impressed coaches and scouts, and has, to this point, remained on the Falcon’s roster. But the 6-foot-2 300-pound lineman from Monroe, Conn. knows that nothing is guaranteed at the pro level.

    “While I’m here I’m just taking it day by day,” Fenaroli said.  “I’m learning the playbook a little more each day and trying to do my best. While the 53-man roster is the ultimate goal, making a practice squad would be a huge success as well.”

    The Falcons cut down their roster to 80 on Tuesday. Fenaroli was  among those that remained, meaning that he stands a strong chance of making at least the practice squad for the defending NFC South champions. The Falcons cut five players this past weekend and more are still to come.

    Fenaroli’s strong showing at an NFL pro-day in New York helped him grab a contract after going undrafted in April. The offensive lineman bench pressed 225 pounds, a ridiculous 34 times, the most among all players participating. Fenaroli also showed off his agility and athleticism running the 40-yard dash in 5.15 seconds, and recording a 32 inch vertical leap.

    But even with all that, Fenaroli still credits the coaches at Stony Brook University for his success at the pro level.

    “Coach Priore is one of the major reasons why I’m here,” Fenaroli said. “Technique is one of the most important tools to have at this level and between Priore, John Woods, and Mike Iafrate, who all coached the offensive-line while I was at SBU, they deserve all the credit for the player I am today.”

    While at Stony Brook, Fenaroli played in 38 consecutive games and was named to the All-Big South first team twice during that span.

    In his four seasons with the Seawolves, Fenaroli blocked for running backs Conte Cuttino, Eddie Gowins, Brock Jackolski and Miguel Maysonet, helping each of the four enjoy 1,000 yard rushing seasons.

    “I’m thrilled for Paul,” head coach Chuck Priore said in a recent press release. “Paul was one of the toughest kids I’ve ever coached. I see Atlanta’s blocking schemes as a great fit for Paul.”

    No matter how this all turns out, Fenaroli describes this past summer as something out of a dream.

    “The whole thing is surreal,” Fenaroli said. “This has been my goal for a long time and to make it to a training camp is very exciting. Especially with the holdout this year lessening my chances, to make it to the NFL is truly amazing.”

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