East Greenwich native Nolan Cooney has signed as a “future” with the Arizona Cardinals pro football team as a punter. This comes after a tryout with the Patriots in November and a year as a free agent signee with the New Orleans Saints. Cooney graduated EGHS in 2015 and punted for Syracuse University.
This is the first time an East Greenwich student has gone pro since Tom Wort, who attended EGHS in 2005-06, then finished his high school career in Texas and went on to play for the Tennessee Titans. Wort was named to the EGHS Wall of Honor in 2019. EG grads Pete Huntington (Class of 1994) and Mark Russo (Class of 1980) played football at D1 schools, but you have to cast back pretty far to find pro players prior to Wort. Those would be Tar Tar Ucci, who played for the Providence Steamrollers in 1928, the year they won the NFL championship, and Howard and Rudy Asp, who played for the Giants around that same time, according to football enthusiast Bruce Mastracchio.
Ironically, Cooney did not play football as an Avenger, though he was a three-sport athlete: soccer, basketball and baseball. He found punting after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and he went to a kicking and punting camp at the suggestion of his father. As a soccer goalie, he found he had an affinity for punting – and that’s how he ended up a punter at Syracuse.
Best of luck, Nolan. Your hometown will be rooting for you!