Riverhead graduates who made it to the NFL

Ed Danowski, Ted Wegert, Scott Mersereau and Miguel Maysonet have all made it to the National Football League and they’re all from Riverhead.

If Miguel Maysonet makes the Eagles team this season, he’ll be the fourth Riverhead High School graduate to play in the NFL and the first in 20 years.

Scott Mersereau (Class of 1983) was the last former Blue Waves player to reach the NFL, playing seven seasons with the home team New York Jets after being selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the fifth round (136th overall) of the 1987 draft.

Mersereau recorded 19 sacks in his career, which was cut short due to injuries, most notably the one he suffered in the infamous collision with teammate Dennis Byrd.

Mersereau initially made the Jets after serving as a replacement player during the 1987 players’ strike. Despite how he made the Jets, his teammates embraced him.

“He made the most out of his opportunity and he stuck around,” former teammate Marty Lyons, now a Jets broadcaster, told the News-Review last year. “We saw Scott as a guy who could help us win and it didn’t matter how he got there.”

The only Riverhead graduate to win an NFL title is Ed Danowski (Class of 1930), who won championships with the New York Giants in 1934 and 1938.

Danowski led the NFL with 10 touchdown passes in 1935, when teams mostly ran the ball from the single-wing offense. He threw 37 touchdown passes in seven seasons prior to his service in World War II.

Danowski later coached the Fordham Rams football team, his alma mater.

“[When I met him as a kid] he was an awfully big man. He had a physical structure that was enormous,” former Riverhead Town Supervisor Jim Stark told the News-Review for Danowski’s 1997 obituary. “But later, as the generation gap closed and I got to know him, I found that he was a very gentle man, a good family man who never lost sight of his Riverhead roots.”

The second Riverhead graduate to play in the league was Ted Wegert (Class of 1951), who played two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1955 and 1956 before making a one season comeback in 1960, a season that saw him play for the New York Titans, the Buffalo Bills and the Denver Broncos. He scored four career touchdowns.

“I don’t think anybody was in the class of Ted Wegert,” friend Don Walsh told the News-Review last year. “He was the greatest.”

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