Patriots Sign Kentucky Wide Receiver Matt Roark, Who Has Eight Degrees of Separation From Kevin Bacon


The Patriots have signed undrafted free agent wide receiver Matt Roark on Monday, according to Kentucky's athletic department. Unless you're a Kentucky diehard, you've probably never heard of him before, and there's nothing wrong with that.

But here's the deal with these undrafted free agents: More often than not, they're obscure players, and their chances of making a 53-man roster are slim. Typically, the goal is to land on a practice squad and emerge over the course of time.

The Patriots might scout undrafted talent better than anyone, signing and developing the likes of linebacker Gary Guyton, defensive lineman Kyle Love, linebacker Dane Fletcher and quarterback Brian Hoyer in recent years. Roster staples like wide receiver Wes Welker, running back Danny Woodhead and cornerback Kyle Arrington are among the other undrafted players who initially signed with other teams.

At this point in the process, the ceiling is low for the undrafted guys. So why have you read this far about Roark? Because I wanted to have a little fun with the signing.

When the news came down about Roark, things got a little out of hand on my Twitter feed, which isn't out of the ordinary. I noted Roark played for Tee Martin, who was his quarterbacks coach his in high school and wide receivers coach in college. Martin was also one of the six quarterbacks drafted ahead of Tom Brady in 2000, and he won a national championship at Tennessee immediately after Peyton Manning went pro.

The connections were all over the place. Naturally, they led to Kevin Bacon.

So, Roark played for Martin, who married Toya (apparently, she's a singer), who was named after La Toya Jackson, who is connected to Bacon by this website right here. Google can be a dangerous thing. Anyway, Jackson is connected to Bacon through Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson and William Morris Endeavor Entertainment.

If you want to know more about Roark, the football player, he caught 36 passes for 349 yards and one touchdown last season. He also had some spot duty at quarterback, completing 4 of 7 passes for 15 yards, and he ran 30 times for 161 yards.

But he's got eight degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon.

Have a question for Jeff Howe? Send it to him via Twitter at @jeffphowe or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.


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