Photo: Corey Fader / 34th Street Magazine
A tough break for one of the all-time Ivy League greats.
Only days after the Atlanta Falcons signed Penn quarterback Alek Torgersen as an undrafted free agent, the NFL team has announced that they will be waiving the talented senior. A spokesperson for the team sent us a press release:
"We were prepared to welcome Mr. Torgersen into the program with open arms, and were excited for the future. Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication somewhere and we recently found out that Mr. Torgersen attends the University of Pennsylvania, a school entirely unaffiliated with Pennsylvania State University, commonly known as Penn State. It appears that the University of Pennsylvania is sometimes referred to as Penn, which led us to erroneously believe that Mr. Torgersen played for the well-known Nittany Lions.
We are confident that this was not Mr. Torgersen's fault, simply an unfortunate misunderstanding. We wish him the best of luck in the coming months and years, but we have chosen to put him on the waiver wire. In the future, the Falcons would request that the University of Pennsylvania be referred to exclusively as UPenn to avoid such issues. Thank you."
This is not the first time that Penn has been mistaken for its more football-oriented neighbor, but it is one of the more flagrant examples in recent memory. Torgersen's teammates spoke to us on condition of anonymity, for fear of breaching Penn Athletics media rules.
"It's bizarre because there's definitely someone involved in the drafting process who knows the difference between Penn and Penn State," one player told us. "Do the Falcons have Cornell graduates running their program? They should be ashamed of themselves for a mistake like this."
Another teammate was just confused. "Wait a minute, this isn't Penn State? Where am I? Who am I playing football for? We're as good as Penn State, right?"
We didn't have the heart to break it to him.
Although Torgersen still has a shot at the NFL, he should keep in mind that a Penn degree may provide opportunities in fields other than football.