MISSOULA — A pair of former Montana Grizzly football players recently landed with new teams in the National Football League.
Former UM offensive lineman Dylan Cook was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, while former Griz cornerback Justin Ford partook in the Minnesota Vikings' rookie minicamp over the weekend.
The Steelers announced Cook's signing on Thursday with Cook posting a photo of his locker on Instagram in Pittsburgh as well.
We have signed OT Dylan Cook. @BordasLaw 📝: https://t.co/PeXIAUFLX9 pic.twitter.com/ka1rKONCKF
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 18, 2023
Cook — a Butte native who also grew up in Deer Lodge and Anaconda — spent the 2022 season on the practice squad for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after being signed as an undrafted free agent last year out of Montana. The well-traveled Cook was a standout quarterback in high school at Butte, before going on to play QB at MSU-Northern in Havre for two seasons to begin his college career.
But Cook eventually left Northern and walked on at Montana as an offensive tackle where he grew into a starter for two seasons and was a team captain in 2021. Through that long, winding road, he found himself in the NFL all of last season, and will now get another shot with Pittsburgh.
Ford — UM's two-time All-American corner — went undrafted in April but was picked up by the Baltimore Ravens for a rookie minicamp. He was then recently picked up by Minnesota and was featured heavily in its photos and social media posts over the weekend during camp.
The Concord, North Carolina, native joined UM in 2020 from Louisville, and went on to become a stalwart on the Griz defense and fan favorite for his high-energy, big hits and key plays in two seasons for the Grizzlies.
Also of note of former Grizzlies in the NFL, former UM All-American receiver Samori Toure has been turning heads as he gets set for his second season with the Green Bay Packers. Former Montana Television Network sports reporter John Miller — who currently works for E.W. Scripps affiliate NBC 26 News in Green Bay — tweeted out that Packers wide receivers coach Jason Vrable said Toure has made strong improvements this offseason.
Toure, who was a seventh round pick by the Packers in the 2022 NFL Draft, caught five passes for 82 yards and one touchdown in his rookie campaign in Green Bay. Toure, a Portland, Oregon, native, spent five seasons with Montana where he became an All-American receiver before spending his final college season as a graduate transfer at Nebraska.
Along with those three, former Grizzlies Patrick O'Connell (Seattle Seahawks) and Malik Flowers (New Orleans Saints) round out the former UM football players currently signed or working out with NFL teams.