April 28, 2003
PULLMAN, Wash. --- Quarterback Jason Gesser headlined a list of four Washington State players to join NFL clubs as free agents Monday.
Gesser, WSU's all-time leading passer and the 2002 Pac-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year, joined wide receiver Jerome Riley and offensive guard Derrick Roche with the Tennessee Titans, while Mike Bush signed with the San Francisco 49ers.
Gesser, who compiled over 9,000 yards total offense and was the starting signal caller in 27 Washington State victories during his career, is looking forward to joining his new team.
"It is a good situation. Obviously, I would have liked to be drafted. Everybody would like to be drafted, but the economics of it are about the same once you get down to the sixth or seventh round," Gesser said. "Being a free agent was the best situation. Being able to choose where I wanted to go was like coming out of high school again."
The Honolulu, Hawaii, native will be joined in Nashville by one of his favorite targets in Riley. The 6-2, 185-pound Riley hauled in a team-leading 57 passes for 939 yards and seven touchdowns in 2002.
"Right after the draft, I called Jerome and he was like, 'I'm going there too.' It will be fun. Jerome was all stoked," Gesser said. "It will be nice because I can work out with Jerome, throwing routes and stuff like that. Rien Long is there, too. Hopefully all three of us will make it."
Gesser was not aware that a fourth Cougar, Roche, had also been picked up by the Titans. Roche was a two-time first team All-Pac-10 pick on the offensive line.
Bush, a former basketball player at WSU, signed with San Francisco after two productive seasons with the Cougars. The 6-6, 210-pound receiver brought in 94 passes for 1,658 yards and 16 touchdowns for his career. Bush caught at least one pass in every game he played in.