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Alumni: Colts Give Bartoszek Free-agent Contract

With a crowd gathered at his family's home in Salamanca Sunday, Chad Bartoszek took a call at roughly 6 p.m. that settled the suspense about his NFL prospects.

Bartoszek, a 21-year-old tight end for the University at Buffalo, was offered a free-agent contract by the Indianapolis Colts. He will leave for mini-camp Thursday.

"We were watching the TV and Chad was getting his calls from his agent," said Bartoszek's mother, Christine. "It was an exciting day."

Much of the time, the 1999 Salamanca Central School graduate was in his room, either on the phone or waiting for calls.

"We were all very nervous, just anxious," Christine Bartoszek said. "As a parent, I was hoping things were going to work out for him and fortunately, it did."

Chad, Christine, her husband John, and other relatives and friends then went to the Holy Cross Club, where they were joined by other friends. Some were already there, Christine Bartoszek said.

"As the word spread, more and more people came," she said. "I just ordered a bunch of pizzas. I left about 11 p.m. and there were still people there."

Channel 7 was in town Sunday night to interview Chad Bartoszek, who could not be reached this morning.

Christine Bartoszek said the Channel 7 draft piece aired starting at 11:30 p.m. with coverage of the Bills' news.

She said the segment on Chad began at midnight and was brief.

Among those who called Sunday to offer congratulations were former Warriors head football coach George Whitcher and current head coach Rich Morton. Bartoszek was a senior during Whitcher's final season with Salamanca, when Morton was an assistant.

Whitcher said he called the Bartoszek house upon returning from vacation.

"He told me he had just gotten off the phone with Indianapolis. I just congratulated him on the opportunity and he brought me up to date on what they told him."

"I saw him the day before we left," Whitcher said. "He was pretty antsy. He'd had contact from several teams, but nothing concrete."

Whitcher mentioned that Bill Polian, Colts general manager, has a son who's involved with the University at Buffalo football team and said the connection will help.

"Because they do know first hand who he is, because they've talked with him extensively, it gives them a chance to take a real hard look at him," Whitcher said.

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