Nine former Nittany Lions on NFL playoff teams

January 07, 2011

University Park, Pa. — Nine former Nittany Lions playing in the National Football League are on playoff teams, with at least one Penn Stater on seven of the squads vying for the Super Bowl XLV title.

There are 31 former Nittany Lions on NFL rosters, placing Penn State in the top 12 nationally among schools in producing current NFL players.

A total of seven former Nittany Lions are on the active rosters of NFL playoff teams. Former Penn State wide receiver Deon Butler is on the Seattle Seahawks' injured reserve list and center A.Q. Shipley is on the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad.

Former Nittany Lion All-American Tamba Hali has been instrumental in helping the Kansas City Chiefs win the AFC West title. Hali ranks second in the NFL with 14.5 sacks this season and is followed by Penn Stater Cameron (Derek) Wake, who recorded 14.0 sacks this year for Miami. Dallas' DeMarcus Ware led the NFL with 15.5 sacks.

A pair of former Nittany Lions - Anthony Adams and Robbie Gould -- are looking to help the Chicago Bears return to the Super Bowl for the first time in five years and capture their first title in 25 years. Gould has scored 110 points, tied for 12th in the NFL, connecting on 25 field goals and 35 PAT attempts.

In his first season with the Seattle Seahawks, former Nittany Lion standout Michael Robinson helped Seattle win the NFC West. The 2005 Big Ten Silver Trophy recipient, Robinson will be participating in the NFL playoffs for the first time in his five-year NFL career.

Former Penn State All-America guard Rich Ohrnberger has helped the New England Patriots secure the AFC's top seed as the Patriots seek a fourth Super Bowl crown. Rookie tight end Andrew Quarless helped the Green Bay Packers secure an NFC wild card berth on Sunday with a win over the Bears. Quarless has 21 catches for 238 yards and one touchdown this season.

Former Nittany Lion All-America punter Jeremy Kapinos was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers last month and has averaged 41.1 yards on his 14 punts, with a long of 59 yards. Kapinos will look to help the Steelers win their seventh Super Bowl.

In addition to the nine players, three former Nittany Lion football student-athletes and one former assistant coach are on the coaching staffs of NFL playoff teams. Jeff Nixon (special teams quality control) and Michael Zordich (defensive quality control) are members of the Eagles' coaching staff and Darren Perry coaches the Packers' safeties.

Former Penn State assistant coach Jim Caldwell (1986-92) is his second season as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, guiding his team to the 2010 AFC South title after leading the franchise to Super Bowl XLIV in his first year.

In addition to Hali and Wake ranking No. 2-3 in the NFL in sacks this season, former Penn State All-America linebacker Paul Posluszny ranked No. 3 in the NFL with 151 tackles, despite missing two games with an injury. Posluszny just finished his fourth season with the Buffalo Bills.

More than 360 Nittany Lions have signed NFL contracts since Joe Paterno became head coach in 1966. The Hall of Fame mentor has seen 245 of his players drafted by NFL squads.

Thirty-three Nittany Lions have been NFL first round draft choices under Paterno, including All-America defensive tackle Jared Odrick (Miami) last year. In the 2010 NFL Draft, six Penn State football student-athletes were selected, tied with Iowa for highest among Big Ten Conference schools. Penn State was tied for fifth nationally for the highest number of 2010 draft picks.

Penn State has had at least one alumnus on a Super Bowl team in 39 of 44 title games. Thirty-two former Nittany Lions have earned a total of 48 Super Bowl rings, most recently Sean McHugh and Scott Paxson with the Super Bowl XLIII Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

Former Nittany Lions on rosters of 2010-11 NFL playoff teams (NFL season):

Chicago Bears - Anthony Adams (8), Robbie Gould (6)
Green Bay Packers - Andrew Quarless (1)
Kansas City Chiefs - Tamba Hali (5)
New England Patriots - Rich Ohrnberger (2)
Philadelphia Eagles - A.Q. Shipley* (2)
Pittsburgh Steelers - Jeremy Kapinos (2)
Seattle Seahawks - Deon Butler^ (2), Michael Robinson (5)


* practice squad
^ currently on injured reserve

  • Tamba Hali

    IMAGE: Kansas City Chiefs

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 20, 2011