Thirty-six Former Nittany Lions in NFL Training Camps
Aug. 9, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; - A total of 36 Penn State football alumni are populating the rosters of 23 NFL teams in training camps, placing the Nittany Lions in the top 15 nationally among schools in producing current NFL players.
The Miami Dolphins feature an league-high four former Nittany Lions on its roster, including All-Pro Cameron Wake, second-year players Jared Odrick and Mickey Shuler, and rookie Brett Brackett. Two NFL teams, the Oakland Raiders and the Seattle Seahawks, have three Penn Staters on their rosters.
Several former Nittany Lions who played in the NFL in 2010 are free agents and also could land in training camps.
Seven seniors from Penn State's 2010 squad are vying to make NFL squads as rookies, including draft choices Stefen Wisniewski (Oakland Raiders) and Evan Royster (Washington Redskins) and free agent signees Brackett, Chris Colasanti (Indianapolis Colts), Lou Eliades (Oakland Raiders), Bani Gbadyu (Oakland Raiders) and Ollie Ogbu (Indianapolis Colts).
With quarterback Kerry Collins' July retirement following a distinguished 16-year professional career, the mantle of seniority among Nittany Lions in the NFL has been passed to New York Giants' offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie and Pittsburgh Steelers' tight end John Gilmore, who are each entering their 11th season. McKenzie has blocked for five NFL running backs that rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season and won a Super Bowl ring in 2005. Gilmore signed with the Steelers on August 4 after stints with Chicago and, most recently, Tampa Bay.
More than 360 Nittany Lions have signed NFL contracts under Paterno's tutelage. The Hall of Fame coach has seen 247 of his players drafted by NFL squads, including 33 first round draft choices. Miami selected All-America defensive tackle Jared Odrick in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Four Nittany Lions have been first round draft choices in the past six NFL drafts.
A total of 26 Penn State Football student-athletes have been drafted since 2006, including 13 in the first three rounds.
Penn State has had at least one alumnus on a Super Bowl team in 40 of 45 title games, including 2011 when Andrew Quarless won an NFL title in his rookie season with the Green Bay Packers. Thirty-three former Nittany Lions have earned a total of 49 Super Bowl rings.
Former Nittany Lions in 2011 NFL training camps (pro season in parentheses):
Arizona Cardinals - Levi Brown (5)