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Dec. 29, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; December 30, 2013 - Ten 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 XLVIII title.
There are 25 former Nittany Lions with NFL teams, placing Penn State in the top 15 nationally among schools in producing current NFL players.
A pair of former Nittany Lions - defensive tackle Jordan Hill and fullback Michael Robinson -- are looking to help the Seattle Seahawks, the NFC's No. 1 seed, capture their first Super Bowl title. The Seahawks have a first round bye and will open playoff action on Saturday, Jan. 11.
Former "LinebackerU" standout Navorro Bowman has earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl selection season in helping the San Francisco 49ers to a wild card playoff berth. Bowman ranked fifth in the NFL this season with 145 tackles and was second in the league with 120 solo stops.
Tight end Andrew Quarless is in his fourth season with the NFC North Champion Green Bay Packers. Quarless has made 32 catches for 312 yards with two touchdowns this year. During his rookie season, he helped the Packers win Super Bowl XLV. The Packers host the 49ers on Sunday.
Also in the NFC, veteran linebacker Dan Connor and rookie fullback Michael Zordich are members of the NFC South Champion Carolina Panthers. Zordich has been on injured reserve all season. The Panthers are the No. 2 seed in the NFC and have a first round bye and will open the playoffs on Sunday, Jan. 12.
The San Diego Chargers earned an AFC wild card berth on Sunday and feature former Nittany Lion offensive linemen Rich Ohrnberger and Johnnie Troutman. Ohrnberger is in his first season with the Chargers and his fifth NFL season. Troutman is in his rookie season after being on injured reserve in 2012.
The Chargers will visit the AFC North Champion Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Former Penn State All-America defensive tackle Devon Still is in his second season with the Bengals.
Former Penn State All-American Tamba Hali was instrumental in helping the Kansas City Chiefs to an 11-5 record after a 2-14 mark in 2012. Hali, who has been selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls has recorded 11.0 sacks this season. The Chiefs visit the Indianapolis Colts Saturday.
In addition to the 10 players, one former Penn State standout defensive back Darren Perry is in his fifth season coaching the Green Bay safeties and has earned Super Bowl rings as a coach with the Packers (XLV) and Pittsburgh Steelers (XL).
Former Penn State two-time All-America linebacker Paul Posluszny (Jacksonville) was second in the NFL with 161 hits, leading the league with 121 solo hits, giving "LinebackerU. two of the NFL's top five tacklers. A Butkus and Bednarik Award winner, Posluszny also grabbed two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, had three sacks, forced and recovered one fumble and had 11 pass break-ups this season.
In addition to Bowman and Hali, former Penn State linebacker Cameron Wake (Miami) earned his third All-Pro selection in the past four years.
A total of 332 Nittany Lions have been selected all-time in the NFL Draft, including 36 in the first round. Thirty-three Penn State football student-athletes have been drafted since 2006, including 15 in the first three rounds.
Penn State has had at least one alumnus on a Super Bowl team in 42 of 47 title games, including last season when Bowman helped the San Francisco 49ers reach Super Bowl XLVII. Thirty-five former Nittany Lions have earned a total of 51 Super Bowl rings.
Former Nittany Lions on 2013-14 NFL playoff teams:
(Pro season in parentheses):
Carolina Panthers - Dan Connor (6), Michael Zordich (1-I.R.)
Cincinnati Bengals - Devon Still (2)
Green Bay Packers - Andrew Quarless (4)
Kansas City Chiefs - Tamba Hali (8)
San Francisco 49ers - Navorro Bowman (4)
Seattle Seahawks - Jordan Hill (1), Michael Robinson (8)
Coach Bill O'Brien's Nittany Lions return 16 starters for the 2014 season (8 offense, 7 defense, 1 specialist), which begins August 30 vs. No. 15 UCF in the Croke Park Classic in Dublin, Ireland. Public tickets for Penn State's first international game are available at www.ticketmaster.ie/psufootball and by entering the passcode, PSUDUBLIN14. The public ticket offering will end December 31.
Penn State season ticket renewals are underway for the 2014 campaign. For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing 2014 season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium and the Croke Park Classic, fans can visit www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets or call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.