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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; December 30, 2014 - Ten former Nittany Lions playing in the National Football League are on playoff teams, with at least one Penn Stater on eight of the squads vying for the Super Bowl XLIX title.
There are 28 former Nittany Lions with NFL teams, again placing Penn State in the top 20 nationally among schools in producing current NFL players. Penn State ranked No. 2 among Big Ten teams in players on 2014 NFL rosters.
A trio of Penn State's NFL rookies are on NFL playoff teams: linebacker Glenn Carson (Arizona), tackle Garry Gilliam (Seattle) and guard/center John Urschel (Baltimore). The Cardinals visit the Carolina Panthers on Saturday.
A pair of former Nittany Lions - Gilliam and defensive tackle Jordan Hill -- are looking to help the Seattle Seahawks, the NFC's No. 1 seed, capture a second consecutive Super Bowl title. Last year, Hill and now retired fullback Michael Robinson helped Seattle win its first NFL Championship. The Seahawks have a first round bye and will open playoff action on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015.
Tight end Andrew Quarless is in his fifth 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 are the No. 2 seed in the NFC and will host their first playoff game on Sunday, Jan. 11.
Also in the NFC, defensive end Jack Crawford and linebacker Sean Lee are members of the NFC East Champion Dallas Cowboys. Both players are on injured reserve. The Cowboys are the No. 3 seed in the NFC and host the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Jan. 4.
Center A.Q. Shipley, the 2008 Rimington Trophy winner, is a member of the AFC South champion Indianapolis Colts. The Colts host Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Former Penn State All-America defensive tackle Devon Still is in his third season with the Bengals.
Also in the AFC, Urschel, the 2013 Campbell Trophy recipient and a two-time first-team All-Big guard, and the Baltimore Ravens will visit the AFC North Champion Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday. Former Nittany Lion wide receiver Jordan Norwood is a member of the Denver Broncos, the AFC's No. 2 seed, but is on injured reserve.
Former Penn State All-American Tamba Hali (Kansas City) and Cameron Wake (Miami) were selected to the 2015 Pro Bowl.
In addition to the 10 players, five former Nittany Lions are members of NFL coaching staffs participating the playoffs: Gary Brown (Dallas, running backs); Bobby Engram (Baltimore, wide receivers); Sam Gash (Green Bay, running backs); Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Munchak (Pittsburgh, offensive line) and Darren Perry (Green Bay, safeties).
Also, former Penn State quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell is in his first season as head coach of the Detroit Lions, who are the NFC's No. 6 seed.
A total of 335 Nittany Lions have been selected all-time in the NFL Draft, including 36 in the first round. Thirty-six Penn State football student-athletes have been drafted since 2006, including 16 in the first three rounds.
Super Bowl XLVIII marked the 43rd time in the NFL Championship contest's 48-game history that at least one Penn State alumnus was a member of one of the participating teams. Former Nittany Lion standouts Jordan Hill and Michael Robinson helped Seattle defeat Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII. In all, 37 former Nittany Lions have earned a total of 54 Super Bowl rings.
Former Nittany Lions on 2014-15 NFL playoff teams:
(Pro season in parentheses):
Arizona Cardinals - Glenn Carson (1)
Baltimore Ravens - John Urschel (1)
Cincinnati Bengals - Devon Still (3)
Denver Broncos - Jordan Norwood (6-I.R.)
Green Bay Packers - Andrew Quarless (5)
Indianapolis Colts - A.Q. Shipley (5)
Coach James Franklin's Nittany Lions capped the season with a 31-30 overtime win over Boston College in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Penn State returns 17 starters (8 offense, 8 defense, 1 specialist) for the 2015 season. The Blue-White Game is Saturday, April 18 in Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions open the 2015 season on Saturday, Sept. 5 vs. Temple at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Penn State season ticket renewals are underway for the 2015 campaign. There will not be any increase in the price of Penn State football season tickets or Nittany Lion Club donation levels for next season. For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing new 2015 season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.PSUnrivaled.com, call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office weekdays, 10 a.m-6 p.m.
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