Former Lions ready to help NFL teams in playoffs

Washington running back Evan Royster, right, takes a handoff from quarterback Robert Griffin III during a game against Dallas on Dec. 30, 2012. Royter is a former Nittany Lion. (Associated Press)

Penn State is well-represented in this year’s NFL playoffs, with nine former Nittany Lions helping their teams’ postseason runs.

  • A pair of former Nittany Lions — wide receiver Deon Butler and fullback Michael Robinson — are looking to help the Seattle Seahawks capture their first Super Bowl title. The Seahawks play at Washington on Sunday. Penn State career rushing yardage leader Evan Royster is in his second season with the Redskins.
  • Former “Linebacker U.” standout NaVorro Bowman has had an All-Pro season in helping the San Francisco 49ers win the NFC West and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Bowman was second in the NFL this season with 149 tackles. He also had one interception, one forced fumble and seven pass break-ups.
  • In his first season with Indianapolis, 2008 Rimington Trophy winner A.Q. Shipley worked with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck to help the Colts earn an 11-5 record and an AFC wild-card berth. The Colts play at Baltimore on Sunday.
  • A 2011 consensus first-team All-American, rookie defensive tackle Devon Still helped Cincinnati to an AFC wild-card berth. The Bengals play at Houston on Saturday.
  • Tight end Andrew Quarless is in his third season with the NFC North Champion Green Bay Packers. Quarless is on the Packers’ injured reserve list right now, but during his rookie season he helped the Packers win Super Bowl XLV. Another former Lion, Chaz Powell, is on the Green Bay practice squad. The Packers host Minnesota on Saturday.
  • Also in the NFC, rookie tight end Andrew Szczerba is a member of the Atlanta Falcons’ practice squad. The Falcons are the top seed in the NFC and have a first-round bye.
  • One former Penn State player and a former assistant coach are on the staffs of NFL playoff teams. Former standout defensive back Darren Perry is in his fourth 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 assistant coach Jim Caldwell is his first season as offensive coordinator with Baltimore. As head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, he led the team to Super Bowl XLIV.

Other former Nittany Lions who made marks in the NFL this season:

  • Penn State two-time All-America linebacker Paul Posluszny (Jacksonville) was tied for No. 8 in the NFL with 139 hits. A Butkus and Bednarik Award winner, Posluszny also grabbed three interceptions, forced two fumbles and had 10 pass break-ups this season.
  • Former Penn State linebacker Cameron Wake (Miami) earned his second All-Pro selection after recording 15.0 sacks this season to rank No. 4 in the NFL.
  • Former Nittany Lion consensus All-American Tamba Hali (Kansas City) earned his second Pro Bowl selection.

 

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