University Park, Pa. — Penn State Nittany Lion football alumni again comprise a large portion of National Football League rosters.
There were 29 former Nittany Lions on NFL opening day 2006 rosters, again placing Penn State among the top 10 schools in the nation in producing current NFL players.
Five members of Penn State\’s 2005 Big Ten Championship team made NFL rosters: defensive end Tamba Hali (Kansas City), safety Calvin Lowry (Tennessee), running back Michael Robinson (San Francisco), defensive back Alan Zemaitis (Tampa Bay) and safety Ethan Kilmer, who did not play high school football and played two seasons at Penn State.
Former Nittany Lions are spread out over 18 teams. The Cincinnati Bengals and New York Giants have the services of a league-high three former Nittany Lions. Kilmer, tight end Tony Stewart and running back Kenny Watson are with the Bengals. All-Pro linebacker LaVar Arrington, tackle Kareem McKenzie and linebacker Brandon Short play for the Giants.
Tight end Kyle Brady (Jacksonville), quarterback Kerry Collins (Tennessee) and defensive end Tyoka Jackson (Detroit) lead the former Lions in NFL experience, in their 13th seasons. All-Pro center Jeff Hartings (Pittsburgh), wide receiver Bobby Engram (Seattle) and All-Pro guard Marco Rivera (Dallas) are in their 12th seasons in the NFL.
Three former Nittany Lions are on practice squads, bringing the number of Penn Staters in the NFL to 32. They are: tight end John Bronson (Arizona), tight end Sean McHugh (Detroit) and rookie guard Tyler Reed (Chicago).
More than 300 Nittany Lions have signed NFL contracts since Joe Paterno became head coach in 1966. The legendary coach has seen 227 of his players drafted by NFL squads.
Thirty Nittany Lions have been NFL first round draft choices since 1966, including Tamba Hali (Kansas City) last spring. A school record four Penn Staters were selected in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft and Penn State led all schools with six picks in the first 57 selections.
Penn State has had at least one alumnus on a Super Bowl team in 36 of 40 title games. Hartings earned a Super Bowl ring with the Steelers last season, while Engram and wide receiver Joe Jurevicius helped the Seattle Seahawks win the NFC Championship.
Former Nittany Lions on 2006 NFL rosters (pro season in parenthesis; as of 9-14-06):
Arizona Cardinals – Bryant Johnson (4), David Macklin (7)
Chicago Bears – John Gilmore (6), Robbie Gould (2),
Cincinnati Bengals – Ethan Kilmer (1), Tony Stewart (6), Kenny Watson (6)
Cleveland Browns – Joe Jurevicius (9)
Dallas Cowboys – Marco Rivera (12)
Denver Broncos – Courtney Brown (7)
Detroit Lions – Eddie Drummond (5), Tyoka Jackson (13),
Jacksonville Jaguars – Kyle Brady (13)
Kansas City Chiefs – Tamba Hali (1), Larry Johnson (4)
New Orleans Saints – Michael Haynes (4), Bryan Scott (4)
New York Giants – LaVar Arrington (7), Kareem McKenzie (6), Brandon Short (7)
Pittsburgh Steelers – Jeff Hartings (12),
St. Louis Rams – Jimmy Kennedy (4)
San Diego Chargers – Bhawoh Jue (6)
San Francisco 49ers – Anthony Adams (4), Michael Robinson (1)
Seattle Seahawks – Bobby Engram (12)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Alan Zemaitis (1)
Tennessee Titans – Kerry Collins (13), Calvin Lowry (1)