31 Former Huskers Begin Season on NFL Rosters

By NU Athletic Communications
Former Husker Cory Schlesinger begins his 12th NFL season on Sunday as a member of the Detroit Lions.
Former Husker Cory Schlesinger begins his 12th NFL season on Sunday as a member of the Detroit Lions.
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Lincoln This week’s start to the National Football League season will feature 31 former Nebraska players appearing on the rosters of 20 different teams, while two former Huskers also are in the league as NFL coaches. The 31 players leads the Big 12 Conference, one more than Texas and two more than Oklahoma.


Nearly 300 former players have represented Nebraska in the NFL. Over the past 10 years, NU leads all Big 12 schools with 52 players chosen in the NFL Draft. No other conference school has had 40 players chosen over the past 10 years.


Headlining this season’s group in his 14th year with the Kansas City Chiefs is 10-time Pro Bowler Will Shields. Shields is the senior member among all former Huskers, while former NU fullback Cory Schlesinger, the 22nd Husker all-time with 10-plus years of NFL experience, enters his 12th season with the Detroit Lions.


The Lions are one of two squads that will feature three former NU standouts this season. Joining Schlesinger in Detroit will be former Rimington Award winner Dominic Raiola, who enters the year as the Lions’ starting center, and free safety Daniel Bullocks, who was a second-round selection during the 2006 NFL Draft.


Bullocks joins his twin brother, Josh, in the NFL this season. Josh Bullocks, the starting free safety for New Orleans, is one of three former Huskers on the Saints’ roster, which includes cornerback DeJuan Groce and linebacker Scott Shanle. Both Groce and Shanle joined the Saints during preseason camp, arriving from St. Louis and Dallas, respectively.


Four members of Nebraska’s 2005 Alamo Bowl champion squad made their way onto NFL rosters this fall. In addition to Daniel Bullocks, former teammates Sam Koch and Cory Ross will play for Baltimore this season, and Le Kevin Smith made New England’s roster. Koch is listed as the Ravens’ No. 1 punter entering the season, while Ross is slated at No. 2 for both punt and kick-off returns. Smith currently is running third string at defensive tackle for the Patriots. Former Husker center Russ Hochstein joins Smith for his fourth season in New England.


Other NFL teams with multiple Huskers this season include the Carolina Panthers with free safety Mike Minter and defensive end Mike Rucker; the Houston Texans with place-kicker Kris Brown and offensive tackle Zach Wiegert; the Oakland Raiders with center Adam Treu and cornerback Fabian Washington; the San Diego Chargers with defensive tackle Ryon Bingham and linebacker Carlos Polk; and the Seattle Seahawks with place-kicker Josh Brown and defensive end Grant Wistrom.


Also included among NFL rosters entering the season are linebacker Demorrio Williams with Atlanta; defensive end Chris Kelsay with Buffalo; strong safety Mike Brown with Chicago; punter Kyle Larson with Cincinnati; cornerback Ralph Brown with Cleveland; running back Ahman Green with Green Bay; running back Correll Buckhalter with Philadephia; defensive end Trevor Johnson with the New York Jets; linebacker Barrett Ruud with Tampa Bay; and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch with Tennessee.


Forty-one former Huskers appeared on NFL rosters as of Aug. 26, but 10 cuts were made in the final week as teams attempted to trim their rosters to the league-mandated 53-player limit by Sept. 2. Among those for NU standouts cut included: Titus Adams (New York Jets); Mike Erickson (Tennessee); Toniu Fonoti (Tampa Bay); Jay Foreman (New Orleans); Aaron Golliday (Kansas City); T.J. Hollowell (Denver); Jamal Lord (Indianapolis); Jerrell Pippens (San Diego); Benard Thomas (Baltimore); and Eric Warfield (New England). Adams was signed to the Jets' practice squad on Thursday.


In addition to NU’s contingent on active rosters, two individuals with Nebraska ties are coaching in the NFL this season. Former Husker player and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin begins his 24th year in the NFL with Tampa Bay as the Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator. Kiffin, the longest tenured defensive coordinator in the NFL, is in his 11th season with Tampa Bay. Along with Kiffin, former Husker wide receivers coach Gene Huey enters his 15th year as running backs coach with Indianapolis. Huey’s 224 games of service are the most for a position coach in Colts’ franchise history.


For more on each former Husker's respective NFL career, visit here and click on a player's name.


Former Huskers on 2006 NFL Rosters (31)


Demorrio Williams (LB, 3rd season)



Sam Koch (P, Rookie)

Cory Ross (KR/PR, Rookie)



Chris Kelsay (DE, 4th season)



Mike Minter (FS, 10th season)

Mike Rucker (DE, 8th season)



Mike Brown (SS, 7th season)



Kyle Larson (P, 3rd season)



Ralph Brown (CB, 7th season)



Daniel Bullocks (FS, Rookie)

Dominic Raiola (C, 6th season)

Cory Schlesinger (FB, 12th season)


Green Bay

Ahman Green (RB, 9th season)



Kris Brown (PK, 8th season)

Zach Wiegert (OT, 12th season)


Kansas City

Will Shields (OG, 14th season)


New England

Russ Hochstein (C/G, 6th season)

Le Kevin Smith (DT, Rookie)


New Orleans

Josh Bullocks (FS, 2nd season)

DeJuan Groce (CB, 4th season)

Scott Shanle (LB, 4th season)



Adam Treu (C, 10th season)

Fabian Washington (CB, 2nd season)



Correll Buckhalter (RB, 6th season)


New York Jets

Trevor Johnson (DE, 3rd season)


San Diego

Ryon Bingham (DT, 3rd season)

Carlos Polk (LB, 6th season)



Josh Brown (PK, 4th season)

Grant Wistrom (DE, 9th season)


Tampa Bay

Barrett Ruud (LB, 2nd season)


Kyle Vanden Bosch (DE, 6th season)


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