Sept. 5, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Some 18 former Purdue football players are on NFL rosters as the 2011 season opens this week. Sixteen different clubs have Boilermaker alums; the New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers are the only teams with more than one.
Newcomers: Two Boilermakers who completed their eligibility last season are active - linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, the Washington Redskins' first-round draft pick, and tight end Kyle Adams, who made the Chicago Bears roster as an undrafted free agent.
New Places: Two former Purdue defensive standouts are with two teams - defensive end Ray Edwards signed with the Atlanta Falcons after spending the first five seasons of his career with the Minnesota Vikings, and safety Bernard Pollard hooked up with the Baltimore Ravens. Pollard previously played with the Kansas City Chiefs (2006-08) and Houston Texans (2009-10).
Den of Defensive Ends: No fewer than six former defensive ends are with NFL clubs: Cliff Avril (Detroit Lions), Edwards, Kerrigan, Rob Ninkovich (New England), Shaun Phillips (San Diego) and Anthony Spencer (Dallas Cowboys). Kerrigan, Ninkovich, Phillips and Spencer now each play linebacker. Meanwhile, two former defensive tackles - Ryan Baker and Mike Neal - now are ends with the Miami Dolphins and Green Bay Packers.
O Line Vets: Tackle Matt Light enters his 11th season with the New England, center Nick Hardwick his ninth season with San Diego, guard-center Uche Nwaneri his fifth season with the Jacksonville Jaguars and tackle Mike Otto his fifth season with the Tennessee Titans.
Former First Rounders: The Boilermakers have had three first-round draft picks in the past five seasons: Spencer with Dallas in 2007, tight end Dustin Keller with the New York Jets in 2008 and Kerrigan with Washington in 2011.