Rice football boasts 11 active NFL players and coaches, spread across 10 different teams. Where are they and which players are making noise at the next level?
The NFL Preseason is underway. As the first kickoff of the season approaches teams will be forced to cull their pool of players down to their final 53-man roster. That final cut will be official on Sept. 1, giving a few Owls a chance to earn their spot in the NFL.
Along with a few new faces, Rice football has some veterans in the league as well. Here are the Owls 11 NFL personnel:
1. Chris Boswell, Kicker, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bowell entered the NFL in 2015. After a brief stint with the Houston Texans he made his way up north to join the Steelers where he’s been the primary kicker for three seasons. He owns a career 89.5 field goal percentage with a long of 53 yards.
2. Bryce Callahan, Corner, Chicago Bears
A reserve corner for the Chicago Bears, Callahan is also in his fourth professional season. He’s become more and more active with Chicago each year in the league. In 2017 he played in 12 games, registering two interceptions, a forced fumble and 25 total tackles.
3. Christian Covington, Defensive End, Houston Texans
A Canadian native, Covington stayed close to campus after being drafted in the sixth round by the Houston Texans in 2015. In limited action, he’s picked up four sacks, and 50 total tackles in his three year NFL career.
4. Emmanuel Ellerbee, Linebacker, Atlanta Falcons
Ellerbee signed with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent and is working to earn his way onto the roster in 2018. He led the Owls in tackles last season with 95.
5. Phillip Gaines, Corner, Buffalo Bills
A third round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014, Gaines saw sporadic action (16 starts over four seasons) with the Chiefs before signing with Buffalo this offseason.
6. Larry Izzo, Assistant Special Teams coach, Seattle Seahawks
After playing 13 seasons in the NFL, winning three Super Bowls and earning three Pro Bowl nominations, Izzo retired from the NFL and quickly took a coaching position with the New York Giants. He went from the Giants to the Texans before being hired by the Seahawks this offseason.
7. Vance McDonald, Tight End, Pittsburgh Steelers
McDonald was a second round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2013. McDonald was a productive offensive cog for the 49ers in four NFL Season before moving to the Steelers in 2017. He’s caught 78 passes for 1,054 yards and eight touchdowns in his pro career.
8. Andrew Sendejo, Safety, Minnesota Vikings
After a brief start to his NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys, Sendejo has been with the Minnesota Vikings since 2011. During that span, he’s accounted for 237 tackles and six interceptions. He most recently made news with his reaction to the league’s new helmet contact rule.
Made helmet alterations so I’m always “leading with the facemask”. Simplifying calls for league office and playing within new @NFL rule changes.
— Andrew Sendejo (@Asendejo) August 3, 2018
9. Jordan Taylor, Wide Receiver, Denver Broncos
A nice depth piece behind Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, Taylor has seen modest action in two NFL seasons. He caught 16 passes in 2016 and 13 more in 2017, totaling 251 receiving yards and two career touchdowns.
10. Luke Wilson, Tight End, Detroit Lions
A five year veteran with the Seattle Seahawks, Wilson moved on to a new team this offseason, signing at 1-year $1.5 million deal with the Detriot Lions. He’ll be in the mix with the rest of the Matt Stafford’s pass catchers this season.
11. Brian Womac, Defensive End, Los Angeles Rams
The No. 2 tackler for Rice football in 2017, Womac is fighting for a roster spot with the Rams after going undrafted following his senior season with the Owls in 2017. He finished with a team-best 21 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks.
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