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GaryAbbott

HELP - NFL players who were the best wrestlers

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Greetings - like the other posting, USA Wrestling is doing some research on the connection between wrestling and pro football. In this study, we are trying to determine the NFL players who had the best wrestling careers. We know that the collective knowledge of the wrestling community can help, so if you see anything to add or correct, please post it. Many thanks - Gary Abbott

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World medalists

Stephen Neal, New England Patriots, World champion –USA, 2x NCAA champion Bakersfield

 

Olympians

Bob Pickens, Chicago Bears, Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler-USA

 

NCAA champions

Carlton Haselrig, Pittsburgh Steelers, 3x NCAA Div. I wrestling champion, 3x Div. II champion, Pitt-Johnstown

Jess Lewis, Houston Oilers, 2x NCAA champion Oregon State (1st, 1st, 2nd)

Jim Nance, New England Patriots – 2x NCAA champion – Syracuse

Curley Culp, Kansas City Chiefs, NCAA champion – Arizona State

Art Baker, Buffalo Bills, NCAA champion - Syracuse

 

NCAA All-Americans

Bob Golic, Cleveland Browns –2x NCAA All-American Notre Dame (3rd, 4th)

Charlie Getty, Kansas City Chiefs – 2x NCAA All-American Penn State (3rd, 5th)

Steve Sefter, Philadelphia Eagles, 2x NCAA All-American Penn State (4th, 6th)

Dave Joyner, Green Bay Packers (?), NCAA All-American Penn State (2nd), played in WFL

Henry Jordan, Green Bay Packers, NCAA All-American Virginia (2nd)

John Ward, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Bucs, NCAA All-American Oklahoma State (3rd)

Antonio Garay, San Diego Chargers NCAA All-American Boston College (4th)

Ron Essink, Seattle Seahawks, NCAA Div. I All-American (7th), Div. II champion (1st), Grand Valley State

Lorenzo Neal, Tennessee Titans - NCAA All-American Fresno State (7th)

 

NCAA competitors

Walter Barnes, Washington Redskins - SEC Champ for Louisiana State D-I

Leo Nomellini, San Francisco 49’ers – Big 10 Champ for Minnesota

Mike Reid, Cincinnati Bengals, EIWA champion for Penn State

Mike Golic, Philadelphia Eagles, wrestled for Notre Dame D-I

Luke Fickell, New Orleans Saints, wrestled for Ohio State, 2x USA Wrestling Junior Nationals champion

 

High School State Champions

Kelly Gregg, NT, Baltimore Ravens, 3x Oklahoma State Champ, USA Wrestling Cadet Nationals champion

Carl Edwards, San Diego Chargers – 3x MD State Champ

 

Darrien Gordon, San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos, - 2x OK State champ

Phil Bryant, Philadelphia Eagles – 2x National Prep Champ

Arthur Jones, Baltimore Ravens (high school wrestler) – 2x NY state champ

Frank Garcia, C, St. Louis Rams – 2x AZ State Champ

William George, Chicago Bears – 2x PA State Champ

Irv Pankey, Los Angeles Rams – 2x MD State Champ

Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons - 2x SC State Champ

Cory Schlesinger, LB, Detroit Lions – 2x NE State Champ

 

Jonathan Condo, LS, Dallas Cowboys - PA State Champ, Dapper Dan Champ

Damien Covington, Buffalo Bills, 1x NJ state champion, ASICS Honorable Mention

Dave Szott, Kansas City Chiefs – NJ State Champ, 4th in Junior Nationals

Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens, FL high school champion

Tim Burrough - OK State Champ

Brad Benson, New York Giants – PA State Champ

Antoineo Harris - IL State Champ

Patrick "Bucky" Babcock - IL State Champ

Andrew Tidwell-Neal - MN State Champ

Scott Wells - TN State Champ

Tim Green, DE, Atlanta Falcons, New York State champion

Ron Heller, TE, Seattle Seahawks, New York state champion

Tyler Clutts, FB, Houston Texans, CA State Champion in 2003

George Achica, Indianapolis Colts,– CA State Champion in `78 & 3rd State in `79

Jeff Bostic, C, Washington Redskins – SC State Champ

Doug France, LT, Los Angeles Rams – OH State Runner-Up

Warren Sapp, DT Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Oakland Raiders - FL State Champ

Mark Schlereth, OL, Washington Redskins - Alaska State Champ

Tony Siragusa, DT, Baltimore Ravens – NJ State Champ

Fred Smerlas, Buffalo Bills - MA State Champ

Bill Szott, OL, Washington Redskins – NJ State Champ

Woody Thompson, RB, Atlanta Falcons – PA State Champ

Mike Trgovac, DC, Carolina Panthers – OH State Champ

Matt Roth - IA State Champ

Tim Anderson - OH State Champ

Fred Weary, C, Houston Texans - AL State Champ

Coy Wire, SS, Buffalo Bills - PA State Champ

Kevin Breedlove - SC State Finalist

Kevin Sampson - NJ State Champ

Benjamin Claxton - GA State Finalist

Marques Harris - CO State Champ

Adam Seward, ILB, Carolina Panthers - NV State Champ

Brad St. Louis, TE, Cincinnati Bengals, MO State Champ

Lincoln "Drew" Hodgdon, C, Houston Texans - CA State Champ

Nick Leckey - TX State Champ

Leo Wisniewski, NT, Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts - PA State Champ

Eric Rhett, RB, Cleveland Browns – FL State Champ

Mike Pyle, C, Chicago Bears – IA State Champ

Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh Steelers – PA State Champ

Nick Lecky, C, - KS State Champ (in 2004 NFL Draft)

Tim Krumrie, DL, Cincinnati Bengals – WI State Champ

Steve Wisniewski, G, Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders - CA State Champ

Chad Hennings, DT, Dallas Cowboys – IA State Champ

Kirk Lowdermilk, OL, Minnesota Vikings – OH State champ

Kyle DeVan, OL, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans – CA State Champion in 2003 & 3rd in 2002

 

State Placewinners

Jay Hilgenberg, C, Chicago Bears – IA State Runner-Up

Ralph Cindrich, Houston Oilers – PA State Runner-Up

James Campen, C, Green Bay Packers - CA 2nd State in `81 & 6th State in `82

Tom Cousineau, LB, Cleveland Browns – 3rd State

Matt Suhey, RB, Chicago Bears – 3rd PA States

Coy Wire, LB, Buffalo Bills – PA State Runner-Up

Leon Robinson - GA State Runner-Up

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Current Steelers starting running back Isaac Redman was a NJ state champion for Paulsboro in 2003.

 

Alex Silvestro, also from Paulsboro, (talk about a crew of bad ass big men through the years) is currently playing for the Baltimore Ravens. Alex was a 189 pound state champ in 2007.

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I've looked over this list twice and did not see this name.... If it is already on here, I apologize.

 

Troy Davis of Southridge High School in Miami, Florida. Played football for the Iowa State Cyclones in college where he ran for over 2,000 yards in two seasons and set other numerous records for the school and a few for the NCAA. I don't know for sure what his placements were, but I know he did not win a state title. I believe he placed 4th and 3rd, but don't quote me on that. He played for the New Orleans Saints.

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Reilly Reiff, Detroit Lions OL, 3X state champ in Iowa I believe.

 

Ken Dallifior, Detroit Lions OL (I think he also played for Pittsburgh) was a Michigan state champ in the late 70s. He is now a successful business man as an Exec VP of Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

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Chuck Noll did not wrestle in PA nor did he win a state championship in PA, he went to high school in Ohio (Benedictine HS). In fact, I'm almost positive he never wrestled at all but that is from second hand info, one of his long time assistant coaches, Dick Hoak.

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Current Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman JR Sweezy was a North Carolina heavyweight state champ. He had never played a down on the offensive line in high school or college (NC State) but the Seahawks coaching staff was quoted as saying they felt he could make the transition from D-line to O-line because he was a wrestler.

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Current Steelers starting running back Isaac Redman was a NJ state champion for Paulsboro in 2003.

 

Alex Silvestro, also from Paulsboro, (talk about a crew of bad ass big men through the years) is currently playing for the Baltimore Ravens. Alex was a 189 pound state champ in 2007.

 

Agree. Gerald Hodges finished 3rd in NJ one year and of course, was a standout LB for Penn State the past few years and was drafted by the Vikings.

 

Which also reminds me, Dennis Landolt finished 3rd in NJ as well. He's been on and of the NY Jets roster/practice squad for a few years as well.

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