Clemson is one of six schools to have a former player represented on each of the remaining NFL teams in the league playoffs. Over the years 19 different former Clemson players have been on the Super Bowl Champion 27 times.
The former Tigers still involved in the NFL playoffs are all
starters and include linebacker Leroy Hill of the Seattle Seahawks,
defensive tackle Brentson Buckner of the Carolina Panthers, punter
Chris Gardocki of the Pittsburgh Steelers and defensive end Trevor
Pryce of the Denver Broncos. Pryce is the only one of the four who
has already won a Super Bowl Ring.
The other schools with at least one player on each of the NFL
teams still involved in the playoffs are Alabama, Florida, Georgia,
Penn State and Utah
In addition to the four players listed above, the Tigers have
three former players on the Practice Squad of teams involved in the
playoffs. That list includes Bryant McNeal and William Henry with
the Seattle Seahawks and Khaleed Vaughn with the Carolina Panthers.
Gardocki is in his 15th year in the NFL, his second with the
Pittsburgh Steelers. His 15 years of service and 228 games played
are record totals for any former Clemson player in the NFL. This
season, Gardocki started all 16 games as the Steelers punter and had
a 41.8 average on 67 punts, including 22 punts inside the 20. It
marked the 11th consecutive year that Gardocki had averaged at least
41 yards per punt. He started the NFL playoffs in grand style with a
47-yard average on three punts against Jacksonville and followed that
with a 41-yard average in the win at Indianapolis.
Gardocki, who has never played in the Super Bowl, but is a
veteran of numerous playoff games, holds the NFL record for
consecutive punts without a block. He now has 1112 career punts
without a block, nearly double the previous record of 624 by Dave
Jennings, who played with the New York Giants. Gardocki was named to
the Pro Bowl in 1996 when he had a 45.7 average. He has also never
lost a fumble on 1112 career punts.
A native of Stone Mountain, GA, Gardocki was a two-time
All-American at Clemson (1989 and 1990). He ranked in the top 10
in the nation in field goals per game and punting in 1989 and 1990,
the only player in college football history to have a top 10 ranking
in both areas, in two different seasons.
Buckner is in his 12th season in the NFL, tied for the third
longest NFL career among former Tigers. He is a veteran of 174
career games, sixth on the list of former Clemson players. The
Panthers victory at Chicago was his 14th career playoff game, his
sixth with the Panthers.
A starter in every game he played this year, Buckner had 43 tackles,
a sack and five tackles for loss during the regular season for
Carolina, who ranked fourth in the NFL in rushing defense thanks to
Buckner's play. He has 487 career regular season tackles, and
obviously will need just 13 next year to reach the 500 mark for his
Buckner has played in three NFL conference championship games
in his career and has played in two Super Bowls, one with Pittsburgh
(1995 season) and one with Carolina (2003 season). The native of
Columbus, GA was a two-time first-team All-ACC player with the Tigers
(1992-93) and was a starter on Clemson's 1991 ACC Championship team
that led the nation in rushing defense.
Pryce has already been on two Super Bowl Championship teams
with Denver, the 1997 and 1998 Bronco teams led by John Elway. He
could tie the record for Super Bowl Championship rings by a Clemson
player if the Broncos win Super Bowl XXXX. Jeff Bostic won three
with the Washington Redskins.
The native of Winter Park, FL is also a four-time Pro Bowl
selection. This season, Pryce started all 15 games he played and
had 33 tackles, including 31 first hits. He has four sacks, giving
him 64 for his career, among the top 10 totals among active NFL
players. Now in his ninth year in the NFL, Pryce has played in 121
career NFL games.
Pryce, who transferred to Clemson from Michigan after the
1994 season, was a first-team All-ACC player for the Tigers in 1996
as a defensive tackle. He had 20 tackles for loss and 10 sacks that
year helping him to become a first-round draft choice by the Broncos.
Hill is in his rookie season with the Seattle Seahawks and
has had a stellar first season. The linebacker started the last
nine regular season games for Mike Holmgren's team and is the third
leading tackler on the club for the season with 72 tackles. He had
7.5 sacks to rank among the top NFL rookies and has 13 tackles for
loss. In the Seahawks playoff game against the Washington Redskins
this past weekend he added nine tackles to his total. A third-round
selection last year, Hill got his chance when Seahawks starter Jamie
Sharper, a former Virginia player, was injured and lost for the
Hill was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 when he
had 106 tackles, including 19 tackles for loss to lead the ACC.
Hill was a third-team AP All-American in 2004 and a first-team
All-ACC player in 2003 and 2004.
The last former Tiger to play on a Super Bowl Championship
team was James Trapp with Baltimore Ravens in 2000. Clemson had two
players in the Super Bowl last year, but the Philadelphia Eagles with
Brian Dawkins and Keith Adams, lost to the New England Patriots.
Clemson's Super Bowl Champions
(27 rings for 19 Players)
Dan Benish, DT 1987 Washington Redskins
Jeff Bostic, C 1982, 87, 91 Washington Redskins
Dwight Clark, WR 1981, 84 San Francisco 49ers
Bennie Cunningham, TE 1977, 78 Pittsburgh Steelers
Terrence Flagler, RB 1988, 89 San Francisco 49ers
Steve Fuller, QB 1985 Chicago Bears
Andy Headen, DE 1986 New York Giants
Tony Horne, WR 1999 St. Louis Rams
Terry Kinard, FS 1986 New York Giants
Bill Mathis, RB 1969 New York Jets
Dexter McCleon, CB 1999 St. Louis Rams
John McMakin, TE 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers
William Perry, DT 1985 Chicago Bears
Trevor Pryce, DT 1997, 98 Denver Broncos
Wayne Simmons, LB 1996 Green Bay Packers
Archie Reese, DT 1981 San Francisco 49ers
Jim Stuckey, DT 1981, 84 San Francisco 49ers
James Trapp, DB 2000 Baltimore Ravens
Charlie Waters, S 1971, 77 Dallas Cowboys
Tigers Guaranteed a Super Bowl Winner
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