NFL Cougar Highlights: Week 16

WHILE THE ROOKIE campaigns of Washington State alums Eric Frampton and Tyron Brackenridge have been productive baptisms into the NFL, the same can't be said for the one Cougar most thought to be a sure thing as a pro: San Francisco 49er Jason Hill. But true greatness is not always accurately measured on a football field, as the receiver proved in some very big ways on Christmas day.

Hill, the 76th player taken in the 2007 draft, has just one reception going into the final week of the NFL season. He's seen more action on special teams than with the 49ers' struggling offense. Part of the blame can be attributed to a nagging hamstring injury, although talk (and perhaps it is nothing more than just that) is that the San Fran native has struggled with the playbook.

But the receiver spent his Christmas doing something that transcends any gridiron heroics and is a more accurate reflection of his character than any touchdown catch will ever be. He played Santa Claus to the neighborhood kids of San Francisco's troubled Western Addition, giving out thousands of dollars worth of toys he had bought for them.

Hill handed out the gifts to over 100 kids at Hayward Park, just two blocks from where he'd grown up. The same neighborhood where he became a statistical exception to the norm, surviving the inherent danger of the drug infested area. He plans on making it an annual event.

As if that weren't enough, he also sponsored a dinner for the homeless and the refurbishing of another neighborhood park.

Here's how all of the NFL Cougars performed in week 16:

Hamza Abdullah, DB, Denver, 3rd season : Recorded two solo tackles in 23-3 Christmas Eve loss to San Diego.

Calvin Armstrong, OT, free agent, 3rd season : Did not play; no longer listed on the Redskins' practice squad.

Kyle Basler, P, Cleveland, 1st season: Did not play; on non-injury reserve.

Troy Bienemann, TE, Arizona, 1st season: Caught one pass for 8 yards and made one special teams tackle in Cardinals' overtime victory against Atlanta.

Cody Boyd, TE, Washington, rookie : Did not play; assigned to practice squad.

Tyron Brackenridge, CB, Kansas City, rookie : Did not play; declared inactive due to knee injury.

Mkristo Bruce, DE, Oakland, rookie: Did not play; assigned to practice squad .

Erik Coleman, S, New York Jets, 4th season : Notched one special teams tackle in loss to Tennessee.

Omowale Dada, CB, Seattle, 1st season: Did not play; assigned to practice squad.

Devard Darling, WR, Baltimore, 4th season : Caught one pass for 7 yards in Ravens' fall to Seattle.

James Darling, LB, free agent, 11th season: Did not play; status unknown.

Jason David, DB, New Orleans, 4th season: Made four solo tackles and defensed one pass in Saints loss to Philly.

Steve Dildine, LB, San Francisco, rookie: Did not play; assigned to practice squad.

Eric Frampton, S, Minnesota, rookie : Recorded one special teams tackle in loss to Washington. Has emerged as one of the Vikings' top special teams players.

Steve Gleason, DB, New Orleans, 8th season: Out for season on injured reserve.

Jason Hanson, K, Detroit, 16th season : Perfect on both extra point attempts and three field goal tries (46, 20, and 47 yards) in Lions' 25-20 win against Kansas City. His 46-yard kick in the second quarter was his 100th successful field goal from the 40-49-yard range, making him just the sixth player in NFL history to reach that mark.

Jerome Harrison, RB, Cleveland, 2nd season : Declared inactive for Browns' loss.

Jason Hill, WR, San Francisco, rookie: No catches in 49ers' 21-19 victory against Tampa Bay, but he did assist on a special teams tackle.

Rian Lindell, K, Buffalo, 8th season : True on all three PATs in Bills' 38-21 fall to the Giants.

Rien Long, DT, free agent, 5th season: Status unknown; has worked out recently with two NFL clubs. Rated by one "insider" as the fourth best available free agent defensive tackle.

Rob Meier, DE/DT, Jacksonville, 8th season: Posted three solo stops—including a sack—and assisted on another in Jags' 49-11 shellacking of Oakland.

Karl Paymah, CB, Denver, 3rd season : No stats from Broncos' fall to the Chargers.

Raonall Smith, LB, St. Louis, 6th season : Did not play; out for the season on injured reserve.

Lamont Thompson, DB, Jacksonville, 6th season: Made two solo tackles and one special teams tackle in Jags' win against the Raiders.

Marcus Trufant, DB, Seattle, 5th season : Tallied three solo tackles in Seahawks' win against Baltimore.

Cory Withrow, C/G, San Diego, 9th season : No stats from Chargers' win against Denver.

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