skip navigation

NFL Players who wrestled. Wrestling is a great compliment to many sports!

11/07/2014, 6:15am CST
By Coach Wagener

NFL Football Players that Wrestled

wrestling: the perfect complement to football



NFL Logo
"I would have all of my Offensive Lineman wrestle if I could."
- John Madden, Hall of Fame Football Coach


"I'm a huge wrestling fan. Wrestlers have so many great qualities that athletes need to have." - Bob Stoops - Oklahoma Sooners Head Football Coach"Well-respected by coaches and teammates for his tough, aggressive nature (comes from his prep wrestling background)"
- NFL Draft Scout on Alex Stepanovich

"One of the messages Denney hopes to relay to the Valley high school coaches and athletes is that wrestling is the perfect complement to football. While football is in its offseason, wrestling provides the perfect opportunity for the athletes to remain active, while working on their agility and conditioning, Denney said.

Shawhan can attest to Denney's theory, also having an extensive gridiron background. Along with playing semi-pro football, Shawhan also has years of being an assistant football coach throughout the Rio Grande Valley (Mission High, Harlingen High, PSJA High, McAllen Memorial and McHi).

"In Texas, everyone knows that high school football is king," Denney said. "I'm telling you, though, Texas is catching up in wrestling. And a lot of the football coaches are realizing how much wrestling can help their football team. And believe me, that's the truth. I know it firsthand. You have to remember when I started out I was a football coach in high school, and I would go to the wrestling team and get everyone that could to sign up for my football team."

- By Wade Baker,The McAllen Monitor MCAllen, Texas.

"My football coach told me, 'You better get in wrestling or I'll beat you up,'"
-- Tim Lee, Texas High School All-American

Lee said that wrestling helps him on the football field because he knows he has to stay low.

"In wrestling, you've got to have self-discipline and self-motivation. As a lineman, it's the same thing ... me vs. you. He brings that mentality to the football field."
- Lee's High School Football Coach, Tim Howard

"Some of Matt Roth's intensity can also be attributed to his successful run as a state-champion wrestler in high school. Many coaches, scouts and wrestlers-turned-football-players will laud wrestling for the leverage and quick hands it provides for football. Roth credits wrestling for the never-say-die attitude it gave him.

"It's the attitude. (Wrestling) helps you with your hips, your hands and your balance, but more than anything it helps you with your attitude," he said. "A lot of these kids that are basketball players, we eat those kids up. It's just our mentality - you're going to get the job done and you're going to punish them."

Roth said his dream partner on the wrestling mat would be Ravens LB Ray Lewis, himself an accomplished high school wrestler."

-- By Chris Neubauer, Pro Football Weekly

Here are just a few NFL Players that wrestled:

Aaron Maybin, DE - Buffalo Bills - 4th State
Adam Seward, ILB, Carolina Panthers - NV State Champ
Adam Vinatieri*, K, New England Patriots
Alex Karras, Detroit Lions
Alex Lewis - District Champ
Alex Mack - Cleveland Browns
Alex Stepanovich
Andrew "Tyler" Lenda - District Champ
Andrew Crummy - Cincinatti Bengals
Andrew Tidwell-Neal - MN State Champ
Antoineo Harris - IL State Champ
Antonio Garay, DL, Chicago Bears - State Champ
Archie Griffin, HB, Cincinnati Bengals
Art Baker, RB, Buffalo Bills
Benjamin Claxton - GA State Finalist
Bill Fralic*, G, Atlanta Falcons
Bill Szott, OL, Washington Redskins - NJ State Champ
Bo Jackson*, RB, Oakland Raiders
Bob Bruenig*, LB, Dallas Cowboys
Bob Golic*, DT, Cleveland Browns - OH State Champ
Bob Pickens, OL, Chicago Bears
Brad Benson, New York Giants - PA State Champ
Brad St. Louis, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
Brandon Pearce, Arizona Cardinals
Brian Save
Bruce Smith**, DE, Washington Redskins
Bryant McKinnie, T. Minnesota Vikings
Carl Edwards, San Diego Chargers - 3x MD State Champ
Carlton Haselrig*, Pittsburgh Steelers, 3x NCAA Champ
Chad Hennings, DT, Dallas Cowboys - IA State Champ
Charles White*, HB, Los Angeles Rams
Charlie Getty, RG, Kansas City Chiefs - 2x NCAA All-American
Chris Cooley, TE, Washington Redskins
Chris Laskowski
Chris McIntosh, T, Seattle Seahawks
Chris Pressley, Cincinatti Bengals
Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh Steelers - PA State Champ
Claude Harriott
Clinton "C.J." Brooks, Jr.
Cody Johnson
Colin Cole, Seattle Seahawks
Corey Hulsy, G, Oakland Raiders
Cory Schlesinger, LB, Detroit Lions - NE State Champ
Cory Widmer, LB, New York Giants
Coy Wire, LB, Buffalo Bills - PA State Runner-Up
Coy Wire, SS, Buffalo Bills - PA State Champ
Curley Culp*, DL, Kansas City Chiefs - NCAA Champ
Dahanie Jones, LB, Cincinatti Bengals
Damien Covington, LB, Buffalo Bills
Dan Dierdorff**, OT, St. Louis Cardinals
Darien Gordon, PR/CB, Denver Broncos
Dave Joyner, OL, Green Bay Packers
Dave Porter, T, Green Bay Packers
Dave Szott, Kansas City Chiefs - NJ State Champ
David Patten, WR, New England Patriots
David Pollack
DeMarco Farr, St. Louis Rams
Donnie Edwards, OLB, San Diego Chargers
Doug France*, LT, Los Angeles Rams - OH State Runner-Up
Ed Flanagan, C, Detroit Lions
Eric Bateman, OL, New York Jets
Eric Ghiaciuc, C, Cincinatti Bengals - MI State Champ
Eric Rhett, RB, Cleveland Browns - FL State Champ
Erik Robertson, San Diego Chargers
Ernie Ladd, DL, Kansas City Chiefs
Flozell Adams, DE, Dallas Cowboys
Frank Garcia, C, St. Louis Rams - 2x AZ State Champ
Fred Smerlas*, Buffalo Bills - MA State Champ
Fred Weary, C, Houston Texans - AL State Champ
Gabe Watson, Arizona Cardinals
Gerald McRatha - Tennesee Titans
Greg Boone, RB, Oakland Raiders
Greg Meisner, DL, Los Angeles Rams
Greg Wojochowski, St. Louis Rams
Gregory Walker - State Finalist
Harris Benton
Henry Jordan**, DT, Green Bay Packers
Irv Pankey, Los Angeles Rams - 2x MD State Champ
James Mungro, HB, Indianapolis Colts
Jay Hilgenberg*, C, Chicago Bears - IA State Runner-Up
Jeff Bostic*, C, Washington Redskins - SC State Champ
Jeremy Newberry, C, San Francisco 49'ers
Jess Lewis, LB, Houston Oilers
Jim Everett, QB, New Orleans Saints
Jim Nance, FB, New England Patriots - NCAA Champ
Jim Plunkett*, QB, Oakland Raiders
Jim Thorpe**, HB, New York Giants
Joel Mackavicka, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Joey Hildbold
John Gilmore, TE, Chicago Bears
John Hannah**, G, New England Patriots
John Hartunian
John Jackson, T, Pittsburg Steelers
John Jurkovich*, DT, Cleveland Browns
John Ward, OL, New York Jets - NCAA All-American
Jonathan Condo, LS, Dallas Cowboys - PA State Champ, Dapper Dan Champ
Jonathan Condo
Jonathan Ogden*, OT, Baltimore Ravens
Josh Minkins - District Runner-up
Kelly Gregg, NT, Baltimore Ravens, 3x KS State Champ
Kevin Atkins
Kevin Breedlove - SC State Finalist
Kevin Glover*, C, Detroit Lions
Kevin Sampson - NJ State Champ
Kirk Lowdermilk*, OL, Minnesota Vikings
Kyle Turley*, T, St. Louis Rams
La'Roi Glover*, DE, Dallas Cowboys
Larod Stephens-Howling - Arizona Cardinals
Larry Czonka**, RB, Miami Dolphins
Larry Turner
Leo Nomellini*, T, San Francisco 49'ers - Big 10 Champ
Leo Wisniewski, NT, Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts - PA State Champ
Leon Robinson - GA State Runner-Up
Lincoln "Drew" Hodgdon, C, Houston Texans - CA State Champ
Lorenzo Neal, FB, Tennessee Titans - NCAA Champ
Luis Castillo, DT, San Diego Chargers (First Round Pick)
Mario Johnson, DT, New England Patriot
Mark McDonald, SS, Arizona Cardinals
Mark Schlereth*, OL, Washington Redskins - Alaska State Champ
Marques Harris - CO State Champ
Matt Millen*, LB, Oakland Raiders
Matt Roth - IA State Champ
Matt Suhey, RB, Chicago Bears
Mickey Marvin, RG, Oakland Raiders
Mike Goff, G, Cincinnati Bengals
Mike Golic, DE, Philadelphia Eagles
Mike Malczyk, LS, New York Giants
Mike Patterson, DT, Philadelphia Eagles (First Round Pick)
Mike Pyle, C, Chicago Bears - IA State Champ
Mike Reid, Cincinnati Bengals
Mike Trgovac, DC, Carolina Panthers - OH State Champ
Morgan Pears
Morlon Greenwood, OLB, Miami Dolphins
Napolean McCallum, RB, Oakland Raiders
Nick Griesen, LB, New York Giants
Nick Hardwick - San Diego Chargers
Nick Harper, CB, Tennesee Titans
Nick Leckey - TX State Champ
Nick Lecky, C, - KS State Champ (in 2004 NFL Draft)
Nick Newton
Orlando Huff, MLB, Seattle Seahawks
Patrick "Bucky" Babcock - IL State Champ
Patrick Flannery, OL, Houston Oilers
Patrick Kearney, DE, Atlanta Falcons
Phil Bryant, Philadelphia Eagles - 2x National Prep Champ
Ralph Cindrich, Houston Oilers - PA State Runner-Up
Randall McDaniel*, G, Minnesota Vikings
Randy Grossman, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
Randy White*, DT, Dallas Cowboys
Ray Lewis*, Baltimore Ravens - 2x FL State Champ
Renaldo Works
Rhonde Barber, SS, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ricky Williams*, RB, Miami Dolphins
Rob Davis, ST, Green Bay Packers
Rob Essink, Seattle Seahawks - NCAA DII Champ
Rocky Rasley, G, Detroit Lions
Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons - 2x SC State Champ (First Round Pick)
Rodney Leisle
Rodney Michael
Roger Craig*, RB, San Francisco 49'ers
Ron Heller, TE, Seattle Seahawks
Ronald Moore, RB, Cleveland Browns
Ronnie Brown, RB, Miami Dolphins (#2 Pick)
Ronnie Lott**, DB, San Francisco 49'ers
Ryan Binghom, Sand Diego Chargers - 2x State Champ
Ryan Turnbull, RB, Cleveland Browns
Scott McKillop - San Francisco 49'ers
Scott Peters, G, New York Giants
Scott Wells - TN State Champ
Scottie Graham, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Sean Mahan, G, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sean Tufts
Shane Olivea
Stephen Neal, OL, New England Patriots - NCAA Champ
Steve Martin, DT, Houston Texans
Steve Sefter, DT, Philadelphia Eagles, 2x PA State Champ & NCAA All-American
Steve Wisniewski, G, Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders - CA State Champ
Tai Tupai
Tedy Bruschi*, ILB, New England Patriots
Terrance Taylor - Indianapolis Colts - State Champ
Terrell Fletcher, RB, San Diego Chargers
Tiki Barber, RB, New York Giants
Tim Anderson - OH State Champ
Tim Burrough - OK State Champ
Tim Euhus
Tim Green, DE, Atlanta Falcons
Tim Krumrie*, DL, Cincinnati Bengals - WI State Champ
Tom Cousineau*, LB, Cleveland Browns - 3rd State
Tom Covert*, OT, Chicago Bears
Tommy Vardell, RB, San Francisco 49'ers
Tony Fiametta - Carolina Panthers
Tony Pape, San Diego Chargers
Tony Siragusa*, DT, Baltimore Ravens - NJ State Champ
Trevor Johnson
Walter Barnes, DL, Washington Redskins - SEC Champ
Warren Sapp*, DT Tampa Bay Buccaneers - FL State Champ
William George, Chicago Bears - 2x PA State Champ
William Hayes, Tennesee Titans
Willie Roaf*, OT, New Orleans Saints
Woody Thompson, RB, Atlanta Falcons - PA State Champ
Zachary Wilson

**Hall of Famer

Tag(s): Headlines/News