Former Trojans in the NFL, AFC edition
January, 25, 2012
By Kyle Williams | ESPN.com
Chris Morrison/US Presswire2011 was another banner season for Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, as the former Trojan was selected to his seventh consecutive Pro Bowl.
2011 saw plenty of former Trojans make their mark in the NFL. Here is a look at USC football alumni, starting with the AFC.
Kyle Moore (DE) -- Claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay, Moore saw action in four games, totaling four tackles.
Reggie Bush (RB) -- Bush had his best season since entering the NFL. He started every game, finishing the season with 1,086 yards on 216 carries and six touchdowns while catching 43 passes for 296 yards and another score.
New York Jets
Joe McKnight (RB) -- McKnight played in all 16 games and finished the season with 43 carries for 134 yards. McKnight's presence was felt more on special teams, where he consistently made plays.
Mark Sanchez (QB) -- Sanchez and the Jets didn’t finish their season on a high note like the previous two, losing their last three games. Sanchez finished the season with a career high 3,474 passing yards, throwing for 26 touchdowns while rushing for six more.
Rey Maualuga (LB) -- Started 14 games and was sidelined for two weeks due to an ankle injury. He helped anchor the middle of the Bengals defense that ranked seventh in the NFL, compiling 88 tackles and an interception.
Taylor Mays (DB) -- Mays played in six games, totaling 14 tackles.
Keith Rivers (LB) -- Was placed on injured reserve in September from a non-football injury he suffered in July.
Frostee Rucker (DE) -- Rucker played in every game, starting in 11 of them. He posted career highs in tackles and sacks while leading the team in tackles-for-loss. He finished the season with 44 tackles and four sacks.
Jordan Cameron (TE) -- Caught six passes for 33 yards during his rookie season.
Kaluka Maiava (LB) -- Maiava had six starts for the Browns and was a consistent player, especially on special teams. He finished the season with 34 tackles.
Troy Polamalu (DB) --Voted to his seventh straight Pro Bowl, Polamalu is one of the top safeties in the NFL. He started every game, racking up 91 tackles, one sack and two interceptions.
Shaun Cody (DT) -- Cody started every game for the Texans and finished the season with 23 tackles and one sack. He had seven tackles in Houston’s two playoff games.
Brian Cushing (LB) -- Voted as one of the team’s captains, Cushing led one of the top defenses in the league. He started every game, finishing the season with 114 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions.
Matt Leinart (QB) -- With Matt Schaub getting hurt in the middle of the season, Leinart had a great opportunity to lead a very good Texans team into the playoffs. However, his opportunity was cut short in his first start, when he injured his shoulder and had to be placed on IR for the rest of the season.
Fili Moala (DT) -- Moala started 14 games and finished the season with 22 tackles and two sacks.
Kevin Thomas (DB) -- Thomas started five games this season, finishing with 33 tackles.
Jurrell Casey (DT) -- Casey made an impact as a rookie, compiling 52 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
Damian Williams (WR) -- In just his second season in the league, Williams was a consistent target for the Titans. He started 13 games and finished the season with 592 yards and five touchdowns on 45 catches.
Kansas City Chiefs
Matt Cassel (QB) -- Placed on IR after the 10th game, Cassel had solid numbers, throwing for 1,713 yards and 10 touchdowns.
David Ausberry (WR) -- Had two receptions for 14 yards as a rookie.
Carson Palmer (QB) -- Palmer was traded from the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 18 in hopes of leading the Raiders to the playoffs. The Raiders went 4-6 in Palmer’s 10 starts to fall short of that goal. Palmer still had some pretty good numbers even though he wasn’t in training camp and had to learn the playbook on the fly. At the end of the season, he threw for 2,753 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Alex Parsons (OL) -- Was put on IR at the beginning of the season.
San Diego Chargers
Shareece Wright (DB) -- Wright played seven games, mostly on special teams, during his rookie season, compiling four tackles.