Former Trojans in the NFL, NFC edition
January, 25, 2012
By Kyle Williams | ESPN.com
Al Bello/Getty ImagesFormer USC standout Clay Matthews was off and running to a third Pro Bowl appearance this season, compiling 50 tackles, six sacks and this interception for a touchdown.
2011 saw plenty of former Trojans make their mark in the NFL. Here is a look at USC football alumni in the NFC.
David Buehler (K) -- Was placed on injured reserve in the early November due to a groin injury that had been bothering him since the second game of the season against the San Francisco 49ers.
Tyron Smith (OT) -- The rookie first-round pick overcame an early knee injury to serve as the Cowboys’ starting right tackle.
New York Giants
Terrell Thomas (CB) -- Thomas has been on injured reserve since the preseason, when he tore his ACL against the Chicago Bears. Heading into the season, Thomas had emerged as one of the Giants’ best defensive players.
Stanley Havili (FB) -- The rookie spent the season on the practice squad.
Ronald Johnson (WR) -- The rookie spent the season on the practice squad.
Winston Justice (OT) -- Justice had knee surgery last February that limited him for most of the season. He played in six games and started one.
Mike Patterson (DT) -- During training camp in August, Patterson suffered a seizure and was taken to the hospital. He was later diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation on his brain. After seeing four different specialists, he was cleared to play just 17 days after his seizure. He started every game this season, totaling 66 tackles, 24 hurries and 2.5 sacks. At the end of the season, he was awarded to the team’s Ed Block award.
Steve Smith (WR) -- Smith played in nine games, starting in one. He was placed on IR on Dec. 12, ending the season with 11 catches for 124 yards.
Fred Davis (TE) -- Davis is coming off his best season since coming into the league and slowly becoming one of the top tight ends in the NFL. He started 12 games, hauling in 59 receptions for 796 yards and three touchdowns.
Lawrence Jackson (DE) -- Jackson was one of the more reliable backups on arguably the toughest defensive line in the league. He played in 11 games with a total of 26 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
Green Bay Packers
Clay Matthews (LB) -- Named to his third Pro Bowl, Matthews is one of the NFL’s top outside linebackers. He started 15 games, finishing the season with 50 tackles, six sacks, three forced fumbles and three interceptions.
Everson Griffen (DE) -- Griffen served as a reliable backup for the Vikings, playing in every game. He finished the season with 21 tackles and four sacks.
Butch Lewis (OL) -- Did not record any stats.
Jeff Byers (OL) -- Byers was signed to the Panthers practice squad in September after being waived by the Denver Broncos. He served on Carolina’s practice squad for most of the season before being activated to the 53-man roster on Dec. 17.
Ryan Kalil (C) -- Kalil was given the team’s franchise tag at the beginning of last season and later signed an extension with the team, making him the top-paid center in the NFL. At the end of the season he was voted to his third consecutive Pro Bowl. He played in every game this season.
Thomas Williams (LB) -- Before he was put on IR on Nov. 8, Williams had played in seven games, starting two of them. He totaled 13 tackles.
New Orleans Saints
Charles Brown (OT) -- Brown played in eight games, starting five at right tackle.
Nick Howell (OL) -- After being waived by the 49ers after training camp, Howell spent the season trying to find a home.
After the Saints lost in the second round of the playoffs, they signed Howell.
Duece Lutui (G) -- Lutui was a backup guard for the Cardinals, seeing action in every game.
San Francisco 49ers
Chilo Rachal (OG) -- Rachal served as a solid backup on the 49ers offensive line. He played in every game this season and started three of them. During the NFC Championship game, he played in a couple of series due to an injury at center. During those series the 49ers offense kept pace as Rachal played well coming off the bench.
Allen Bradford (RB) -- Bradford had five carries for 13 yards before being released by Tampa Bay. He signed with Seattle and spent time on the practice squad.
Anthony McCoy (TE) -- McCoy started nine games for the Seahawks, finishing the season with 13 receptions for 146 yards.
Mike Morgan (LB) -- Morgan played in five games as a rookie.
Malcolm Smith (LB) -- Smith played 12 games in his rookie season, recording 16 tackles and a sack.
Mike Williams (WR) -- Before he was placed on injured reserve, Williams started 10 of 12 games. He finished the season with 18 receptions for 236 yards and one touchdown.