NFL Players That Wrestled

“I would have all of my Offensive Lineman wrestle if I could.”

– John Madden, Hall of Fame Football Coach

“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

Rodney Michael
Marques Harris - CO State Champ
Larry Turner
Andrew "Tyler" Lenda - District Champ
Matt Roth - IA State Champ
David Pollack
Tim Burrough - OK State Champ
Antoineo Harris - IL State Champ
Claude Harriott
Scott Wells - TN State Champ
Alex Lewis - District Champ
Rodney Leisle
Nick Newton
Sean Tufts
Brian Save
Kevin Atkins
Josh Minkins - District Runner-up
Tim Euhus
Andrew Tidwell-Neal - MN State Champ
Renaldo Works
Patrick "Bucky" Babcock - IL State Champ
Morgan Pears
Flozell Adams, DE, Dallas Cowboys
Tim Anderson - OH State Champ
Art Baker, RB, Buffalo Bills
Rhonde Barber, SS, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tiki Barber, RB, New York Giants
Walter Barnes, DL, Washington Redskins - SEC Champ
Eric Bateman, OL, New York Jets
Harris Benton
Brad Benson, New York Giants - PA State Champ
Greg Boone, RB, Oakland Raiders
Ryan Binghom, Sand Diego Chargers - 2x State Champ
Jeff Bostic*, C, Washington Redskins - SC State Champ
Kevin Breedlove - SC State Finalist
Clinton "C.J." Brooks, Jr.
Zac Brown, LB, Tennesee Titans - 2x MD State Champ
Ronnie Brown, RB, Miami Dolphins (#2 Pick)
Tedy Bruschi*, ILB, New England Patriots
Bob Bruenig*, LB, Dallas Cowboys
Phil Bryant, Philadelphia Eagles - 2x National Prep Champ
Luis Castillo, DT, San Diego Chargers (First Round Pick)
Ralph Cindrich, Houston Oilers - PA State Runner-Up
Jonathan Condo, LS, Dallas Cowboys - PA State Champ, Dapper Dan Champ
Tom Cousineau*, LB, Cleveland Browns  - 3rd State
Tom Covert*, OT, Chicago Bears
Benjamin Claxton - GA State Finalist
Chris Cooley, TE, Washington Redskins
Colin Cole, Seattle Seahawks
Jonathan Condo
Roger Craig*, RB, San Francisco 49'ers
Andrew Crummy - Cincinatti Bengals
Damien Covington, LB, Buffalo Bills
Curley Culp*, DL, Kansas City Chiefs - NCAA Champ
Larry Czonka**, RB, Miami Dolphins
Hall of Fame Running Back from the Miami Dolphins, Larry Czonka, pounded opponents on the wrestling mat as well as the gridiron.

Rob Davis, ST, Green Bay Packers
Dan Dierdorff**, OT, St. Louis Cardinals
Donnie Edwards, OLB, San Diego Chargers
Carl Edwards, San Diego Chargers - 3x MD State Champ
Rob Essink, Seattle Seahawks - NCAA DII Champ
Jim Everett, QB, New Orleans Saints
DeMarco Farr, St. Louis Rams
Patrick Flannery, OL, Houston Oilers
Ed Flanagan, C, Detroit Lions
Tony Fiametta - Carolina Panthers
Terrell Fletcher, RB, San Diego Chargers
Bill Fralic*, G,  Atlanta Falcons
Doug France*, LT, Los Angeles Rams - OH State Runner-Up
Antonio Garay, DL, Chicago Bears - State Champ
Frank Garcia, C, St. Louis Rams - 2x AZ State Champ
William George, Chicago Bears - 2x PA State Champ
Charlie Getty, RG, Kansas City Chiefs - 2x NCAA All-American
John Gilmore, TE, Chicago Bears
Kevin Glover*, C, Detroit Lions
Eric Ghiaciuc, C, Cincinatti Bengals - MI State Champ
La'Roi Glover*, DE, Dallas Cowboys
Mike Goff, G, Cincinnati Bengals
Bob Golic*, DT, Cleveland Browns - OH State Champ
Mike Golic, DE, Philadelphia Eagles
Darien Gordon, PR/CB, Denver Broncos
Scottie Graham, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Tim Green, DE, Atlanta Falcons
Kelly Gregg, NT, Baltimore Ravens, 3x KS State Champ
Morlon Greenwood, OLB, Miami Dolphins
Archie Griffin, HB, Cincinnati Bengals
Nick Griesen, LB, New York Giants
Randy Grossman, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
John Hannah**, G, New England Patriots
John Hartunian
Nick Hardwick - San Diego Chargers
Nick Harper, CB, Tennesee Titans
Carlton Haselrig*, Pittsburgh Steelers, 3x NCAA Champ
William Hayes, Tennesee Titans
Ron Heller, TE, Seattle Seahawks
Chad Hennings, DT, Dallas Cowboys - IA State Champ
Jay Hilgenberg*, C, Chicago Bears - IA State Runner-Up
Lincoln "Drew" Hodgdon, C, Houston Texans - CA State Champ
Orlando Huff, MLB, Seattle Seahawks
Joey Hildbold
Corey Hulsy, G, Oakland Raiders
John Jackson, T, Pittsburg Steelers
Bo Jackson*, RB, Oakland Raiders
Mario Johnson, DT, New England Patriot
Cody Johnson
Trevor Johnson
Dahanie Jones, LB, Cincinatti Bengals
Henry Jordan**, DT, Green Bay Packers
Dave Joyner, OL, Green Bay Packers
John Jurkovich*, DT, Cleveland Browns
Alex Karras, Detroit Lions
Patrick Kearney, DE, Atlanta Falcons
Tim Krumrie*, DL, Cincinnati Bengals - WI State Champ
Ernie Ladd, DL, Kansas City Chiefs
Chris Laskowski
Nick Lecky, C, - KS State Champ (in 2004 NFL Draft)
Jess Lewis, LB, Houston Oilers
Ray Lewis, Pro Bowl Linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, was a Florida 4A State Wrestling Champion at 189 lbs.

Ray Lewis*, Baltimore Ravens - 2x FL State Champ
Nick Leckey - TX State Champ
Ronnie Lott**, DB, San Francisco 49'ers
Kirk Lowdermilk*, OL, Minnesota Vikings
Sean Mahan, G, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Malczyk, LS, New York Giants
Alex Mack - Cleveland Browns
Joel Mackavicka, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Steve Martin, DT, Houston Texans
Mickey Marvin, RG, Oakland Raiders
Aaron Maybin, DE - Buffalo Bills - 4th State
Napolean McCallum, RB, Oakland Raiders
Randle McDaniel*, G, Minnesota Vikings
Mark McDonald, SS, Arizona Cardinals
Chris McIntosh, T, Seattle Seahawks
Bryant McKinnie, T. Minnesota Vikings
Future Hall of Famer Randall McDaniel was a wrestler before he was named to 12 NFL Pro Bowls.

Scott McKillop - San Francisco 49'ers
Gerald McRatha - Tennesee Titans
Greg Meisner, DL, Los Angeles Rams
Matt Millen*, LB, Oakland Raiders
Ronald Moore, RB, Cleveland Browns
James Mungro, HB, Indianapolis Colts
Jim Nance, FB, New England Patriots - NCAA Champ
Lorenzo Neal, FB, Tennessee Titans - NCAA Champ
Stephen Neal, OL, New England Patriots - NCAA Champ
Jeremy Newberry, C, San Francisco 49'ers
Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh Steelers - PA State Champ
Leo Nomellini*, T, San Francisco 49'ers - Big 10 Champ
Jonathan Ogden*, OT, Baltimore Ravens
Shane Olivea
Irv Pankey, Los Angeles Rams - 2x MD State Champ
Tony Pape, San Diego Chargers
Mike Patterson, DT, Philadelphia Eagles (First Round Pick)
David Patten, WR, New England Patriots
Brandon Pearce, Arizona Cardinals
Scott Peters, G, New York Giants
Bob Pickens, OL, Chicago Bears
Jim Plunkett*, QB, Oakland Raiders
Dave Porter, T, Green Bay Packers
Chris Pressley, Cincinatti Bengals
Mike Pyle, C, Chicago Bears - IA State Champ
Rocky Rasley, G, Detroit Lions
Mike Reid, Cincinnati Bengals
Eric Rhett, RB, Cleveland Browns - FL State Champ
Willie Roaf*, OT, New Orleans Saints
Erik Robertson, San Diego Chargers
Leon Robinson - GA State Runner-Up
Warren Sapp*, DT Tampa Bay Buccaneers - FL State Champ 
Kevin Sampson - NJ State Champ
Adam Seward, ILB, Carolina Panthers - NV State Champ
Mark Schlereth*, OL, Washington Redskins - Alaska State Champ
Cory Schlesinger, LB, Detroit Lions - NE State Champ
Steve Sefter, DT, Philadelphia Eagles, 2x PA State Champ & NCAA All-American
Tony Siragusa*, DT, Baltimore Ravens - NJ State Champ
Pro Bowl Defensive Tackle Warren Sapp was a Florida State Champion wrestler in High School.

Fred Smerlas*, Buffalo Bills - MA State Champ
Bruce Smith**, DE, Washington Redskins 
Brad St. Louis, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
Larod Stephens-Howling - Arizona Cardinals
Alex Stepanovich
Matt Suhey, RB, Chicago Bears
Bill Szott, OL, Washington Redskins - NJ State Champ
Dave Szott, Kansas City Chiefs - NJ State Champ
Terrance Taylor - Indianapolis Colts - State Champ
Woody Thompson, RB, Atlanta Falcons - PA State Champ
Jim Thorpe**, HB, New York Giants
Mike Trgovac, DC, Carolina Panthers - OH State Champ
Kyle Turley*, T, St. Louis Rams
Tai Tupai
Ryan Turnbull, RB, Cleveland Browns
Tommy Vardell, RB, San Francisco 49'ers
Adam Vinatieri*, K, New England Patriots
Gabe Watson, Arizona Cardinals
Gregory Walker - State Finalist
John Ward, OL, New York Jets - NCAA All-American
Fred Weary, C, Houston Texans - AL State Champ
Zachary Wilson
Charles White*, HB, Los Angeles Rams
Randy White*, DT, Dallas Cowboys 
Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons - 2x SC State Champ (First Round Pick)
Cory Widmer, LB, New York Giants
Coy Wire, SS, Buffalo Bills - PA State Champ
Leo Wisniewski, NT, Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts - PA State Champ
Steve Wisniewski, G, Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders - CA State Champ
Ricky Williams*, RB, Miami Dolphins
Coy Wire, LB, Buffalo Bills - PA State Runner-Up
Greg Wojochowski, St. Louis Rams

**Hall of Famer

4 thoughts on “NFL Players That Wrestled

  1. How many active players are on this list? Time for an update, perhaps? This list was bad-ass when you posted it 12 years ago (sadly 12 years ago is not an exaggeration).

    • That’s funny, i did update a few (like Zac Brown, Aaron Maybin). A ton of sites have actually jacked this list, only a few have given credit though! This took me a ton of time to put together!

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