With the 2012 NFL closing up this coming weekend and me snowed in due to the cataclysmic Indianapolis post-Christmas blizzard I thought I would take a look back at what former Purdue played have done in the NFL this season.
Dennis Kelly - Philadelphia Eagles - Kelly is on the active roster for Philly and has played a little this season. He made his debut back in November.
Kyle Adams - Chicago Bears - Adams, who went undrafted, continues to be a positive for the Bears with four catches for 40 yards and a pair of first downs this season. He last caught a pass against Minnesota in week 14.
Ryan Kerrigan - Washington Redskins - Kerrigan has been a huge positive on defense for a Redskins team that will play for the division title on Sunday night. He has 48 tackles, two forced fumbles, and interception (that he returned for his second career touchdown), and 8.5 sacks in just his second year in the league. Both of his career interceptions have been returned for touchdowns.
Brandon King - Jacksonville Jaguars - After two seasons in Indianapolis King has not played, but is on the Jacksonville practice squad this year.
Mike Neal - Green Bay Packers - Neal battled injuries his first two years but is now playing for a Green Bay team that is already in the playoffs. He only has 11 tackles, but 4.5 sacks in 10 games as a reserve this year.
Nick Mondek - Houston Texans - Mondek is currently on Houston's practice squad and has not played this season.
Ryan Baker - Miami Dolphins - Baker played in only one game this season, and that was against Oakland in week 2.
Cliff Avril - Detroit Lions - After signing the big contract in the offseason Avril has 25 tackles, 9.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. In five years he has 39.5 career sacks.
Dustin Keller - New York Jets - I hate the Jets, so I keep hoping DK will land somewhere else. Their lack of a competent quarterback has unfortunately led to DK's worst season as a pro. He has only played in eight games with 28 receptions for 317 yards and two touchdowns.
Mike Otto - Tennessee Titans - Big Mike, a product of Maconaquah High School, is still kicking around in the league. The former seventh rounder is in his fifth season and managed three starts so far at left tackle.
Uche Nwaneri - Jacksonville Jaguars - Uche is in his sixth year as a starter for Jacksonville and has started all 15 games at right guard. His starting streak is now at over 50 straight games.
Anthony Spencer - Dallas Cowboys - Spencer, like Kerrigan, is playing like a first round selection. They face each other with the NFC East title on the line Sunday night and both are leaders of their respective defenses. Spencer has 10 sacks in 13 starts this season to go with 51 tackles and two forced fumbles.
Ray Edwards - Atlanta Falcons - Edwards has been hampered by injuries this season and has played in just six games for the NFC's top team. He only has six tackles, but two fumble recoveries.
Rob Ninkovich - New England Patriots - Rob has become a major factor for the Pats on defense. In 15 games this season he has eight sacks with 32 tackles and five forced fumbles. He is one of several great defensive ends just killing it this year for Purdue.
Bernard Pollard - Baltimore Ravens - Pollard has earned the ire of Bill Simmons and is another Purdue player that will reach the playoffs. He has 71 tackles in 13 games (all starts) and two sacks as well as an interception.
Kyle Orton - Dallas Cowboys - Kyle is on his fourth NFL team as he continues to get jerked around, but in limited action backing up Tony Romo he has done well. He is 9 of 10 for 89 yards with a touchdown pass.
Nick Hardwick - San Diego Chargers - The former walk-on is finishing his ninth season as the starting center in San Diego. He has started all 15 games so far and last missed a start in 2009.
Niko Koutouvides - New England Patriots - Niko has become a special teams ace for the Pats. He has played in 13 games so far with no tackles, but he is regularly in on special teams plays.
Shaun Phillips - San Diego Chargers - After a down year last year he has 9.5 sacks and 33 tackles. He also got his first career fumble recovery for a touchdown and third career defensive touchdown overall. He stands at 69.5 career sacks.
Jacques Reeves - Kansas City Chiefs - I was surprised to still see Reeves in the league, but he has four tackles after playing in two games (1 start) in Kansas City. He spent the previous six seasons in Dallas and Houston.
Drew Brees - New Orleans Saints - Finally, we have Mr. Brees, who can have his second straight 5,000 yard season (and third career 5,000 season) with 219 yards on Sunday. He is at 45,523 yards for his career and 320 passes. He also rushed for his ninth career rushing TD this year. IF he reaches 5,000 yards it will be just the sixth time an NFL QB has passed for 5,000 in a season, with Brees having three of those six. Only Dan Marino in 1984 and both Matthew Stafford and tom Brady last season have topped 5,000 yards in a season. Of course, Brees also established the new record for consecutive games with a TD pass. Brees is also now eighth all-time in NFL passing yards and, assuming he is over 4,500 yards against next season, he's become the fifth player ever to throw for 50,000 yards. Of all the active Purdue players, I think Brees locked up his Hall of Fame credentials this year.
Players with a chance at a Super Bowl ring:
Adams (if Bears qualify for playoffs), Kerrigan (if Redskins qualify for playoffs), Mike Neal (would be second ring, as he was on their 2010 team), Mondek, Spencer and Orton (if Cowboys qualify for playoffs), Edwards, Pollard, Ninkovich, and Koutouvides.