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12 Boilers Bravely March Onto the 2015 NFL Season

There are 12 Boilers currently on active rosters in the NFL.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Today the 2015 NFL season kicks off in full and Purdue is down to just 12 former Boilermakers still kicking around in the league. Several long-time veterans have seen their careers end and even some of the more recent players have already been flushed out of the league. It looked like a few rookies that received some UFA invites would have a chance, but only two rookies will make their debut.

So here are the 12 Boilermakers left standing:

Drew Brees - Quarterback - New Orleans Saints - Most likely, by the end of the season Brees will become the fourth quarterback in NFL history to pass for 60,000 yards. Not bad for a guy the Chargers gave up on after only three years. Brees is only adding to a Hall of Fame career at this point. He may not get the all-time passing record, as Peyton Manning will likely break Brett Favre's record later this year and who knows how far out he will set it. Currently, Brees is 4th in NFL history with 56,033 passing yards. He needs 5,228 yards to reach Dan Marino in 3rd place.

Cliff Avril - Defensive End - Seattle Seahawks - Avril came within two yards of a second Super Bowl ring last season and he is one of the highest paid defensive ends in the game. He only had five sacks last year.

Ryan Kerrigan - Linebacker - Washington Redskins - Kerrigan just signed a $57 million 5-year contract extension with $23.8 million in guaranteed money, so at worst, we have someone to send a donation letter to as we begin a capital campaign to upgrade the football facilities. He is also a very, very good linebacker on a lousy team.

Rob Ninkovich - Defensive End - New England Patriots - Ninkovich already had three tackles in Thursday's season-opening win over Pittsburgh. He also has a shiny new Super Bowl ring.

Ryan Russell - Defensive End -  Dallas Cowboys - Russell is one of two rookies making his debut from Purdue this season.

Anthony Spencer - Linebacker - New Orleans Saints - Spencer is on injured reserve with New Orelans and will not play at all this season.

Bruce Gaston - Defensive Tackle - Green Bay Packers - Gaston was officially with Miami and Arizona last season, but has hooked on with the Packers full-time now.

Mike Neal - Defensive Tackle - Green Bay Packers - Neal already has a Super Bowl ring with Green Bay and now he can player shoulder-to-shoulder with Gaston.

Kawann Short - Defensive Tackle - Carolina Panthers - Short is entering his third season in Carolina after 40 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 2014. He always played in the playoffs and helped his team to a postseason win over Arizona.

Dennis Kelly - Offensive Tackle - Philadelphia Eagles - Kelly has been a solid offensive lineman for Philly, and he is entering his fourth year.

Kevin Pamphile - Offensive Tackle - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Pamphile has the unenviable task of protecting Jameis Winston, a guy that needs to be hit a few times.

Gabe Holmes - Tight End - Oakland Raiders - I am as surprised as you are, but Holmes made the Raiders' roster as an undrafted free agent.

Ricardo Allen - Safety - Atlanta Falcons - The 12th and final player (13th if you still count Spencer), is Allen, who fought off of the practice squad and made the final roster for Atlanta.

Practice Squad

Raheem Mostert - Running Back - Philadelphia Eagles - Mostert had a huge preseason, but did not make Philly's official roster. He was brought back to the practice squad, however.