Current Huskers in pro football aren’t only making plays in the NFL. In fact, you can find a number of former players on fields of all shapes and sizes across North America.
Let’s start where the field is is 110 yards long and 65 yards yard wide. That’s right, the Canadian Football League. Nebraska Cornhuskers have littered the Canadian fields for years.
From Vince Ferragamo to Turner Gill to Dahrran Diedrick and even 2001 Heisman trophy winner Eric Crouch. Huskers have left a deep imprint on the Great White North
Perhaps the most decorated Husker who played in the CFL is Barron Miles. Miles was a defensive back for Tom Osborne’s first national championship team in 1994. After spending a season in NFL Europe, Miles transitioned to the Canadian League and embarked on an illustrious career for the Montreal Alouettes.
He spent six years with the Alouettes before leaving for the BC Lions, retiring after four more seasons . After retirement, he spent two seasons as a coach. Miles finished his CFL career No. 2 all-time in interceptions with 66 and No. 1 in career blocked kicks with 13, a favorite activity of his in Lincoln.
The CFL currently hosts two Big Red alumni. Former Husker kicker Brett Maher recently signed a free agent deal with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and defensive tackle Terrence Moore is a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ roster. Moore has been in Hamilton, Ontario since 2012 with 14 career tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery to his name.
Moving on to 50 yard fields brings a whole host of Huskers in pro football who continue to shine at a higher level.
Let’s start with running back and Arena Football League fullback Dan Alexander. You guys remember Alexander, right?
Now that I’ve refreshed your memory, Alexander spent four seasons in the AFL after a brief stint in the NFL. In his AFL rookie year with the Nashville Kats, he made the league’s All-Rookie team after rushing for 105 yards and five touchdowns while notching 12.5 tackles in just under half a season of work.
Other ex-Arena League players include Steven Warren, Josh Heskew, Demoine Adams, and Jermarcus “Yoshi” Hardrick.
Current AFL notables include Arizona Rattlers offensive lineman Keith Williams and wide receiver Maurice Purify, a league standout. In 2011, Purify was named Rookie of the Year and Breakout Player of the Year while also earning second team All-Arena honors.
He continued to add hardware to his trophy case by earning the Arena Bowl MVP award after scoring seven touchdowns in 2012.
The early 2000s were good to local teams such as the Omaha Beef and Lincoln Lightning. Former Huskers littered the rosters of both teams with such notables as Clinton Childs, Damon Benning, and Dwayne Harris.
Today, you can see the likes of Cortney Grixby, Andre Jones, and Antonio Bell on the fields of the Champions Professional Indoor Football League. Grixby has been a standout for both the Beef and more recently the Lincoln Haymakers, having earned numerous All-League honors during his seven year career.
Speaking of the Haymakers, the entire coaching staff is made up of former Huskers. Defensive coordinator Josh Bullocks is joined by Keyou Craver on head coach Cory Ross’s staff.
There are plenty of former Huskers in pro football making names for themselves outside of the National Football League. I encourage all of you to visit your local indoor football and arena football teams along with other professional leagues if you can. You never know who may show up.
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Tags: Nebraska Cornhuskers