Eighteen former Boise State football players remain on NFL rosters as the season ends Sunday with the Super Bowl — including safety Jeron Johnson of the Seattle Seahawks, who will make his Super Bowl debut after missing last year’s game with an injury.
The Seahawks will play the New England Patriots at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, the site of the Broncos’ three Fiesta Bowl wins. Johnson was a redshirt on the team that won in 2007 and a starter on the team that won in 2010.
“Hopefully we can keep the trend going,” he said.
I’ll have more on Johnson in Thursday’s newspaper.
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Here’s a rundown of how the former Broncos fared in the NFL this season — plus updates on a dozen others with ties to Idaho:
TE Richie Brockel, Panthers: He only played four games in his fourth season because of an ankle injury. He had played 16 games each of the previous two years.
OT Ryan Clady, Broncos: Clady started every game in 2014, the sixth time in his seven years that he’s done that. He only played two games in 2013 because of a serious foot injury. He had some trouble in the first half of the season in his return but played better late in the season. He was selected to the Pro Bowl for the fifth time. “I was struggling with (the foot) early in the season,” Clady told DenverBroncos.com. “I just tried to stay on top of it with treatment and stuff. It's the hardest injury I've ever had. I'm a year and a half from the first surgery now, and I still feel a little soreness here and there.”
OG Daryn Colledge, Dolphins: He started 13 games but also missed three games (back, migraines) — the first time in his college or pro career that he didn’t play. He has played in 141 games in his NFL career with 137 starts. He is a free agent.
DE Tyrone Crawford, Cowboys: The third-year pro started 15 regular-season games in a breakout effort. He recorded 33 tackles, three sacks, one pass defended and one forced fumble. He also started both playoff games. The Dallas Morning News ranks him the best bargain on the Cowboys’ 2015 roster.
S George Iloka, Bengals: The third-year pro has started every game the past two seasons. He amassed 74 tackles, 10 passes defended and three interceptions this season. He has earned a reputation as one of the better safeties in the league and with one year left on his contract he could cash in this offseason.
S Jeron Johnson, Seahawks: The fourth-year pro served as the Seahawks’ third safety and a key special-teamer. He made his first career start, appeared in 15 games and totaled a career-high 19 tackles. He added a pass breakup and a fumble recovery.
DE DeMarcus Lawrence, Cowboys: The rookie didn’t have a sack in the regular season but he recorded two in the playoffs, including the forced fumble that sealed the Cowboys’ win against the Lions.
OT Charles Leno Jr., Bears: The rookie started a game vs. the Vikings in November and appeared in five others.
RB Doug Martin, Buccaneers: The former first-round pick and rookie sensation of 2012 has endured two straight difficult seasons. He started each of his 11 games in 2014 but rushed for just 494 yards and two touchdowns. He rushed for 1,454 yards, added 472 receiving yards and scored 12 touchdowns in 16 games as a rookie. He has 950 rushing yards, 130 receiving yards and three touchdowns in 17 games since. Former Boise State coach Dirk Koetter, the Bucs’ new offensive coordinator, will try to get him back on track in 2015.
LB Shea McClellin, Bears: The former first-round pick’s move to linebacker didn’t quiet persistent critics in Chicago. He started 10 of his 12 games and contributed 36 tackles, one sack and one pass defended. There’s speculation that the Bears’ new coaching staff will install a 3-4 defense, which could provide a better fit for McClellin.
QB Kellen Moore, Lions: Moore has spent three years as the third-string quarterback without entering a regular-season game. He has played well in the preseason, though. He is a restricted free agent in 2015 and backup Dan Orlovsky is a free agent. Moore has told Detroit media that he’d like to return to the Lions to back up Matthew Stafford. Others have suggested the Lions might try to fill the job through the draft. “Certainly everyone wants to play, but I love it here,” Moore told MLive.com. “It’s been awesome. Not many guys get a chance to be somewhere for three years and I’ve gotten to learn from a lot of veterans who have done a lot of good things — Dan (Orlovsky), Shaun (Hill) and Matthew (Stafford). I learn from those guys and hopefully help them a little bit."
C Matt Paradis, Broncos: He spent his first year in the NFL on the practice squad.
WR Austin Pettis, Chargers: Pettis was cut after five games with the Rams this season. He made 12 catches for 118 yards and a touchdown. He signed with the Chargers after the season. “I’m very, very excited to be a San Diego Charger,” Pettis told Chargers.com. “Obviously I’m from Southern California, and the scenario of having a well-established offense with a good passing game was important. They have a lot of weapons they utilize, and I’m just hoping I can help as one of those weapons. I feel I can really help out in the passing offense. There were a lot of other factors that came into play that made me really comfortable.”
CB Orlando Scandrick: He started in all 14 of his regular-season games and both playoff games in 2014. He finished with 55 tackles, one sack, nine passes defended, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
CB Jamar Taylor, Dolphins: He made the first three starts of his two-year career and played in 12 games. He contributed 31 tackles. A shoulder injury derailed him late in the season.
DT Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, Chargers: The undrafted free agent sustained a season-ending injury in the preseason.
CB Kyle Wilson, Jets: The fifth-year pro and former first-round draft pick hasn’t missed a game in his career. He didn’t make a start in 2014, contributing 26 tackles and one pass breakup. Wilson is a free agent. “I’m not really worried about it too much,” he said in December. “I believe in myself.”
DL Billy Winn: He made five starts in 13 games this season and finished with 31 tackles, two passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble. He has started 18 of 40 career games over three years. His salary will increase by nearly $1 million in 2015, according to ESPN.com.
OTHER IDAHO TIES
DE Jared Allen, Bears (Idaho State): The 11th-year pro made a career-low 5.5 sacks, ending his streak of seven straight years with at least 10. He also made 56 tackles and broke up four passes. If the Bears move to a 3-4 defense, Allen is expected to go elsewhere.
OL Mark Asper, Dolphins (Bonneville HS): He finished the 2014 season on the Dolphins’ practice squad.
DE Brandon Bair, Eagles (South Fremont HS): He made 17 tackles in 16 games in 2014.
LB JoJo Dickson, Chiefs (Idaho): He didn’t appear in a game in 2014. He spent time on the Chiefs’ practice squad.
C Evan Dietrich-Smith, Buccaneers (Idaho State): The fifth-year pro started each of his 15 games. He has started 40 games in his career, including 31 over the past two years.
TE Josh Hill, Saints (Idaho State): The second-year pro made three starts in 16 games. He scored five touchdowns on 14 catches for 176 yards. He also led the team in special teams tackles. “When you get a tight end that potentially is going to be your special teams player of the year that is a good thing,” coach Sean Payton told NewOrleansSaints.com. “He is one of those players had he went to the combine he probably would have been drafted. If you just took his numbers and plugged them in, height, weight, speed, vertical jump, broad jump, production, they are pretty impressive. He was a great addition for us, a great sign for us a couple of years ago.”
OG Mike Iupati, 49ers (Idaho): He started each of his 15 games and made his third Pro Bowl. He has started 75 games in five pro seasons and is a free agent in 2015. "It’s going to suck if I do go somewhere (else). This is my home,” he told 49ers.com. “I really want to stay here, and I'm sure we'll try to work something out."
S Shiloh Keo, Bengals (Idaho): He started 11 games with the Texans in 2013 but didn’t play in 2014 before getting cut in September. He signed with the Bengals after the season.
DE Benson Mayowa, Raiders (Idaho): He appeared in every game and started once, contributing 13 tackles in his second season. He spent his first season with the Seahawks.
LB Korey Toomer, Rams (Idaho): The rookie appeared in seven games with the Rams and one with the Cowboys in 2014.
OG Hugh Thornton, Colts (Mountain View HS): He started eight of his 10 games for the Colts before injuries derailed him. He has 20 career starts in two seasons.
WR Justin Veltung, Rams (Idaho): He started the year on the Rams practice squad but was cut in October.
Dirk Koetter (Boise State) and Tom Cable (Idaho): Koetter, the former Broncos coach, moved from the Falcons to the Buccaneers as offensive coordinator for 2015. Cable, the former Vandals coach, will go for his second straight Super Bowl title as the assistant head coach and offensive line coach for the Seahawks.
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