Jayhawks in the Pros #18

Jan. 14, 2013

011413aab_211_8474391.jpegLAWRENCE, Kan. – As the NFL reaches its penultimate weekend of the season, two Jayhawks remain alive in the playoffs as cornerback Aqib Talib and linebacker Mike Rivera helped the New Englad Patriots knock off the Houston Texans in the Divisional Round this past weekend. Two other Jayhawks, cornerback Chris Harris and linebacker Steven Johnson, also participated in the playoffs this past weekend as their Denver Broncos fell to the Baltimore Ravens.

Chris Harris
Cornerback Chris Harris completed his second season with the Denver Broncos on Saturday. Harris started at right cornerback in Denver’s 38-35 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round of the AFC playoffs. Harris broke up four passes and collected three tackles in the game. During the 2012 season, he played in 15 games, made 12 starts and recorded 61 tackles, including 2.5 sacks. Harris also added 12 pass breakups and three interceptions. He returned two of his picks for touchdowns. In his two-year career, Harris has played in 31 games for Denver and tallied 133 stops, broken up 18 passes and collected four interceptions. He signed with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent following the 2011 NFL Draft.

Steven Johnson
Linebacker Steven Johnson finished his first year with the Denver Broncos on Saturday, as well. Johnson played on special teams and recorded a tackle in Denver’s 38-35 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round of the AFC playoffs. Johnson played in 11 games, seeing more action in the final two months of the regular season. He recorded 10 tackles, including nine solo stops and added a forced fumble during his rookie campaign. Johnson signed with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent following the 2012 NFL Draft in April.

Mike Rivera

Linebacker Mike Rivera is in his first season with the New England Patriots and is one step away from the Super Bowl. Rivera played in the Patriots’ 41-28 win over the Houston Texans Sunday in the Divisional Round of the AFC Playoffs, but did not record any statistics. Rivera played in 11 games during the regular season (10 with New England, one with Miami) and collected nine tackles. He played in the first two games of the season with New England before appearing in Week 4 with the Miami Dolphins. After being released by the Dolphins the following week, he was re-signed by the Patriots. Rivera was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Chicago Bears in 2009. He has spent time with Chicago, Tennessee, Green Bay, Miami and New England in his career.

Aqib Talib
Cornerback Aqib Talib is in his fifth season in the NFL and started in his first playoff game Sunday for the New England Patriots. Talib recorded a career-high 10 tackles to help New England advance to the AFC Championship game with a 41-28 win over the Houston Texans Sunday. During the 2012 season, Talib played in 10 games this season (four with Tampa Bay, six with New England) and totaled 40 tackles with 10 pass breakups and two interceptions, including one he returned 59 yards for a touchdown in his first game in New England. Talib was traded to the Pats midway through the regular season. In his career, the former KU All-American has made 201 tackles, recorded 56 pass breakups and collected 19 interceptions, including four he has returned for touchdowns. He was a first-round pick by Tampa Bay in the 2008 NFL Draft.

Photo credits: Front page – Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports; Inside – Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports.

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