Professional Football Round Up: Week 15
LAWRENCE, Kan. – With just one week remaining in the National Football League’s 16-week regular season slate, 12 Jayhawks continue making their mark at the game’s highest level. A recap of how Kansas football players fared in the professional ranks of the NFL and the Canadian Football League is below.
Jon Cornish – Calgary Stampeders (CFL)
Cornish announced his retirement from professional football on Dec. 2. Cornish walked away from the game after a nine-year career in the Canadian Football League, spent entirely with the Calgary Stampeders. After the Stampeders drafted him in the second round of the 2006 CFL draft, Cornish went on to post 6,844 rushing yards and 44 touchdowns to go along with 1,666 receiving yards and nine scores. Cornish’s list of accomplishments include being a two-time Grey Cup champion, the league’s Most Outstanding Player in 2013, a three-time CFL All-Star and the league’s rushing leader in three separate seasons.
Chris Harris – Denver Broncos
Harris and the Broncos clinched a playoff berth, 20-17 in overtime, over the Bengals on Dec. 28. Harris notched five tackles and broke up a pass in the win. With one game remaining against San Diego on Jan. 3, Denver is in first place of the AFC West Division with an 11-4 record. Harris has started all 15 games, made 57 tackles, forced two fumbles and picked off two passes. Harris and fellow Denver corner Aqib Talib were announced as 2015 Pro Bowl selections on Dec. 22.
Nick Harwell – Tennessee Titans
Tennessee signed Harwell to its practice squad on Dec. 16. After the 2015 NFL Draft Harwell signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys.
Tanner Hawkinson – Philadelphia Eagles
Hawkinson has not seen any action in 2015 after being signed by the Eagles in mid-October. Philadelphia holds a 6-9 record in the NFC East Division with one game remaining against the New York Giants.
Ben Heeney – Oakland Raiders
Heeney has seen increased playing time as Oakland prepares to travel to Kansas City on Jan. 3. In his last three games against the Broncos, Packers and Chargers, Heeney has accumulated 15 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. His best game occurred on Dec. 24 in Oakland’s 23-20 overtime win against San Diego. Heeney recorded a career-best eight stops. Heeney now has 34 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble in his rookie season with the Raiders. Oakland is currently third in the AFC West Division with a 7-8 record.
Steven Johnson – Tennessee Titans
Johnson has seen action in each of Tennessee’s 15 games this season, posting six tackles. The Titans are 3-12 in the AFC South Division and close out the regular season in Indianapolis against the Colts on Jan. 3.
Dexter McDonald – Oakland Raiders
McDonald has seen extended playing time since late November, playing in five-straight contests. He notched his first-career tackle at Denver on Dec. 13 and followed that up with a personal-best four stops against Green Bay a week later on Dec. 20. Oakland is currently third in the AFC West Division with a 7-8 record and will face Kansas City on Jan. 3.
Bradley McDougald – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
McDougald has started 14-of-15 games for Tampa Bay in 2015, emerging as a reliable tackler in the Buccaneers’ secondary. McDougald is third on the team with 82 total tackles with one game remaining at Carolina on Jan. 3. In the Buccaneers’ most recent game against Chicago on Dec. 27, McDougald wrapped up a season-high 10 tackles. Tampa Bay is currently 6-9 in the NFC South Division.
JaCorey Shepherd – Philadelphia Eagles
Shepherd is sidelined on the Eagles injured reserve list after tearing his ACL in the preseason.
Kevin Short – New York Jets
Short is a member of the Jets’ practice squad. The Jets beat New England in overtime, 26-20, on Dec. 27. New York is vying for a playoff spot, currently sitting at 10-5 in the AFC East Division.
Darrell Stuckey – San Diego Chargers
Stuckey increased his production in the Chargers’ last three games against Kansas City, Miami and Oakland. He turned in tackles in each of the three contests, including a season-high two stops against Miami on Dec. 20 and at Oakland on Dec. 24. On the year, Stuckey has made 11 tackles to go along with a sack. Stuckey is a nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
Aqib Talib – Denver Broncos
Talib and the Broncos clinched a playoff spot after beating Cincinnati in overtime, 20-17, on Dec. 28. Talib made two tackles in the victory. However, a week prior, against the Steelers on Dec. 20, Talib turned in a season-best eight stops along with two pass breakups. On the year Talib has recorded 40 tackles and picked off three passes, returning two for scores. Denver travels to San Diego on Jan. 3 to round out the regular season. Talib and fellow cornerback Chris Harris were selected to the AFC Pro Bowl team on Dec. 22.
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