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IU football alumni gear up for the start of the NFL season



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Then-junior running back Tevin Coleman gets ready to stiff-arm a defender during IU's game against Purdue on Nov. 29, 2014, at Memorial Stadium. Coleman made the Super Bowl this year with the San Francisco 49ers and will look to build on his success this season. IDS file photo and Rachel Meert

While this year’s IU football team is unable to play this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many former Hoosiers are preparing to play on Sundays in the NFL.

Tevin Coleman, San Francisco 49ers

Running back Tevin Coleman, who was drafted in 2015 by the Atlanta Falcons, is now out West playing for the San Francisco 49ers. He has played in two Super Bowls, including Super Bowl LI in 2017 when the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots. 

Last season, Coleman was a part of the 49ers' running back committee, helping San Francisco win the NFC Championship before falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Coleman will be looking to carve out a larger role in the 49ers’ backfield after the departure of Matt Breida to the Miami Dolphins. 

Jordan Howard, Miami Dolphins

The Chicago Bears selected Hoosier alumnus, running back Jordan Howard, in the 2016 NFL Draft.

The former fifth-round pick ran for more than 1,000 yards in his first two seasons with the Bears. After a disappointing 2018 season, Howard was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles summer2019 and rushed for 525 yards before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.

This season, Howard is hoping for a fresh start with the Miami Dolphins and will split carries with Breida, according to ProFootballTalk.

Rodger Saffold, Tennessee Titans

In 2019, the Tennessee Titans went to the AFC championship behind a strong rushing attack. The most tenured Hoosier in the NFL was the left guard of that rushing attack. Rodger Saffold was drafted in 2010 by the then-St. Louis Rams in the second round.

Saffold blocked for Derrick Henry last year, who was the first player ever to rush for more than 170 yards in consecutive playoff games. Saffold and the rest of the Titans are looking to continue their domination at the line-of-scrimmage and clear a path for one of the most potent rushing attacks in the NFL.

Dan Feeney, LA Chargers 

Another product out of “offensive line U” is Dan Feeney. The Los Angeles Chargers’ left guard was drafted in the 2016 draft in the third round. Feeney got off to a fast start in his NFL career, winning the starting job early in his rookie season and hasn’t looked back. 

This year Feeney will be tasked with protecting the blind-side of a new quarterback in veteran Tyrod Taylor, who is replacing long time Charger in Philip Rivers. 

Nate Sudfeld, Philadelphia Eagles

Nate Sudfeld began last year as the backup quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles but lost the spot when he broke his wrist early in the preseason. This season, the Eagles drafted quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round, who is battling Sudfeld for the second-string job.

Eagles’ starting quarterback Carson Wentz has suffered a lot of injuries in his young career, and with Hurts vying for the number-two role, this season may be Sudfeld’s last chance at meaningful playing time.

Simon Stepaniak, Green Bay Packers

The newest Hoosier to make the NFL is Simon Stepaniak. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round of the 2020 draft, extending IU’s streak to six-straight years with a player drafted. 

Despite suffering a torn ACL in late December while preparing for the Gator Bowl, Stepaniak impressed at the NFL Combine — benching 37 reps in the 225-pound bench press which was second only to California State University, Fresno’s Netane Muti’s 44 reps.

Stepaniak is fighting for a backup spot on the Packers’ depth chart, according to Packers.com.

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