Seven former MSU players, representing four different teams (Cincinnati, Houston, Minnesota and Washington), will be in action during this upcoming Wild Card Weekend (Jan. 9-10).
EAST LANSING, Mich. â€“ Ten former Michigan State players â€“ Houston linebacker Max Bullough, Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, Houston safety Kurtis Drummond, Denver wide receiver Bennie Fowler, Houston quarterback Brian Hoyer, New England wide receiver Keshawn Martin, Houston wide receiver Keith Mumphery, Cincinnati defensive tackle Domata Peko, Arizona quarterback Drew Stanton and Minnesota cornerback Trae Waynes â€“ are scheduled to participate in the 2016 NFL Playoffs.
Seven former MSU players, representing four different teams (Cincinnati, Houston, Minnesota and Washington), will be in action during this upcoming Wild Card Weekend (Jan. 9-10). Next weekend, three more former Spartans will begin postseason play as Denver, New England and Arizona host the Divisional Playoffs.
Wild Card Weekend Schedule
Saturday, Jan. 9
Kansas City at Houston, 4:20 p.m. (ESPN)
Former Spartans playing: LB Max Bullough (Houston), S Kurtis Drummond (Houston), QB Brian Hoyer (Houston), WR Keith Mumphery (Houston)
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 8:15 p.m. (CBS)
Former Spartans playing: DT Domata Peko (Cincinnati)
Sunday, Jan. 10
Seattle at Minnesota, 1:05 p.m. (NBC)
Former Spartans playing: CB Trae Waynes (Minnesota)
Green Bay at Washington, 4:40 p.m. (FOX)
Former Spartans playing: QB Kirk Cousins (Washington)
Hereâ€™s a look at the 10 former Spartans who will be playing in the NFL Playoffs:
LB Max Bullough â€“ Houston Texans (second season)
Collected a career-high 30 tackles (16 solo, 14 assists) in 13 games of action for the AFC South Champion Texans . . . tallied a season-high eight stops (four solo, four assists) in Houstonâ€™s 20-6 win over Tennessee in Week 8 . . . had four tackles vs. Jacksonville in the regular-season finale as the Texans clinched the AFC South with a 30-6 win over the Jaguars; received the game ball from head coach Bill Oâ€™Brien following the victory for his three tackles on special teams . . . finished the season ranked 14th on the team in tackles (30) . . . CAREER: Has 31 tackles in 14 career games.
QB Kirk Cousins â€“ Washington Redskins (fourth season)
Fourth-year quarterback had a career year in leading Washington to the NFC East Division title . . . registered career highs in all passing categories, including completion percentage (.698), passing yards (4,166), touchdowns (29), completions (379), attempts (543) and passer rating (101.6) . . . set several single-season franchise records, including passing attempts (543), completions (379), passing yards (4,166) and 300-yard passing games (seven) . . . led the NFL with a 69.8 completion percentage; that mark also ranks second in franchise history and eighth highest in NFL single-season history . . . became the first Redskins quarterback to lead the NFL in completion percentage since Sonny Jurgensen in 1970 . . . posted the third 4,000-yard passing season in team history, joining Jay Schroeder (1986) and Brad Johnson (1999) . . . started all 16 games and will be making his first career postseason start . . . one of just two QBs in the NFL, along with Seattleâ€™s Russell Wilson, to throw at least one TD pass in every game this season (16-game streak is second longest in team history) . . . finished ranked among the NFL leaders in completion percentage (first at .698), passer rating (fifth at 101.6), completions (seventh with 379), passing yards (10th with 4,166), passing attempts (12th with 543) and passing TDs (12th with 29) . . . ranked third in the NFL among quarterbacks with five rushing touchdowns . . . named NFC Player of the Month after leading the Redskins to a 4-1 record, including a current four-game winning streak, in December and January; threw for 1,379 yards with 13 TDs in those five games, and his 127.2 passer rating led the NFL . . . has registered a 100-plus passer rating in six consecutive games â€“ the longest streak by a Redskins quarterback in records available back to 1960 â€“ and nine games overall during the regular season . . . in Washingtonâ€™s six home wins this season, completed 149-of-195 passes (.764) for 1,755 yards with 14 touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 127.2 . . . enters the playoffs having thrown 232 consecutive pass attempts at home without an interception dating back to Week 1 vs. Miami, the longest such home streak in team history according to the Elias Sports Bureau . . . engineered the greatest comeback in team history in Week 7 vs. Tampa Bay; down 24-0 late in the second quarter, accounted for four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) and was 33-of-40 passing for 317 yards in leading the Redskins to a 31-30 victory; named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his effort against the Buccaneers . . . his performance marked just the sixth time since 1970 a Redskins quarterback posted 300 passing yards, three passing TDs and no interceptions in a single game . . . after a 2-4 start, the comeback win over Tampa Bay has sparked the Redskins to a 7-3 record their last 10 games; during those contests, Cousins has completed 72 percent of his passes (228-of-315) for 23 touchdowns and three interceptions (119.1 passing rating) . . . completed 20-of-25 passes for 324 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 10 against New Orleans to post the 17th perfect passer rating (158.3) by an NFL quarterback since the turn of the century (min. 20 att.) . . . accounted for three 300-yard passing games in a row from Week 14-16 in wins over Chicago (300 yards), Buffalo (319) and Philadelphia (365) . . . completed 31-of-46 passes for a season-high 365 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in the win over the Eagles in Week 16 as Washington clinched the NFC East title . . . CAREER: Has thrown for 7,196 yards and 47 touchdowns while completing 65 percent of his passes (619-for-950) in 30 career games.
S Kurtis Drummond â€“ Houston Texans (rookie season)
Recorded 14 tackles (12 solo, two assists) in nine games of action . . . spent the first half of the season on the practice squad before making his NFL debut in Week 8 on Nov. 1, 2015, against Tennessee; had two tackles and forced a fumble against the Titans . . . had three tackles each against Buffalo (Week 13), Tennessee (Week 16) and Jacksonville (Week 17).
WR Bennie Fowler â€“ Denver Broncos (second season)
After spending the 2014 season on the practice squad, recorded 16 catches for 203 yards (12.7 avg.) in his first active season on the AFC West Champion Broncos . . . ranked fifth on the team in receiving yards and eighth in receptions during the regular season . . . had a season-high four catches for 50 yards in the Week 3 win at Detroit.
QB Brian Hoyer â€“ Houston Texans (seventh season)
Completed 61 percent of his passes (224-for-369) for 2,606 yards, 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 11 games, including nine starts, while leading the Texans to the AFC South title . . . recorded career highs in touchdown passes (19) and completion percentage (.607) . . . had a 91.4 quarterback rating during the regular season . . . threw for a season-high 312 yards and two touchdowns and completed 77 percent of his passes (24-of-31) in Week 5 against the Colts . . . had three touchdown passes and was 24-of-36 passing for 293 yards in win over Jacksonville in Week 6 . . . matched his season high with three TDs vs. Miami in Week 7 . . . tied his season high with three touchdowns in completing 26-of-43 passes for 293 yards at Buffalo in Week 13 . . . completed 63 percent of his passes (25-of-40) for 249 yards and a touchdown in the regular-season finale vs. Jacksonville as the Texans clinched the AFC South title . . . CAREER: Has thrown for 7,163 yards and 38 touchdowns while completing 58 percent of his passes (580-for-999) in 43 career games . . . prior to joining the Texans in 2015, previously played for the Patriots (2009-11), Steelers (2012), Cardinals (2012) and Browns (2013-14).
WR Keshawn Martin â€“ New England Patriots (fourth season)
Traded from Houston to New England at the beginning of the season . . . recorded career highs in receptions (24) and receiving yards (269) and tied his career high with two touchdown catches in nine regular-season games for the Patriots, including eight starts . . . has started six consecutive games entering the playoffs for the AFC East Champions . . . also had 257 kick return yards on 10 returns (25.7 avg.), including a career-long 75-yarder . . . caught three passes for 33 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown grab from Tom Brady, in his first game as a Patriot in Week 3 vs. Jacksonville . . . had a career-high seven catches for 68 yards in Week 16 against the New York Jets . . . CAREER: Has 62 catches for 685 yards and five TDs in 57 career games.
WR Keith Mumphery â€“ Houston Texans (rookie season)
Had 14 receptions for 129 yards (9.2 avg.) in 16 games, including three starts, for the AFC South Champion Texans . . . recorded a season-high 56 receiving yards on four catches (14.0 avg.) vs. Atlanta in Week 4 . . . also had four grabs for 23 yards vs. Indianapolis in Week 5.
DT Domata Peko â€“ Cincinnati Bengals (10th season)
Recorded a career-high five sacks for the AFC North Champion Bengals . . . tallied 35 tackles overall while starting all 16 games . . . ranked fourth on the team in sacks and 13th in tackles . . . had two sacks in the win over the Chiefs in Week 4 . . . posted a season-high four tackles in the victory over the Seahawks in Week 5 . . . also had sacks against Houston (Week 10), Cleveland (Week 13) and San Francisco (Week 15) . . . CAREER: Has 479 tackles, including 18.5 sacks, in 155 career games (140 starts), all with the Bengals . . . has started the last 99 games (regular season and postseason).
QB Drew Stanton â€“ Arizona Cardinals (ninth season)
Ninth-year veteran quarterback is the back-up behind Carson Palmer for the NFC West Champion Cardinals . . . completed 11-of-25 passes (.440) for no touchdowns and two interceptions in seven games of action . . . was 8-of-18 passing for 84 yards in Week 17 vs. Seattle . . . CAREER: Has completed 55 percent of his passes (247-of-452) for 2,973 yards, 12 touchdowns and 16 interceptions during his nine seasons in the NFL (28 career games) . . . has played for three different teams (Lions from 2008-11; Colts in 2012; Cardinals from 2013-15).
CB Trae Waynes â€“ Minnesota Vikings (rookie season)
First-round draft pick (No. 11 overall) collected 30 tackles (26 solo, four assists) in 15 regular-season games, including one start (Week 14 vs. Arizona), in helping the Vikings win the NFC North Division title . . . had a season-high five stops and a pass break-up in Week 3 win against San Diego . . . collected four tackles and two pass break-ups in Minnesotaâ€™s 21-18 victory over the Rams in Week 9 . . . matched his season high with five tackles against the Cardinals in Week 14 . . . had 12 tackles during a three-game stretch (five vs. Arizona in Week 14; four vs. Chicago in Week 15; three vs. New York Giants in Week 16) . . . finished the season with four passes defended.
A total of 21 former Spartans saw action in the NFL during the 2015 season. Below is an update on the other Spartans currently on active NFL rosters who played during the regular season.
RB Leâ€™Veon Bell â€“ Pittsburgh Steelers (third season)
Was limited to six games of action during the 2015 season following his All-Pro season in 2014 in which he led the AFC in rushing (1,361 yards) and set a Steeler single-season record for most yards from scrimmage (2,215) . . . rushed for 556 yards on 113 carries (92.7 ypg.; 4.9 avg.) and three touchdowns . . . also had 24 receptions for 136 yards . . . crossed the 100-yard mark in three of his six games (22 carries for 129 yards vs. Baltimore; 21 for 111 vs. San Diego; 17 for 121 vs. Kansas City) . . . in a Monday night win at San Diego in Week 5, rushed for a 1-yard touchdown from the wildcat formation on the last play of the game to give the Steelers a 24-20 victory over the Chargers . . . CAREER: Has rushed for 2,777 yards on 647 carries (79.3 ypg.; 4.3 avg.) and 19 touchdowns in 35 career games . . . has also caught 152 passes for 1,389 yards and three TDs.
TE Garrett Celek â€“ San Francisco 49ers (fourth season)
Finished his fourth season with career highs in receptions (19), receiving yards (186) and touchdown catches (3) . . . played in 11 games, including eight starts, before finishing the season on injured reserve due to an ankle injury . . . finished tied for second on the team in TD receptions (3) and sixth on the team in receptions (19) receiving yards (186) . . . had three receptions for a season-high 40 yards in the Week 1 win over Minnesota . . . had three catches for 26 yards and caught his first career TD pass in Week 5 against the Giants . . . caught a career-high two touchdown passes in the win over Atlanta in Week 9 . . . CAREER: Has 27 catches for 328 yards (12.1 avg.) and three TDs in 39 career games.
TE Kellen Davis â€“ New York Jets (eighth season)
Eighth-year veteran tight end had three receptions for 18 yards and one touchdown in nine games of action, including three starts . . . CAREER: Has 53 catches for 579 yards (10.9 avg.) and 13 touchdowns in 117 career games.
CB Darqueze Dennard â€“ Cincinnati Bengals (second season)
Tallied 20 tackles (14 solo, six assists) in 10 games of action, including his first career start vs. Arizona in Week 11; unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against the Cardinals . . . collected five tackles in the Week 1 win over Oakland . . . had a career-high six tackles vs. Kansas City in Week 4 . . . recorded his first career interception in the Week 6 victory vs. Buffalo . . . CAREER: Has 37 tackles (28 solo, nine assists) in 24 career games.
DE William Gholston â€“ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (third season)
Ranked fifth on the Buccaneers with a career-high 67 tackles (47 solo, 20 assists), including a career-high three sacks . . . played in all 16 games, including a career-high 11 starts . . . had a career-high two sacks in Week 13 win over Atlanta . . . tallied a career-best 11 stops (seven solo, four assists) vs. St. Louis in Week 15 . . . CAREER: Has recorded 139 tackles, seven sacks and eight passes defended in 43 career games, including 22 starts.
LB Taiwan Jones â€“ New York Jets (rookie season)
Was on the active roster for the final three games of the season but did not see game action . . . spent a majority of the season on the practice squad.
RB Jeremy Langford â€“ Chicago Bears (rookie season)
Finished his rookie season ranked first on the Bears in rushing touchdowns (six), second in rushing yards (537) and carries (148), seventh in receiving yards (279), and tied for seventh in receptions (22) . . . his 537 rushing yards ranked 21st in the NFC and seventh among all rookies in the NFL . . . his six rushing TDs ranked tied for fourth among rookies in the NFL . . . had 140 all-purpose yards in Monday night win at San Diego in Week 9 (18 carries for 72 yards and one TD; three catches for 70 yards) . . . posted a season-high 182 all-purpose yards in the Week 10 victory at St. Louis; had 20 rushes for 73 yards and one TD against the Rams, in addition to seven catches for 109 yards, including an 83-yard TD reception . . . became just the third Chicago Bears player in franchise history, joining Gale Sayers (1965) and Walter Payton (1977), to have 100 receiving yards, a receiving touchdown and a touchdown run in the same game . . . recorded a rushing TD in four consecutive games (Weeks 9-12) . . . rushed for a career-high 83 yards on 19 attempts in Week 16 win at Tampa Bay.
CB Tony Lippett â€“ Miami Dolphins (rookie season)
Recorded 13 tackles in nine games of action during his first season with the Dolphins . . . had a season-high five stops against the Colts in Week 16.
TE Dion Sims â€“ Miami Dolphins (third season)
Hauled in 18 catches for 137 yards and one TD in 13 games, including four starts . . . had four receptions for 33 yards and a touchdown in Week 6 win at Tennessee . . . CAREER: Has 48 receptions for 443 yards and four touchdowns in 42 career games.