Five Buffs Still Alive In NFL Playoff Action
BOULDER - Five former University of Colorado football players are still alive in the NFL playoffs this weekend in divisional action. DL Justin Bannan (Baltimore), P Mitch Berger (Pittsburgh), DL Tyler Brayton (Carolina), WR D.J. Hackett (Arizona) and TE Quinn Sypneiwski (Baltimore) will all look to advance with their respective teams to the conference championship games.
Hackett and Brayton will be facing each other asa Arizona travels to face Carolina Saturday (6:15 p.m. MT) while Baltimore travels to Tennessee Saturday (2:30 p.m. MT) and Pittsburgh hosts San Diego Sunday (2:45 p.m. MT).
- Bannan is the starting left defensive tackle for the play-making Ravens' defense; he is in his seventh NFL season and his third with the Ravens. He spent the first four years of his career with the Buffalo Bills after they drafted him in the fifth round of the 2002 NFL Draft.
- He recorded two solo-tackles in the the Ravens 27-9 win over the Dolphins during last week's Wild Card Weekend, the opening week of the NFL Postseason. Bannan and the Ravens travel to Tennessee this Sunday to play the Titans in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (Mountain); the game will air nationally on CBS.
- Bannan and his defensive teammates forced the Dolphins into five turnovers (four interceptions and a forced fumble) after Miami had only turned the ball over 13 times during the entire 16-week regular season.
- Berger is the punter for the AFC North Champion Pittsburgh Steelers; he is in his 14th NFL season and his first with the Steelers. He spent the first 13 years of his NFL career primarily with the Minnesota Vikings (1996-2001) and New Orleans Saints (2003-2006), but also spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles (1994), Chicago Bears (1995), St. Louis Rams (2002) and Arizona Cardinals (2007).
- Berger punted the ball 66 times in 2008 for 2,728 yards without having one blocked or returned for a touchdown and with 19 of them downed inside the 20 yard line.
- Berger and his Steelers teammates will be hosting the San Diego Chargers this Sunday in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs; kickoff is set for 2:45 p.m. and will be aired nationally on CBS.
- Brayton started all 16 games for the NFC South Champion Carolina Panthers this season. Brayton is in his sixth NFL season and first with the Panthers, he spent his first five seasons with the Oakland Raiders after they drafted him in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft.
- Brayton recorded 40 tackles (35 solo) and 4.5 sacks this season for Carolina.
- Brayton and the Panthers host Arizona Cardinals in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs Saturday at 6:15 MDT; the game will air nationally on Fox.
- Hackett is in his fifth NFL season, his first with the NFC South Champion Carolina Panthers; he spent his first four NFL seasons with the Seattle Seahawks after they drafted him in the fifth round of the 2004 NFL Draft.
- Hackett has played in nine games for the Panthers this season, recording 13 receptions for 181 yards-including two catches for 37 yards in their regular season finale against the New Orleans Saints.
- Hackett and the Panthers host Arizona Cardinals in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs Saturday at 6:15; the game will air nationally on Fox.
- Sypniewski is in his third season in the NFL, all of which have been with the Ravens after they drafted him in the fifth round of the 2006 NFL Draft.
- Sypniewski played in 31-of-32 games his first two years in the league, starting 12 of those games. He recorded 34 receptions for 246 yards and a touchdown in 2007 and was continuing to impress in the offseason before suffering a torn ACL during spring workouts that landed him on injured reserve for the 2008 NFL season.
- Sypniewski will be supporting his Ravens teammates this Saturday when they travel to Tennessee to play the Titans in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.; the game will air nationally on CBS.