Nine former Minnesota standouts make NFL rosters
Antoine Winfield Jr. / Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Football | 9/6/2020 9:53:00 AM
Nine former University of Minnesota Golden Gophers made the initial 53-man roster for eight different NFL teams.
There are two Gophers each on the Arizona Cardinals (De’Vondre Campbell and Maxx Williams) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Tyler Johnson and Antoine Winfield Jr.) and one each on the Green Bay Packers (Kamal Martin), Houston Texans (Eric Murray), Kansas City Chiefs (Damien Wilson), New York Giants (Carter Coughlin) and New York Jets (Blake Cashman).
The NFL season kicks off on Thursday as the Texans play at the Super Bowl champions Chiefs, meaning former college teammates Murray and Wilson will be going head-to-head. Murray was originally drafted by the Chiefs in 2016 and signed a three-year contract with the Texans this offseason after spending time in Kansas City and Cleveland. Wilson was a 2015 draft pick by the Cowboys and spent his first season in Kansas City winning a Super Bowl with the Chiefs.
Wilson was the first Gopher to play in a Super Bowl since 2016 when both Campbell and Ra’Shede Hageman were members of the Atlanta Falcons and he was the first Gopher to hold the Lombardi Trophy since Matt Spaeth won the 2009 Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Campbell inked an offseason deal with Arizona after spending four seasons with the Falcons. He is reunited with former Gopher teammate Maxx Williams in the desert.
Tampa Bay selected Johnson and Winfield in the 2020 NFL Draft. Johnson is Minnesota’s all-time leading receiver, while Winfield last year was named Minnesota’s first unanimous All-American since Greg Eslinger in 2005.
Cashman had a promising rookie season with the Jets cut short in 2019 after suffering a shoulder injury. He is healthy now and is primed to make an impact in 2020.
Coughlin, who played high school ball with Cashman at Eden Prairie, will be a rookie this year with the New York Giants after being taken in the seventh round of the 2020 draft.
Martin was Green Bay’s breakout star of training camp and was pushing for a starting job before having to undergo knee surgery last week. He is reported to be out several weeks.