The 10 Greatest Canadian NFL Players Of All-Time
From Calgary To LaSalle To The Super Bowl.
Photo cred - Pro Football Talk
Hide the chips and the seven-layer dip, Super Bowl Sunday is almost here. While the holy day is more of a tradition for those south of the border, Super Bowl XLIX features a pair of Canadians who have been integral to the Seattle Seahawks return to the big dance. They've also single-handedly broken the Internet with memes and their new found success presents the question: who are the greatest Canucks to ever play in the NFL? We hit the history books to find out - one slow clap at a time.
If concussions didn't get the best of him, Collie could have easily become the Canadian version of Wes Welker. The wide receiver was an offensive threat with the Indianapolis Colts in 2009-2010 - making 118 catches for 15 touchdowns in just 25 regular season games - and despite his rough cameos with the 49ers, Patriots, and Redskins, the 29-year-old remains the pride of Steeltown.
The Mississauga native is still young and unproven, but unsurprisingly, the Ravens' recent fourth round pick is already being compared to star defensive end J.J. Watt. His size (6'7, 295 lbs) makes him a force to be reckoned with and his potential speaks volumes in Baltimore's system, especially as he's bound to learn from the likes of Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley, and Daryl Smith.
The Toronto-born stud didn't exactly see a lot of time at quarterback, but he did manage to become an NFL starter during his five years in the league. He also basked in the limelight thanks to an appearance on The Bachelor and his current venture as a studio analyst and broadcaster for ESPN.
Photo cred - Pro Football Talk
Is Regina's Jon Ryan the greatest ginger-haired punter to ever live? Without a doubt. The Seahawk forever enshrined his mug during Seattle's recent conference championship win over Green Bay as he initiated a comeback with a fake field goal touchdown pass. That's right. The first by a Canadian and the very first by a punter in NFL playoff history.
Willson hasn't exactly become an Internet meme/sensation/prodigy like his fellow teammate, but he has been vital to Seattle's success. The 25-year-old tight end has presented himself to be an offensive weapon and with one TD catch in two playoff games, it wouldn't be surprising to see him best New England's infamous TE on Super Bowl Sunday. LaSalle represent!
A veteran in the truest sense, Burleson played for four different NFL teams from 2003-2013 and had his best year in 2004 when he racked up 1,006 receiving yards and nine touchdowns for Minnesota. He was eventually beloved in Seattle and Detroit, and it shows in his final stat line as he achieved 457 catches, 5,630 yards, and 39 TDs in just 135 games. Fun fact: Calgary's brightest is also a rapper.
There once was a point in time when Windsor's O.J. Atogwe was one of the best and most feared players at free safety. From 2006 to 2011, he was the only defensive back to rank among the top five in the NFL in interceptions, forced fumbles, and fumble recoveries. In short, he hit guys. Hard.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, and raised in Toronto, Franklin has been a go-to guard/tackle for the Denver Broncos since being drafted in 2011. He's also been a 6'7, 320-pound boulder in front of the great Peyton Manning as he's started every game he's dressed for - including Super Bowl XLVIII.
Photo cred - Spokeo
Like Franklin, Rob Meier was a formidable iron man. The Vancouver native wasn't exactly a superstar defensive tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 00s', but he did find a way to stay healthy, missing only six games from 2000 to 2009 while recording a total of 173 tackles and 21.5 sacks.
Shaun Suisham is indisputably an NFL MVP - if we're talking about the league's "Most Valuable Placekicker". The Wallaceburg, Ontarian paid his dues earlier on his career - playing for three teams from 2005-2009 and missing 10 field goals in 2008 - but he's been consistently great for the Pittsburgh Steelers. In black and yellow, he's nailed 91.5% of his kicks, including a career best 53-yarder in 2014.