Eight Former Spartans Prepare For NFL Playoffs
Jan. 6, 2007
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Eight former Michigan State players - Dallas offensive tackle Flozell Adams, Seattle outside linebacker Julian Peterson, New York Jet tight end Chris Baker, New York Jet safety Eric Smith, New York Giant wide receiver Plaxico Burress, San Diego defensive tackle Brandon McKinney, Baltimore wide receiver Derrick Mason and Chicago wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad - are scheduled to participate in the 2007 NFL Playoffs. Five former Spartans, representing four different teams (Dallas, Seattle, New York Jets and New York Giants), will be in action during this Wild Card Weekend (Jan. 6-7). Next weekend, three more former Spartans will begin postseason play as San Diego, Baltimore and Chicago host the Divisional Playoffs.
The 6-foot-7, 340-pound Adams started all 16 regular-season games at left tackle for the Cowboys, who finished sixth in the NFC in rushing while averaging 121.0 yards per game. Dallas running back Julius Jones ranked 10th in the NFC with 1,084 rushing yards.
The 6-3, 235-pound Peterson, who started all 16 regular-season games for Seattle, ranked seventh in the NFC in sacks, with a career best 10 for 89 yards. He also finished fourth on the team in tackles, with 89 including 71 solo stops. Peterson posted double-figure tackles in back-to-back games in late October, with 12 stops against Minnesota (2 sacks) and 10 at Kansas City. He will make his third Pro Bowl appearance on Feb. 10.
The 6-3, 258-pound Baker started 14 of 16 regular-season games for the Jets. He finished third on the team in receptions, with a career best 31 for 300 yards (9.7 avg.). His four touchdown catches also matched a career high. Baker had four receptions each at Minnesota (33 yards), at Green Bay (50), against Miami (39) and at Tennessee (34).
The 6-1, 209-pound Smith appeared in all but one regular-season game as a rookie with the Jets. He recorded 27 tackles (19 solos, 8 assists) and two interceptions in 2006. Smith produced a career-best seven tackles against Houston, including six solo hits. He intercepted one pass each against Oakland and at Cleveland.
The 6-5, 232-pound Burress started 15 games during the regular season for the Giants and his 10 TD receptions tied for second in the NFC. He led the team in receiving yards (988) and ranked second in receptions (63). Burress recorded two 100-yard receiving games in 2006, with both coming against Philadelphia (6 catches for 120 yards on Dec. 17 and 6 grabs for 114 yards on Sept. 17).
The 6-2, 324-pound McKinney saw action in six games in November and December as a rookie with San Diego. He had two solo tackles and a pass break-up in the regular-season finale against Arizona.
The 5-10, 192-pound Mason started 15 of 16 regular-season games for the Ravens. He finished second on the team in receptions (68) and third in receiving yards (750). Mason caught seven passes each at Cincinnati (90 yards) and at Cleveland (season high 132).
The 6-2, 215-pound Muhammand started all 16 regular-season games for Chicago and led the team in receptions (60) and receiving yards (863). He posted three 100-yard receiving games in 2006, including a season-best 123 yards on seven catches at the New York Giants. Muhammad had a season-high nine receptions for 118 yards at Minnesota. He caught six passes for 102 yards at Green Bay.
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