Jan. 15, 2012
BERKELEY - Shane Vereen of the New England Patriots is the final former Cal football player remaining on the active roster of an NFL Playoff team heading into next Sunday's AFC and NFC Championship Games. Vereen and his teammates will host the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, January 22 (3:00 p.m. ET, CBS).
The winner of the Patriots-Ravens contest will advance to Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Sunday, February 5. The AFC champion will play in the Super Bowl against the winner of the NFC Championship Game to be played between the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers also on Sunday in San Francisco.
Cal has had at least one player on an active Super Bowl roster for each of the last 10 seasons.
Vereen was inactive for his first career game of the NFL Playoffs during New England's 45-10 win over Denver on Saturday but is on the team's 53-player roster and still eligible to be activated for future games. During the 2011 regular season, he rushed 15 times for 57 yards and a touchdown in five games off the bench.
Six other former Golden Bears played for teams that were eliminated from the NFL Playoffs during the Divisional rounds.
Defending Super Bowl champions Desmond Bishop and Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay had their season come to an end Sunday when the Packers were defeated at home by the New York Giants, 37-20. Rodgers was 26-of-46 for 264 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the loss. He also led the Packers with 66 yards rushing on seven attempts but was sacked four times, fumbled once and had a season low quarterback rating of 78.5. Bishop contributed five tackles and a pass defended. Both players started.
A day earlier on Saturday, the season came to an end for four former Cal players.
Brian De La Puente and Cameron Jordan of New Orleans were on a Saints' squad that was on the short end of a thrilling 36-32 loss at San Francisco. Jordan started on the defensive line and had six tackles, equaling his regular-season high. De La Puente was also a starter on the offensive line.
David Binn and Mike Mohamed were both on Denver's roster for the team's loss to New England. Binn, signed the day before the game, served as the Broncos' long snapper in his first regular season or playoff action since he was injured in the 2010 season opener while still with San Diego. Binn played three games with the Chargers in the 2011 preseason but was cut prior to the season opener by the team he spent 17 seasons with from 1994-2010. Mohamed was inactive for Saturday's game against the Patriots.
Cal started the NFL Playoffs with eight former players on active rosters of NFL teams.
Thomas DeCoud and Tony Gonzalez also participated in the NFL's Wild Card Weekend but were on an Atlanta squad that was eliminated after suffering a 24-2 road loss to the Giants. DeCoud had nine tackles as a starter at free safety, while Gonzalez started at tight end and had four catches for 44 yards.