Thirteen from S. Jersey make NFL rosters

Posted: September 08, 2012

Players from the seven-county South Jersey area have a long history in the NFL, and the tradition is continuing this season.

Thirteen local players were on opening-day, 53-man NFL rosters. An additional five players were on injured reserve, the practice squad, or the reserve/non-football injury list.

The most recognizable name is Audubon grad Joe Flacco, the fifth-year starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens, who guided his team to the AFC championship game last season. In that game, against the New England Patriots, the Ravens were one dropped pass from reaching the Super Bowl.

Flacco is teamed in Baltimore with another former Colonial Conference player, offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie of Woodbury.

In 2008, Flacco was a first-round draft choice of the Ravens, the 18th overall selection, from the University of Delaware. He is the last South Jersey player to be selected in the first round.

Flacco is the only starting quarterback since the 1970 merger to reach the playoffs in each of his first four seasons. He is among 16 area players since 1963 who have been selected in the first round of the NFL draft.

Another in that category is South Jersey's most successful player, former Pittsburgh Steelers and Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris, from Rancocas Valley. Harris starred on four Super Bowl-winning teams for the Steelers.

In addition to the players, there will be one head coach this season with area ties, but an asterisk has to be put next to his name. After serving a six-week suspension given for the New Orleans Saints' bounty system, Joe Vitt will serve as interim head coach the rest of the season. Vitt is a graduate of Highland High.

Contact Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225, or @sjnard on Twitter.

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