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Since 1925
The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

Blue Streaks continue to leave imprints on the NFL

John Carroll Sports Information
Don Shula is a notable John Carroll alumni that successfully traveled the JCU to NFL pipeline.

Schools like Ohio State, Alabama and Louisiana State University are often mentioned when people think of colleges with player pipelines to the National Football League. However, John Carroll has a long history with the NFL, through players, staff and team personnel.

Historically, the most prominent names that come from John Carroll in association with professional football are Don Shula ‘51 and London Fletcher ‘98. Shula, the winningest NFL head coach of all time, played running back at John Carroll from 1948 to 1950. He is also the namesake of Don Shula Stadium. Fletcher ‘ played linebacker at John Carroll from 1995-1997. He then went on to make the trek from Division III to the NFL and played 15 NFL seasons with the Redskins, Rams and Bills. Fletcher won a Super Bowl with the Rams in 2000.

The trend of John Carroll graduates in the NFL, amplified by Fletcher and Shula, is alive and well today. As of now, there are 43 former Blue Streaks working in the NFL across 19 of the NFL’s 32 teams, with individuals working in positions such as front office, coaching, scouting, communications and more.

The last seven Super Bowls have also featured at least one John Carroll alumnus. Some have even worked their way up to the top of the ladder of professional football, with former John Carroll defensive coordinator Brandon Staley serving as the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, Nick Caserio ‘98 serving as the general manager of the Houston Texans and Chris Polian ‘93 serving as the director of pro personnel for the Washington Commanders. Chris Polian is also the brother of John Carroll athletic director Brian Polian ‘97.

The local and national media have recognized John Carroll for their pipeline to the NFL. In a segment on “Good Morning Football”, which is the NFL Network’s morning news program, host Peter Schrager called John Carroll a “hotbed” for NFL coaches, executives and trainers.

In a 2021 episode of the podcast “Pardon My Take”, Staley said that coaching at John Carroll was “more like coaching in the NFL than most anywhere in College Football” and called John Carroll’s football program an “NFL environment.”

Staley is not alone in his sentiment that John Carroll is a place that can prepare people to coach and work in the NFL. Tom Arth ‘03, the current passing game specialist for the Los Angeles Chargers, said “I would not be who I am if it wasn’t for John Carroll.”

The sentiment expressed by both Staley and Arth shows the mark that John Carroll leaves on those who come on the campus. If you ask anyone involved with sports on John Carroll’s campus why there are so many Blue Streaks in the NFL, they will tell you that John Carroll has a unique way of getting people ready for the working world, regardless of career field.

Brian Polian argues that how John Carroll develops its graduates can prepare them for a career in professional football. “Our graduates are multi-dimensional and that allows them to succeed in a business that requires people to utilize different skill sets,” Polian told The Carroll News. “This campus produces young people who are able to think critically, communicate clearly, lead, and are not afraid of competition. Those traits translate well to professional sports, as well many other pursuits.”

Polian’s words show that John Carroll’s faculty and staff work hard to prepare students for the real world and that process has borne the fruit of alums working in one of the most prestigious sports leagues in the world.

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