So the forum topic on NFL coaches' playing careers got me to wondering about where the Big Ten coaches played and if any of them played in the NFL. So, here is the comprehensive rundown. As of now, it includes Tim Brewster. Nothing on interim HC Jeff Horton, as I can't find any info on his playing days. Note that Brewster and Fitzgerald appear to be the only ones who even attempted to play in the NFL - Brewster got cut in 2 training camps, and Fitz signed a FA contract with Dallas, only to give up playing after the preseason.
Not really sure what any of this shows other than that they all played college ball somewhere with varying levels of success (Fitz easily the most decorated, many of the others just have token notes that they played). They're just alphabetical by school, but if I had to rank the top 3 based on what I've found, it'd go Fitzgerald, Brewster (I know, right?), and Pelini.
|Illinois||Ron Zook||DB||Miami (NTM)|
|Indiana||Bill Lynch||QB||Butler||4 varsity letters; Captain of basketball team|
|Michigan State||Mark Dantonio||DB||USC (NTUSC)||3-year letter winner|
|Minnesota||Tim Brewster*||TE||Illinois||Training camps||2-time All-Big Ten|
|Nebraska||Bo Pelini||FS||Ohio State||2-year starter, co-captain|
|Northwestern||Pat Fitzgerald||LB||Northwestern||FA with Dallas, one preseason only||2 time Big Ten DPOTY, Nagurski and Bednarik trophies twice, CFB Hall of Fame|
|Ohio State||Jim Tressel||QB||Baldwin-Wallace||4 letters, 1 all-conference|
|Penn State||Joe Paterno||QB/CB||Brown|
|Wisconsin||Bret Bielema||NG||Iowa||4 letters|