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Big 12’s Greatest NFL Players: Nebraska


When you’ve been playing football since 1890 and have experienced the levels of success that Nebraska has, great players aren’t difficult to come by. The Huskers currently have 33 players on NFL rosters. Among the notable players currently in the NFL are Chicago’s Mike Brown and Denver’s Correll Buckhalter. Former NFL greats Roger Craig, Tom Rathman, Irving Fryar, Will Shields and Neal Smith are all former Huskers and Craig, Shields and Smith could all make their own arguments for being the geatest Husker to play in the NFL.

Roger Craig won three Super Bowls with San Francisco and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection. Will Shields played in a mind blowing twelve consecutive Pro Bowls from 1995-2006. Neil Smith recorded 624 tackles, 104.5 sacks and made six Pro Bowl appearences. Each of their careers were impressive and could eventually land these guys in Canton but for the greatest NFL player from Nebraska we’re going old school.


In an attempt to confuse offensive linemen and hopefully cause a blown blocking assignment a defensive lineman will often "shift" or slide along the line of scrimmage. The person credited for this ploy is William Lyman. Recruited by former Husker great, Guy Chamberlin, Lyman joined the Canton Bulldogs in 1922. The two teamed together to produce undefeated championship seasons in 1922 and in 1923. He joined the Cleveland Bulldogs after the 1923 season and helped lead them to a championship.

Following the 1925 season Lyman joind the Chicago Bears and remained there for the remainder of his career. As a player for the Bears, Lyman helped lead them to a championship in 1933 and the divisional title in 1934. He retired after the 1934 with a total of four NFL Championships. In sixteen years of college and pro football William Lyman only experienced one losing season. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1964