Ken Sugiura

Tech ties in NFL playoffs

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Cornerback Rod Sweeting  was an undrafted free agent out of Tech, he was signed by the New Orleans Saints. (Johnny Crawford / AJC File)

Cornerback Rod Sweeting was an undrafted free agent out of Tech, he was signed by the New Orleans Saints. (Johnny Crawford / AJC File)

Six of the eight teams remaining in the NFL playoffs have players or coaches (or other staff) with ties to Georgia Tech. Here’s the list:

New Orleans Saints
Cornerback Rod Sweeting received playing time on defense in the Saints’ wild-card round win over Philadelphia after starter Keenan Lewis left the game with a head injury. Lewis is expected to play Saturday at Seattle.

Photos: 25 players with Georgia ties in the playoffs

Carolina Panthers
Jason Benguche was a strength and conditioning coach at Tech from 2008 to 2012.

Indianapolis Colts
Running back Tashard Choice was picked up by the Colts a few days after he was released by Buffalo Dec. 4. Choice has played in all four games since, including the Colts’ 45-44 win over Kansas City last weekend.

New England Patriots
Tight ends coach George Godsey has been on the Patriots staff since 2011, coming from Central Florida. He is reportedly a candidate to join Bill O’Brien (a former Tech assistant under George O’Leary) with the Houston Texans as offensive coordinator. It would be Godsey’s first coordinating job, and one in which he could conceivably train the first overall pick in the NFL draft, which Houston holds.
James Liipfert, a former linebacker whose last season was in 2008, has worked in the team’s scouting department since 2009 and is now an area scout.

San Diego Chargers
Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was scheduled to interview for three head coaching openings this week, Detroit Thursday, Tennessee Friday and Cleveland Saturday. San Diego finished fifth in total offense this season, Whisenhunt’s first with the Chargers, after finishing 31st last season.
San Diego’s offensive line coach is Joe D’Alessandris, who served on coach Chan Gailey’s staff at Tech and then followed him to the NFL with Kansas City and Buffalo. This is also his first year in San Diego.

Denver Broncos
Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas caught 92 passes this season, ninth in the league, and his 14 touchdowns catches tied for second in the league and led all wide receivers. He was chosen for his second Pro Bowl in December.


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