MEAC Players in the 2021 NFL Playoffs
NORFOLK, Va., Jan. 7, 2021 – A glance at the players from Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) member institutions who are playing for teams competing in the NFL Playoffs, which start this weekend with the Wild Card round.
Antonio Hamilton, CB, Kansas City Chiefs (South Carolina State)
Hamilton played in all 16 games this season for the defending Super Bowl champions, recording 12 tackles (nine solo), a pass defense and a quarterback hit in limited action as a reserve. The Chiefs are the No. 1 seed in the AFC and have the conference’s lone bye; they will face the lowest-remaining seed after this weekend’s games on the weekend of Jan. 16-17.
Darryl Johnson, DE, Buffalo Bills (North Carolina A&T State)
Johnson played in 15 games for the Bills, the No. 2 seed out of the AFC and AFC East champions, this season. He had 14 tackles (1 solo) on the season, including three for loss and a sack. The 2018 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year also recorded three quarterback hits. The Bills will play host to the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday in the Wild Card round; kickoff is at 1:05 p.m. on CBS.
Darius Leonard, LB, Indianapolis Colts (South Carolina State)
A Pro Bowl honoree this season, Leonard started 14 games for the Colts, racking up 132 tackles (86 solo), seven tackles for loss and three sacks. The two-time MEAC Defensive Player of the Year and 2018 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year also defended seven passes, forced three fumbles and recovered two on the season. The Colts, the AFC’s No. 7 seed, will be on the road on Saturday to take on the Buffalo Bills; kickoff is at 1:05 p.m. on CBS.
Ryan Smith, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (North Carolina Central)
Smith played in all 16 games for the Buccaneers, the NFC’s No. 5 seed, this season. Combining for four tackles in a reserve role, Smith is part of a Tampa Bay defense that helped lead the team to a Wild Card spot; as such, the Buccaneers will be on the road to face the Washington Football Team, champion of the NFC East, on Saturday at 8:15 p.m. The game will be televised on NBC.
Alex Brown (Kansas City Chiefs / South Carolina State) and Tarik Cohen (Chicago Bears / North Carolina A&T State) are both on teams that made the playoffs this season, but both suffered season-ending injuries during the regular season.
(This Story and Information Courtesy of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference)