A Look Back at Paul Posluszny’s Career
Penn State alum Paul Posluszny announced his retirement from football on Tuesday after an 11-year career with the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Posluszny was a second-round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft after a storied career at Penn State from 2003-2006.
Let’s take a look back at Posluszny’s football career.
Penn State University: 2003-2006
Posluszny was recruited by Coach Joe Paterno and made an immediate impact as a freshman wearing number 39 and the Penn State faithful knew from the start that he would be a special player. Posluszny made his debut for the Blue and White in a 20-14 loss to Minnesota. In a 52-7 drubbing of Indiana, Posluszny jumped a simple route and returned the pass 15 yards for a touchdown. He totaled 36 tackles in the 2003 campaign. The Western Pennsylvania native was later named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team.
In 2004, he switched to number 31 the great Shane Conlan wore during his at Penn State in the mid 1980’s. Posluszny’s presence on the field could be felt far and wide as the 2004 defense held teams to under 300 yards per game while surrendering an average of just over 15 points per game. That 2004 defense was in the top 5 for almost every single statistical category from game one to the end of the season. An All-Big Ten selection and Academic All-Big Ten selection, Posluszny led the team in tackles in the final year of the dark ages with 104 in the 11-game season.
During the 2005 season, Posluszny became the first junior captain at Penn State since Mike Reid and Steve Smear in 1968. Posluszny was out to prove that Penn State was a force to be taken seriously and that other teams will have to bring their best. He tallied 116 tackles and won the Butkus Award for the best linebacker and the Bednarik Award for the best defensive player. He joined LaVar Arrington as the only Nittany Lion to win both awards. No. 31 was also named as a member of the 2005 All-America Team. Posluszny led the Nittany Lions to a Big Ten Championship and a berth in the Orange Bowl. However, his game was cut short in the fourth quarter in South Florida after Florida State running back Lorenzo Booker chop blocked Posluszny’s leg causing two ligaments to tear. A potential first-round pick, he then decided to return for his senior season in 2006.
The 2006 season was a step back record-wise for the Nittany Lions but Posluszny’s desire to get better was still ever so present. He played with a heavy-duty brace on his leg but it was if the injury never happened. He had 116 tackles for the second consecutive season and broke Greg Buttle’s school record for tackles in a 12-0 over Purdue on November 4th, 2006. He led the Nittany Lions to a 9-4 season and convincing 20-10 over Tennessee in the Outback Bowl. Posluszny joined former Northwestern linebacker and current Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald as only the second person to win the award twice. He was named to the 2006 All-America Team and the first linebacker in a long line of legends at Linebacker U to be a two-time AP-All American. Paul Posluszny graduated Penn State with a 3.57 GPA and was named 2006 Academic All-American of the Year. He was also named a finalist for the Draddy Trophy, which is given to the nation’s top student-athlete.
Buffalo Bills: 2007-2010
Posluszny was drafted in the second round with the 34th pick overall by the Buffalo Bills in the 2007 NFL draft. The Nittany Lion legend signed a four-year 4.75-million-dollar deal in the summer of 2007 with a guarantee of 2.55 million. He was named the starting middle linebacker during his rookie season. However, his rookie season was cut short by a broken forearm. He returned in the 2008 season and racked up his first career interception off of Brett Favre and was later named the Bills defensive MVP. During the 2009 season, Posluszny broke his forearm again but only missed four games. In that same season, he intercepted Tom Brady and later finished with 111 total tackles. In his final season with the Bills, he had 151 combined tackles and made a move to inside linebacker. Posluszny then became an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2010 season and his time in Buffalo came to a close. In his time in Orchard Park, Posluszny totaled 398 combined tackles, 295 total tackles, 103 assisted tackles, three sacks, and four interceptions.
Jacksonville Jaguars: 2011-2018
On July 29th, 2011, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed Posluszny to a six-year 45-million-dollar contract that included a guaranteed 13 million dollars and a signing bonus of 10 million dollars. Most of Posluszny’s success at the professional level while wearing the Jaguar teal and black. He was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2013 and finished that 2013 season with 122 solo tackles in 15 games with 15 starts. His 2014 season was cut short by a torn pectoral muscle and missed the final nine games. In his later years in Jacksonville, specifically the final two years, Posluszny received an overall grade of 88.4 from Pro Football Focus and it ranked fourth among all linebackers during the 2016 season. In Posluszny’s final season, it was the first time that he was part of a team that had a winning record, won a division title, and made the playoffs. He was held without a tackle in their 10-3 win over the Buffalo Bills in the wild-card round but he was able to get his first playoff win. Posluszny then closed out his time with the Jaguars with 984 tackles, which is good for second in franchise history behind Daryl Smith.
In his 11-year career, Paul Posluszny played in 145 games with 1,214 combined tackles, 882 total tackles, 332 assisted tackles, 16 sacks, 15 interceptions, and one touchdown.
Paul Posluszny gave football fans in Western Pennsylvania, Happy Valley, Buffalo, and Jacksonville plenty of thrills in his time on the gridiron. His toughness, grit, determination, and passion for the game were unrivaled. The cut on the bridge of his nose and wide-eyed appearance struck fear in the eyes of opposing offenses for years. His presence on Sundays will be greatly missed by football fans all over the country.
Christopher Hess is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.