Wrestling and Football


Many of the positions and skills are transferable between both sports.  Some of those skills include but are not limited to footwork, hand-eye coordination, explosive movements, balance, agility, quickness, upper body strength, and stamina.

Wrestling breeds mental toughness – wrestlers will not break under adversity. This skill alone is enough to propel football teams to victory in the second half.

Wrestlers learn tremendous discipline – making the right decisions and sacrifices to reach their goals. In football that translates to carrying out your blocks downfield and getting the job done, whatever that may be.

The aggressiveness a wrestler develops from practice and competition positions them to make big plays on the football field and go after their opponents on either side of the ball.

Wrestling teaches self-reliance – the ability to make things happen without expecting help from others.  Football championships are won when each member of a team can count on every other to get his job done.

Wrestling pits opponents based on weight and skill-level.  The lineman gets off-season experience going head-to-head with others his size.  A lighter weight player gains experience without the obstacle of facing much larger opponents.

Learning how to beat the man in front of you is an ability you cannot ignore!


Dave Chun, Edgemont Football Captain ’11:

“Football players will benefit tremendously from wrestling. Wrestling develops confidence and instills accountability. Wrestling fortifies mental toughness. Facing adversity and conquering it is a principle all football players need. Wrestling also develops you athletically. The wrestling staff is flexible and understanding. They’ll accommodate the needs of football if that’s your first priority.”

What can wrestling do for a football player?

But don’t take our word for it! Check out what these football coaches have to say:

"I would have all of my offensive lineman wrestle if I could.”

– John Madden, Hall of Fame Football Coach

“I love wrestlers; they are tough and make great football players.”

       – Mike Stoops, National Championship Football Coach at University of Oklahoma

“Wrestlers make coaching football easy. They have balance, coordination, and as a staff, we know they’re tough.”

– Tom Osborne, College Hall of Fame Coach at University of Nebraska

“I draft wrestlers because they are tough. I’ve never had a problem with a wrestler.”

– Joe Gibbs,  Hall of Fame Football Coach

"Well-respected by coaches and teammates for his tough, aggressive nature (comes from his prep wrestling background)."

– NFL Draft Scout on Alex Stepanovich

See the connection for yourself:

Finally, here’s a list of NFL Players who wrestled. See the connection yet?

Rodney Michael

Marques Harris - CO State Champ

Larry Turner

Andrew "Tyler" Lenda - District Champ

Matt Roth - IA State Champ

David Pollack

Tim Burrough - OK State Champ

Antoineo Harris - IL State Champ

Claude Harriott

Scott Wells - TN State Champ

Alex Lewis - District Champ

Rodney Leisle

Nick Newton

Sean Tufts

Brian Save

Kevin Atkins

Josh Minkins - District Runner-up

Tim Euhus

Andrew Tidwell-Neal - MN State Champ

Renaldo Works

Patrick "Bucky" Babcock - IL State Champ

Morgan Pears

Flozell Adams, DE, Dallas Cowboys

Tim Anderson - OH State Champ

Art Baker, RB, Buffalo Bills

Rhonde Barber, SS, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tiki Barber, RB, New York Giants

Walter Barnes, DL, Washington Redskins - SEC Champ

Eric Bateman, OL, New York Jets

Harris Benton

Brad Benson, New York Giants - PA State Champ

Greg Boone, RB, Oakland Raiders

Ryan Binghom, Sand Diego Chargers - 2x State Champ

Jeff Bostic*, C, Washington Redskins - SC State Champ

Kevin Breedlove - SC State Finalist

Clinton "C.J." Brooks, Jr.

Ronnie Brown, RB, Miami Dolphins (#2 Pick)

Tedy Bruschi*, ILB, New England Patriots

Bob Bruenig*, LB, Dallas Cowboys

Phil Bryant, Philadelphia Eagles - 2x National Prep Champ

Luis Castillo, DT, San Diego Chargers (First Round Pick)

Ralph Cindrich, Houston Oilers - PA State Runner-Up

Jonathan Condo, LS, Dallas Cowboys - PA State Champ, Dapper Dan Champ

Tom Cousineau*, LB, Cleveland Browns  - 3rd State

Tom Covert*, OT, Chicago Bears

Benjamin Claxton - GA State Finalist

Chris Cooley, TE, Washington Redskins

Colin Cole, Seattle Seahawks

Jonathan Condo

Roger Craig*, RB, San Francisco 49'ers

Andrew Crummy - Cincinatti Bengals

Damien Covington, LB, Buffalo Bills

Curley Culp*, DL, Kansas City Chiefs - NCAA Champ

Larry Czonka**, RB, Miami Dolphins

                               Hall of Fame

                                Running Back

                                from the Miami

                                Dolphins, Larry



                                opponents on the

                                wrestling mat as

                                well as the


Rob Davis, ST, Green Bay Packers

Dan Dierdorff**, OT, St. Louis Cardinals

Donnie Edwards, OLB, San Diego Chargers

Carl Edwards, San Diego Chargers - 3x MD State Champ

Rob Essink, Seattle Seahawks - NCAA DII Champ

Jim Everett, QB, New Orleans Saints

DeMarco Farr, St. Louis Rams

Patrick Flannery, OL, Houston Oilers

Ed Flanagan, C, Detroit Lions

Tony Fiametta - Carolina Panthers

Terrell Fletcher, RB, San Diego Chargers

Bill Fralic*, G,  Atlanta Falcons

Doug France*, LT, Los Angeles Rams - OH State Runner-Up

Antonio Garay, DL, Chicago Bears - State Champ

Frank Garcia, C, St. Louis Rams - 2x AZ State Champ

William George, Chicago Bears - 2x PA State Champ

Charlie Getty, RG, Kansas City Chiefs - 2x NCAA All-American

John Gilmore, TE, Chicago Bears

Kevin Glover*, C, Detroit Lions Eric Ghiaciuc, C, Cincinatti Bengals - MI State Champ

La'Roi Glover*, DE, Dallas Cowboys

Mike Goff, G, Cincinnati Bengals

Bob Golic*, DT, Cleveland Browns - OH State Champ

Mike Golic, DE, Philadelphia Eagles

Darien Gordon, PR/CB, Denver Broncos

Scottie Graham, RB, Minnesota Vikings

Tim Green, DE, Atlanta Falcons

Kelly Gregg, NT, Baltimore Ravens, 3x KS State Champ

Morlon Greenwood, OLB, Miami Dolphins

Archie Griffin, HB, Cincinnati Bengals

Nick Griesen, LB, New York Giants

Randy Grossman, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers

John Hannah**, G, New England Patriots

John Hartunian

Nick Hardwick - San Diego Chargers

Nick Harper, CB, Tennesee Titans

Carlton Haselrig*, Pittsburgh Steelers, 3x NCAA Champ

William Hayes, Tennesee Titans

Ron Heller, TE, Seattle Seahawks

Chad Hennings, DT, Dallas Cowboys - IA State Champ

Jay Hilgenberg*, C, Chicago Bears - IA State Runner-Up

Lincoln "Drew" Hodgdon, C, Houston Texans - CA State Champ

Orlando Huff, MLB, Seattle Seahawks

Joey Hildbold

Corey Hulsy, G, Oakland Raiders

John Jackson, T, Pittsburg Steelers

Bo Jackson*, RB, Oakland Raiders

Mario Johnson, DT, New England Patriot

Cody Johnson

Trevor Johnson

Dahanie Jones, LB, Cincinatti Bengals

Henry Jordan**, DT, Green Bay Packers

Dave Joyner, OL, Green Bay Packers

John Jurkovich*, DT, Cleveland Browns

Alex Karras, Detroit Lions

Patrick Kearney, DE, Atlanta Falcons

Tim Krumrie*, DL, Cincinnati Bengals - WI State Champ

Ernie Ladd, DL, Kansas City Chiefs

Chris Laskowski

Nick Lecky, C, - KS State Champ (in 2004 NFL Draft)

Jess Lewis, LB, Houston Oilers

                                 Ray Lewis, Pro

                                 Bowl Linebacker

                                 for the Baltimore

                                 Ravens, was a

                                 Florida 4A State


                                 Champion at

                                 189 lbs.

Ray Lewis*, Baltimore Ravens - 2x FL State Champ

Nick Leckey - TX State Champ

Ronnie Lott**, DB, San Francisco 49'ers

Kirk Lowdermilk*, OL, Minnesota Vikings

Sean Mahan, G, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Malczyk, LS, New York Giants

Alex Mack - Cleveland Browns

Joel Mackavicka, RB, Seattle Seahawks

Steve Martin, DT, Houston Texans

Mickey Marvin, RG, Oakland Raiders

Aaron Maybin, DE - Buffalo Bills - 4th State

Napolean McCallum, RB, Oakland Raiders

Randle McDaniel*, G, Minnesota Vikings

Mark McDonald, SS, Arizona Cardinals

Chris McIntosh, T, Seattle Seahawks

Bryant McKinnie, T. Minnesota Vikings

                                 Future Hall of

                                 Famer Randall

                                 McDaniel was a

                                 wrestler before

                                 he was named

                                 to 12 NFL Pro


Scott McKillop - San Francisco 49'ers

Gerald McRatha - Tennesee Titans

Greg Meisner, DL, Los Angeles Rams

Matt Millen*, LB, Oakland Raiders

Ronald Moore, RB, Cleveland Browns

James Mungro, HB, Indianapolis Colts

Jim Nance, FB, New England Patriots - NCAA Champ

Lorenzo Neal, FB, Tennessee Titans - NCAA Champ

Stephen Neal, OL, New England Patriots - NCAA Champ

Jeremy Newberry, C, San Francisco 49'ers

Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh Steelers - PA State Champ

Leo Nomellini*, T, San Francisco 49'ers - Big 10 Champ

Jonathan Ogden*, OT, Baltimore Ravens

Shane Olivea

Irv Pankey, Los Angeles Rams - 2x MD State Champ

Tony Pape, San Diego Chargers

Mike Patterson, DT, Philadelphia Eagles (First Round Pick)

David Patten, WR, New England Patriots

Brandon Pearce, Arizona Cardinals

Scott Peters, G, New York Giants

Bob Pickens, OL, Chicago Bears

Jim Plunkett*, QB, Oakland Raiders

Dave Porter, T, Green Bay Packers

Chris Pressley, Cincinatti Bengals

Mike Pyle, C, Chicago Bears - IA State Champ

Rocky Rasley, G, Detroit Lions

Mike Reid, Cincinnati Bengals

Eric Rhett, RB, Cleveland Browns - FL State Champ

Willie Roaf*, OT, New Orleans Saints

Erik Robertson, San Diego Chargers

Leon Robinson - GA State Runner-Up

Warren Sapp*, DT Tampa Bay Buccaneers - FL State Champ

Kevin Sampson - NJ State Champ

Adam Seward, ILB, Carolina Panthers - NV State Champ

Mark Schlereth*, OL, Washington Redskins - Alaska State Champ

Cory Schlesinger, LB, Detroit Lions - NE State Champ

Steve Sefter, DT, Philadelphia Eagles, 2x PA State Champ & NCAA All-American

Tony Siragusa*, DT, Baltimore Ravens - NJ State Champ

Pro Bowl Defensive Tackle Warren Sapp was a Florida State Champion wrestler in High School.

Fred Smerlas*, Buffalo Bills - MA State Champ

Bruce Smith**, DE, Washington Redskins

Brad St. Louis, TE, Cincinnati Bengals

Larod Stephens-Howling - Arizona Cardinals

Alex Stepanovich

Matt Suhey, RB, Chicago Bears

Bill Szott, OL, Washington Redskins - NJ State Champ

Dave Szott, Kansas City Chiefs - NJ State Champ

Terrance Taylor - Indianapolis Colts - State Champ

Woody Thompson, RB, Atlanta Falcons - PA State Champ

Jim Thorpe**, HB, New York Giants

Mike Trgovac, DC, Carolina Panthers - OH State Champ

Kyle Turley*, T, St. Louis Rams

Tai Tupai

Ryan Turnbull, RB, Cleveland Browns

Tommy Vardell, RB, San Francisco 49'ers

Adam Vinatieri*, K, New England Patriots

Gabe Watson, Arizona Cardinals

Gregory Walker - State Finalist

John Ward, OL, New York Jets - NCAA All-American

Fred Weary, C, Houston Texans - AL State Champ

Zachary Wilson

Charles White*, HB, Los Angeles Rams

Randy White*, DT, Dallas Cowboys

Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons - 2x SC State Champ (First Round Pick)

Cory Widmer, LB, New York Giants

Coy Wire, SS, Buffalo Bills - PA State Champ

Leo Wisniewski, NT, Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts - PA State Champ

Steve Wisniewski, G, Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders - CA State Champ

Ricky Williams*, RB, Miami Dolphins

Coy Wire, LB, Buffalo Bills - PA State Runner-Up

Greg Wojochowski, St. Louis Rams


**Hall of Famer

Ety Rybak, Edgemont Football Captain ’96:

“Having played football and wrestled, I can tell you that wrestling definitely makes you a better football player. Wrestling forces you to grow up and get tough really fast, making you better on the football field and better in life. As a lineman, the quickness you develop wrestling helps you win each head-to-head battle on the line. The competition of wrestling drives you and makes you hungrier to win in football and all sports.”

Liam Cronin, Edgemont Football Captain ’04:

"Wrestling helped me develop the balance and coordination needed to play offensive line. More importantly, however, it taught me about the hard work and determination I needed to play NCAA football. I can't stress enough how much the values I learned wrestling at Edgemont helped me compete at the next level. Even though football is a team sport, in the end each player is only as good as he trains to be and nobody trains harder than wrestlers." 

Mark McCormack, Edgemont Football ’10:

"Wrestling’s has numerous benefits for high school football players. Wrestling cultivates discipline, self-reliance, aggressiveness, quickness, coordination and explosiveness -traits also needed by a good football player. Once you’ve trained to dominate somebody on the wrestling mat, it’s a quick transition to do the same on the football field. By far the most beneficial thing about wrestling is the attitude it promotes. It’s the mentality that no matter what you are going to get the job done. No matter who walks out onto the mat to face you or lines up across from you on the field, you’re going to get the job done."

Kevin Cronin, Edgemont Football Coach and Alumni ’99:

“I'd definitely say the advantages of wrestling are mental… It's not just toughness in the sense that you won’t let yourself be broken, it's a toughness of imposing your will on another person, of stepping onto the mat or the field, with a guy across from you whose objective is that complete opposite of yours, and resolving that your will will come out on top…Football is a team game, but each play is made up of individuals carrying out their own assignments, and that's where I think an individual sport can come in.”