In addition to the three native Canadians who will see action in the 2012 NFL playoffs, the Canadian content in this year’s tournament includes two executives and a star quarterback who was once drafted by the Montreal Expos.
Canadian connections to the 2012 NFL playoffs:
* Nate Burleson and the Detroit Lions fell to the New Orleans Saints on Wildcard Weekend. Born in Canada while his father played for the CFL Calgary Stampeders, Nate Burleson has forged his own identity as a veteran receiver in the NFL.
* Orlando Franklin helped open running lanes for his teammates during the Broncos 29-23 victory over the Steelers. Franklin, one of the top tackles selected in the 2011 NFL Draft, learned his football fundamentals over several seasons with the Ontario Varsity Football League’s Scarborough Thunder.
* University of Guelph graduate Thomas Dimitroff and University of Western Ontario graduate Kevin Abrams were on opposing sides when the Atlanta Falcons took on the New York Giants. Abrams, who was raised in Toronto, is now in his 10th year as Assistant General Manager with the Giants. Dimitroff, a former football Gryphon who has twice been named the NFL’s executive of the year, is the Falcons’ GM.
* Wallaceburg, Ontario’s Shaun Suisham, who since 2005 has made his living kicking field goals for the Cowboys, Redskins and Steelers, had his playoff run cut short after an overtime loss to the Broncos.
* The New England Patriots finished the season with the number one seeding among AFC playoff teams. Quarterback Tom Brady’s ability as a catcher led to his being drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 18th round of the 1995 Major League Baseball draft.
* The city of Montreal has another link to the 2012 NFL Playoffs. Green Bay Packers equipment manager Gordon (Red) Batty is a Montreal native. Batty has been an equipment manager in the NFL since 1981, and began his career with the CFL Montreal Alouettes in 1973.