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LB in NFL: Lakewood’s Matt Pryor Makes Debut With Eagles

Every week we check in with the 12 Long Beach alums currently in the NFL.

Long Beach Poly

As usual, it was an eventful week for Poly alums. JuJu Smith-Schuster’s Steelers fell to 0-3 for the first time in the Mike Tomlin era, but Smith-Schuster’s 76-yard touchdown was a rare highlight for the injury-bitten Steelers. It also brings Smith-Schuster to 20th in the NFL with 14 catches for 243 receiving yards, impressive numbers given that his starting quarterback has been injured.

The Titans defense led by Poly alums Jurrell Casey and Jayon Brown took a loss on national television on Thursday Night Football last week. Brown had 11 tackles, most of anyone in the game, while Casey had six tackles.

Marcedes Lewis, now in his 14th season, had a 19-yard reception for the Packers as they cruised to 3-0 with a win over the Broncos. Jamize Olawale was in as a blocker for the Cowboys as they improved to 3-0 as well.

Iman Marshall remains on the injured reserve for the Ravens, and Quinton Bell remains on the practice squad with the Raiders.


It was a tough assignment for Wilson alum Joel Bitonio on Sunday Night Football against the Rams last weekend. Bitonio is a Pro Bowl guard and one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL, but he was matched up with Rams star Aaron Donald, one of the best defensive tackles ever, and was beaten a few times in the Browns’ loss.


John Ross has been the brightest star this year of the Long Beach products, thanks to a pair of monster games to start the season. This week’s performance against the Bills wasn’t quite as good, as Ross was limited to two catches for 22 yards on six targets from quarterback Andy Dalton.

Ross, who led the NFL in receiving yardage after two weeks, had such a good start to the season that even with the stumble in week three, he’s still No. 3 in the league in receiving yards (292) behind only Keenan Allen and Sammy Watkins.


Lakewood alum Matt Pryor has had a long wait. The former Lancers played his college ball at TCU, and was drafted in the sixth round by the Eagles last year. The 6’7”, 332 pound tackle made last year’s Eagles roster, but wasn’t listed as active until the last week of the year, and never made it onto the field.

So far this year was the same story, until Sunday. Pryor made it onto the field for four special teams plays, meaning that after 19 games of being on an NFL team, he finally got to make his debut in the league.

Lakewood alum Ryan Pope remains on the 49ers practice squad.


Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.