Jordan Lakewood LB In NFL Long Beach Poly Millikan St. Anthony Wilson

LB in NFL: Nine Long Beach Products Make NFL Rosters For 2021

Nine Long Beach products representing six local schools have made final 53-man rosters for the upcoming NFL season, set to kick off this Thursday evening. Long Beach Poly leads the way with five players, plus a pair on practice squads.

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Poly

The retirement of Jurrell Casey leaves a big hole. Casey was one of the finest players to ever come out of Long Beach, retiring after 10 seasons with the Titans and Broncos, including a city-high five Pro Bowl appearances.

Long Beach Poly’s ageless wonder, Marcedes Lewis, is set for his 16th NFL season, and is already the longest-tenured NFL player in Long Beach history. Lewis, a tight end, has played 217 NFL games, five more than fellow Poly product Willie McGinest. Lewis will enter the season with the Green Bay Packers, looking to add to his historic career.

Only five tight ends in NFL history have played more games than Lewis, and he has a good chance to move to No. 5 this year–if he plays out his two-year contract with the Packers he could make it to No. 3. 

JuJu Smith-Schuster, at 24 years old, is entering his fifth NFL season on a one-year deal with the Steelers, the team who drafted him and who his entire career has taken place with. Smith-Schuster had 97 catches for 831 yards last year with the Steelers with a career-high nine touchdowns and will look to get back to the Pro Bowl in 2021 after making an appearance in 2018.

Smith-Schuster’s fellow 2012 CIF-SS champion, Jayon Brown, is hoping for a breakthrough year in 2021. Brown has 330 tackles in four seasons in the NFL, all with the Titans, who he signed a one-year deal with this year as well. Brown was on track for a Pro Bowl season last year when he got injured in the 11th game of the season, missing the rest of the year.

DeSean Jackson is entering his 13th NFL season, with his hometown Los Angeles Rams. Jackson has battled injuries the last two years but is healthy and hoping for a return to form this year.

Iman “Biggie” Marshall enters his third season in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens, but is on injured reserve.

Poly grad Quinton Bell was waived by the Tampa Bay Bucs after last year’s Super Bowl win but is signed to the Falcons practice squad for this season. Poly/Arizona State alum Aashari Crosswell had a strong camp with the Seahawks but was let go in the final roster cut, and hasn’t yet signed a practice squad deal.

Wilson

Joel Bitonio was honored by the NFL on its annual “Top 100” list, coming in at No. 93 as the season starts. He enters his eighth season as an offensive lineman the NFL, all with the Browns. A Pro Bowl honoree each of the last three seasons, Bitonio is looking to cement his status as one of the city’s best pros ever. He already owns the Wilson records for most games in the NFL and most Pro Bowl appearances and has been a part of a historic turnaround for the Browns.

Jordan

John Ross is entering his fifth season in the NFL, hoping for a fresh start with the Giants, where he won the starting kick return job. Ross, unfortunately, is once again sidelined with injury and begins the season on the injured reserve.

Lakewood

Lakewood and LBCC alum Matt Pryor enters his fourth NFL season and was traded just before the season from the Eagles to the Colts. He made the final roster with the Colts and will begin 2021 in Indianapolis.

St. Anthony

Saints alum Curtis Weaver entered the NFL during the tumultuous COVID-19 season last year and struggled to catch on after being drafted by the Dolphins. This year he’s found a home with the Browns, where he made the final 53-man roster.

 

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.
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