The Non-Goy Gridiron Gang: 9 Jewish NFL Players (2012-2013 edition)


Football is finally back! Tonight, as the Dallas Cowboys face the reigning champions New York Giants and as the weekend is fast approaching with a slate of exciting games (and fantasy outcomes, if you’re me), allow yourself some time to reflect (you should always reflect, it just feels good) and think about the members of the Jewish faith who will be there, on the gridiron, wearing helmets and guards, tackling every monster on their way. Also, think about their mothers, who are probably worried sick about their kids getting hurt out there.

There are currently nine Jewish (or half-Jewish) active professional football players:

Gabe Carimi

Gabe Carimi - Buffalo Bills v Chicago Bears

Team: Chicago Bears

Position: Offensive Tackle

College: Wisconsin

Nickname: “Bear Jew”

Honors: Recipient of the Marty Glickman Award as Male Jewish Athlete of the Year

Trivia: Carimi fasted on Yom Kippur of 2007, which lasted until an hour before Wisconsin played Iowa. (JTA article)

Brian de la Puente

Team: New Orleans Saints

Position: Center

College: California

Nickname: “De La”

Trivia: De La Puente’s mother is Jewish

Antonio Garay

Team: San DIego Chargers

Position: Nose Tackle

College: Boston College

Nickname: “Mt. Washington”

Trivia: Garay’s mother is Jewish


Adam Goldberg

File:Adam Goldberg (American football).JPG

Team: St. Louis Rams

Position: Tackle/Guard

College: Wyoming

Nickname: “Hebrew Hammer”

Trivia: Goldberg’s father is Jewish, he was raised Catholic but considers himself Jewish according to the Jewish Sports Review.


Erik Lorig

Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Position: Fullback

College: Stanford

Nickname: “King Leonitis”

Trivia: Lorig father is Jewish


Taylor Mays


Team: Cincinnati Bengals

Position: Safety

College: USC

Honors: Inducted into the Southern California Hall of Fame

Trivia: Mays was raised in his mother’s Jewish religion and had a Football-themed bar mitzvah


Adam Podlesh

File:Adam Podlesh.JPG

Team: Chicago Bears

Position: Punter

College: Maryland

Honors: Inducted into the Southern California Hall of Fame

Trivia: Podlesh is a cancer survivor.


Geoff Schwartz

Team: Minnesota Vikings

Position: Offensive Tackle

College: Oregon

Hebrew Name: Gedalia Yitzhak

Trivia: Schwartz played football, basketball and baseball in high school, his younger brother Mitchell was recently drafted to the Cleveland Browns


Mitchell Schwartz

Team: Cleveland Browns

Position: Offensive Tackle

College: California

Nickname: “Bigfoot”

Hebrew Name: Mandel

Trivia: Mitchell and older brother Geoff are the first Jewish brothers to play in the NFL since 1923

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