Gophers in the Pros - Week 17

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Denver Broncos' wide receiver Eric Decker is the only former Gopher on an NFL active roster that will play in the 2012 postseason.

The Broncos played their final game of the regular season at home against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Decker had a career-long 56-yard touchdown catch in the Broncos' last game against the Chiefs in November. But yesterday he recorded just one reception for five yards and was targeted only twice.

"The safeties are playing low, there's eight (defenders) in the box, that should open up some opportunities to go 1-on-1," Decker reported to the Denver Post. "We just have to do a better job of executing out of the passing game."

Despite losing the game 7-3, the Broncos advanced to the playoffs thanks to an Oakland loss. Denver finished the season at the top of the AFC West with an 8-8 record.

Decker and the Broncos will face the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend in an AFC wild card matchup.

Here's a look at the performance of other Gophers in the National Football League:

  • Vikings' cornerback and return specialist Marcus Sherels recorded two kickoff returns for 58 yards in Minnesota's 17-13 loss to the Chicago Bears.
  • Matt Spaeth, tight end for the Chicago Bears, was active but did not record any statistics in the Bears' victory at Minnesota. The win snapped Chicago's five-game losing streak.
  • Running back Marion Barber, also with the Chicago Bears, was inactive Sunday with a calf injury.
  • Nate Triplett, linebacker for the San Diego Chargers, was active but did not record any statistics in San Diego's 38-26 win over the Oakland Raiders.
  • Dominique Barber, safety for the Houston Texans, is on injured reserve with a knee injury. Houston came up short against the Tennessee Titans, losing 23-22. However, the team will make their first playoff appearance in franchise history this weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals.
  • New York Jets' wide receiver Logan Payne is on injured reserve as well as he recovers from wrist surgery. The Jets lost to the Miami Dolphins 19-17 and were eliminated from the playoffs. 
  • In addition to those who were on active rosters, four former Gopher players spent week 17 of the NFL season on the practice squad for their respective teams. Offensive lineman Dominic Alford is on the practice squad for the Cleveland Browns, cornerback Traye Simmons is with the San Diego Chargers, last year's quarterback Adam Weber practices with the Denver Broncos, and fullback Jon Hoese is with the Green Bay Packers.

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