It’s Super Bowl Sunday!

Look, it’s February, so most Liberty fans are in full basketball mode, as the Flames seek to win their fourth ASUN Championship in five seasons and return to the Big Dance. However, today a majority of the country will get together with family and friends, huddle around a large screen with some good food and drinks, and watch the final football game until August (unless you count the XFL).

In honor of the big game, we are listing the Top 10 NFL players to come out of Liberty.


This list is based on each player’s career in the NFL solely and not what they accomplished at Liberty.

1. Eric Green

Green is the only Flame to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft and his career lived up to the billing. Green was named to the 1990 all-rookie team and was selected to two Pro Bowls in 1993 and 1994, which is the most appearances by a former Flame. The standout tight end finished his ten-year career with 362 receptions, 4,390 yards, and 36 touchdowns, playing for the Steelers, Dolphins, and Ravens during his tenure in the league.

2. Dwayne Carswell

Carswell came to Lynchburg as a running back in 1990 before converting to tight end for his final two seasons where he recorded 65 receptions, 511 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Carswell went undrafted but signed with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 1994. Carswell then spent a very respectable 12 years in Denver (the longest NFL career by a former Flame), where he spent time mostly as a tight end, but also as an offensive lineman due to his superb blocking ability. Known as “House,” the career Bronco recorded 192 receptions for 1,707 yards, and 15 touchdowns in his career. Carswell was named Denver’s special teams captain twice and made one Pro Bowl appearance in 2001, while winning two Super Bowls with the Broncos in 1998 and 1999.

3. Rashad Jennings

The greatest running back in Liberty history also had a stellar NFL career. Jennings was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft and enjoyed a seven-year career, spending time with the Jaguars, Raiders, and Giants. During his NFL career, Jennings recorded 3,772 rushing yards and 23 rushing touchdowns while averaging 4.1 yards per rush. Jennings also proved to be a threat in the passing game, as he tallied 191 career receptions to go along with 1,469 yards and an additional 2 touchdowns.

4. James McKnight

The former Flames wide receiver enjoyed a nine-year NFL career, playing for the Seahawks, Cowboys, Dolphins, and Giants. According to Pro Football Reference, McKnight has a wAV  (weighted Average Value) career rating of 33, which is higher than any other former Flame. McKnight recorded 3,595 yards and 18 touchdowns off of 222 receptions in his career.

5. Wayne Haddix

Cornerback Wayne Haddix comes in at number five on our list, spending four years in the NFL with the Giants, Buccaneers, and Bengals. Haddix is well-remembered for his breakout 1990 campaign, in which he led the NFL in interceptions with seven and returned three of them for touchdowns. Haddix was named to the 1990 Pro Bowl and is one of only three former Flames to be selected to play in the game.

6. Fred Banks

Banks became the first Liberty player to ever be drafted into the NFL in 1985, when the Cleveland Browns selected him with the 203rd overall pick in the 8th round of the draft. After spending his rookie year in Cleveland, Banks spent the next six seasons with the Miami Dolphins and finished his career with the Chicago Bears in 1993. During his career in the league, Banks tallied 1636 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns off of 105 receptions.

7. Walt Aikens

Aikens was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the 4th round of the 2014 draft, being selected 125th overall which is the highest a former Liberty defensive player has ever been taken. The cornerback spent all six of his NFL seasons in Miami, where he recorded 92 total tackles, two forced fumbles, and one interception. Aikens made his presence known on special teams, however, by being named special teams captain for the Dolphins in 2019. Aikens also blocked a punt and returned it for his only career touchdown against the Jets in 2016.

8. Samkon Gado

The former Flames running back played in the NFL for five years, spending time with six different teams. As a rookie with the Packers, Gado was named NFC Offensive Rookie of the Week twice and NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month in November, 2005. Gado also broke the Packers record for single-game rushing yards for a rookie after his 171 rushing yard performance versus the Lions in Week 14 of the 2005-06 season. Gado finished his career with 972 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns, along with 292 receiving yards and a touchdown off of 43 receptions.

9. Richard Shelton

Shelton was the first defensive player to ever be drafted out of Liberty, as the cornerback was selected 292nd overall by the Denver Broncos in the 11th round of the 1989 draft. Shelton spent five years in the league with the Broncos and Steelers. Shelton recorded three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and four fumble recoveries in 44 career games, eight of which he started.

10. Mike Brown

Concluding our top ten list is legendary Flames quarterback, Mike Brown. While Brown primarily made his work at quarterback for Liberty where he recorded an insane 7,947 total offensive yards, in the pros, Brown played receiver. Brown spent all three of his seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars where he played in 18 games and started eight. During his three years in the NFL, Brown registered 534 receiving yards and two touchdowns off of 39 receptions.