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The Indian connection in the National Football League

Brandon Chillar with the Green Bay Packers American Football barely registers a blip on the vast sporting map of India yet the sport is incredib ...

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18 Feb 2015, 13:31 IST
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Brandon Chillar with the Green Bay Packer
Brandon Chillar with the Green Bay Packers
 

American Football barely registers a blip on the vast sporting map of India yet the sport is incredibly popular with the Indian diaspora residing in the United States and Canada. Though there has not been an Indian born player in the NFL, but there have been PIO's (Person of Indian Origin) who have played or have coached in any of the 32 NFL teams.

The most notable amongst these players is Brandon Chillar,the former linebacker for the St. Louis Rams and the Green Bay Packers. Brandon was born in Los Angeles,California to a Jamaican mother and an Indian father. Chillar was raised in Carlsbad,California where he attended Carlsbad High School. After graduating from High School, Brandon played NCAA Div. I football at the University of California,Los Angeles. As a senior, Chillar earned First-team All Pac 10.  

Chillar entered the 2004 NFL Draft and was selected in a fourth round by the St. Louis Rams. On July 26,2004, Chillar signed four year $2.1 million contract with the Rams. In 2008 Chillar joined the Green Bay Packers and won the Super Bowl with them in 2011(Super Bowl XLV). Chillar retired from professional football in 2011 and in 2012 became the defensive coordinator of his former High School,Carlsbad High School.

Another lesser known player of Indian descent is Bobby Singh.Singh,was born in Fiji to Indian parents, but grew up in Richmond,BC,Canada. He played college football for the University of Hawaii. Singh was selected as the eighth pick in the Canadian Football League Draft by the Calgary Stampeders. He signed as a free agent with the St. Louis Rams and won a Super Bowl ring in 2000, while being on the practice roster for the Rams. He is one of the handful players to have won the Super Bowl and the Grey Cup(Canadian Football League).

Sanjay Beach was the first player of Indian descent to have played in the NFL. Beach attended Colorado State where he was a wide receiver. Beach played for 3 NFL teams -New York Jets(1989), the San Fransisco 49ers(1991,1993) and the Green Bay Packers(1992).

Another person of Indian descent who can be associated with the NFL would be Sanjay Lal. Lal has played for the St. Louis Rams(1998) and currently serves as the wide receivers coach for the Buffalo Bills. Lal has served as the offensive quality and wide receivers coach for the Oakland Raiders(2007-2011) and also as the wide receivers coach for the New York Jets(2012-2014).

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