Asian NFL Players: Have Asians played in the NFL?

Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams
Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals during warm up before the game against the Los Angeles Rams

As far as Asian Americans are concerned, they have been important to sports in general. They have held positions in the NBA, NFL, Olympics and other international sports leagues. Asian and Asian American NFL players have progressed up the ladder to be among the finest players to participate in the sport.

However, less than 2% of all NFL players in history have been of Asian ethnicity, a traditionally underrepresented group.

The NFL's Hines Ward must rank among the best Asian football players. Born in Korea, Ward is the sole Asian Super Bowl MVP in history and a two-time Super Bowl winner. Tedy Bruschi and Scott Fujita, two other outstanding Asian American NFL stars, were essential members of Super Bowl-winning teams. The NFL's most prominent Asian players in recent years, including Kyler Murray, have also significantly increased the sport's appeal.

Who are the top five Asian players to have played in the NFL?

#5, Tedy Bruschi

Tedy Bruschi, of Filipino descent, became well known at the University of Arizona, where he starred as a top defensive player. He joined the New England Patriots before Tom Brady and Bill Belichick turned the team into a powerhouse.

Bruschi recorded 1,110 tackles, 12 interceptions, 30.5 sacks and 11 forced fumbles. Despite having a stroke in 2005 that could have ended his career, he was able to play again before hanging up his cleats in 2008. However, in July 2019, Bruschi experienced a second stroke, from which he is still recuperating.

#4, Kyler Murray

Since being selected as the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft, Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals has been a big name in the league. For anyone who has tracked his football education, it is nothing surprising.

While helping the Oklahoma Sooners to a 12-2 season, Murray was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner. As a result, he rose to the top of the NFL draft boards, and the Cardinals quickly declared him their starter at quarterback.

Being both Korean American and African American gives Kyler Muller immense delight. When the Cardinals chose him, he made history by being the first player of Asian ancestry to be selected first overall.

#3, John Lee

In the 1980s, Min Long Lee, also known as John Lee in America, was a kicker for the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals selected him in the second round of the 1986 draft. He became the first Korean player in the NFL to make this selection, which is historic since kickers are seldom selected that early.

#2, Eugene Chung

Eugene Chung was the first Asian American to be chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft in the contemporary era. The offensive tackle from Virginia Tech, who has Korean origin, was selected by the New England Patriots with the 13th choice in 1992. He played in the NFL for five years before moving into coaching.

#1, Hines Ward

Hines Ward, raised in South Korea, went to the University of Georgia. He later joined the Pittsburgh Steelers and developed into one of their finest wide receivers.

Before starting his coaching career as an offensive coordinator with the New York Jets, Ward also served as an offensive apprentice with his old squad in 2017.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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