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Home » News and Features » After Further Review » Happy New Year to the NFL's "Jew Crew"

Happy New Year to the NFL's "Jew Crew"

By: The Football Girl | Posted: September 28, 2011

Tonight, at sunset, begins the start of the Jewish high holidays, the faith’s most important two weeks of the year.  “NFL” and “Judaism” are not exactly synonymous terms.  While there have been the well documented anomalies such as Jay Fielder and Sage Rosenfels (quarterbacks get all the love!), you may be surprised to realize that Jewish blood in the NFL runs pretty deep.  Not deep enough to field an entire roster per se, but enough for a minyan.  So in honor of the holidays, here’s a list of Jewish NFL players that will be celebrating the New Year and atoning for their sins over the next couple of weeks.

Greg Camarillo, Vikings Wide Receiver – Camarillo comes from an interfaith marriage. His mother wears the Judaism pants in the family and therefore Camarillo is by default Jewish.  On the field, he recently had to take a major pay cut to remain with the Vikings and is pretty much a non-factor there, but Mazel Tov to the undrafted Camarillo on staying relevant enough to avoid the UFL.

Gabe Carimi, Bears Offensive Tackle – There are few ways more effective at screaming your Judaism from a mountaintop than being nicknamed “The Bear Jew” (inspired by the film, Inglourious Basterds).  Carimi, a rookie, is a Jew all the way through – he had a Bar Mitzvah, Confirmation, and even taught a little Sunday school on the side. He was also known to regularly attend Shabbat services at a Madison temple while at the University of Wisconsin.  Carimi, last year’s Outland Trophy winner and Offensive Lineman of the Year in college, has the potential to be the greatest Jewish NFL player of all time.  If he could only get back on the field.


Camini's beard has a ways to go.


Julian Edelman, Patriots Wide Receiver – Even though Edelman’s mother is not Jewish, Edelman considers himself a Jew, according to The Great Rabbino blog. Generally having a Jewish father is not enough to qualify as Jewish under rabbinic laws, but anyone considered a mini-Wes Welker should be welcomed into the faith.  I also believe there’s a clause in the Talmud that allows for Tom Brady as an honorary member.  Just say the word, Tom.

Antonio Garay, Chargers Nose Tackle – A product of a Jewish mother and Catholic father, Garay has had a major upward trajectory since joining the league in 2003.  The 31 year old saw minimal action with the Bears and Bengals from ’03-‘09, but as a Charger started all 16 games last season and recorded six sacks. Garay is arguably the most athletic of the NFL’s “Jew Crew,” which probably accounts for why there’s a lot more information out there about his tackling abilities than his challah-eating abilities.

Adam Goldberg, Rams Guard – Goldberg, raised by a Jewish father and Catholic mother, has been relegated to a backup role in St. Louis.  Though far more important than the layers of Sam Bradford’s protection is whether Goldberg’s teammates have aptly nicknamed him “The Hebrew Hammer.” It would be a shanda if not.


Bet Rams fans didn't know their guard was such a badass.


Kyle Kosier, Cowboys Guard – Kosier let his religion out of the bag in a 2009 interview.  He apparently was raised secular and remains that way.  Kosier, who played for the Niners and Lions, before joining the Cowboys in 2006, is one of the few bright spots on one of the most embattled offensive lines in all of football.

Taylor Mays, Bengals Safety – Mays, the Niners second-round draft pick in 2010 was raised by a Jewish mother.  He had a very mixed upbringing, having a bar mitzvah and then attending a Catholic school a year later.  On the field, Mays was a disappointing backup in San Francisco last season, was then traded to Cincinnati , and hopes to play his first game of the season after being sidelined by a knee injury. Mays is arguably the best African-American Jew since Rod Carew.

Igor Olshansky, Dolphins Defensive Tackle – Olshansky, unlike his former teammate in Dallas, Kyle Kozier, wears his Judaism on his shoulders - literally.  Olshansky proudly dons twin Stars of Davids tattoos across his shoulders.  On the field, Olshansky was cut by the Cowboys this preseason and signed by the Dolphins last week.  His impact in Miami is still to be determined.


Also served as an extra in Eastern Promises


Adam Podlesh, Bears Punter – The new Bears punter had a Bar Mitzvah and keeps a menorah in his locker (a gift from a competing punter).  Podlesh is getting in a lot of work with the Bears – he’s third in the league in total punting yards, not exactly a brag-worthy stat.  Expect that trend to continue.  Still to be determined is whether Podlesh will follow in former Bears punter, Brad Maynard’s footsteps and be named the Sexiest Chicago Bear by the local media. (For the record, even though he looks Jewish and has the most Jewish-sounding name ever, Bears kicker Robbie Gould is, in fact, not Jewish.)

Sage Rosenfels, Giants Quarterback – What would a Jewish NFL list be without Rosenfels? Rosenfels, a 33 year old backup currently on IR, likely doesn’t have too many NFL years ahead of him. Which is a shame because there’s nothing like typing “quarterback” and “Jewish” in the same sentence to give a Jewish writer a false sense of athleticism.  

Geoff Schwartz, Panthers Guard – Schwartz, a former seventh-round draft pick has molded a nice career as a starter.  He was however plagued by the injury bug and has been placed on IR for the season with a hip issue.  Schwartz joins the list of players who had a Bar Mitzvah.

(Contrary to popular belief, Rex Grossman is not Jewish, and therefore, will need to find other methods to atone for his sins, of which there are many.)


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Showing comments 1 to 5 of 8 | Next | Last
Martin S. Rittenberg
Posts: 26
Jewish NFL officials
Reply #8 on : Fri September 13, 2013, 12:03:16
In addition to Jerry Markbreit and former NFL official Bernie Ullman can you name other current or retired Jewish NFL officials. What about Doug Rosenbaum?
Nicole Czarnecki
Posts: 26
Rex Grossman
Reply #7 on : Sun February 03, 2013, 22:59:08
I'm sorry; but "Grossman" is exclusively an Ashkenazic Jewish variant of "Grossmann". Therefore, Rex Grossman is indeed Jewish or at least of Jewish descent.
harris m freedman
Posts: 26
Jewish football players
Reply #6 on : Thu October 18, 2012, 16:19:56
there is no doubt about it Sid Luckman the
Bears all pro quarterback was the all time
best Jew football player. He might have been
the smartest grad from Columbia
harris m freedman
Posts: 26
too few Jews in sports
Reply #5 on : Sun September 23, 2012, 21:11:20
anyone who believes they might be a Jew
is ok with me, Bar Mitzva or no Bar Mitzva

harris m freedman miami fl
oscar madison
Posts: 26
jewish highlites
Reply #4 on : Sun January 22, 2012, 08:44:05
please write a column on all the jewish owners and excutives running the nfl.
Showing comments 1 to 5 of 8 | Next | Last