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Five Notre Dame Players Who Never Shined in the NFL

Not All That Glitters Is Gold

Yahoo Contributor Network

A total of 471 athletes who have garnished the "Golden Dome" helmets of the University of Notre Dame have gone on to play in the National Football League. Ten of those players have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Names like Paul Hornung and Joe Montana have become synonymous with football and greatness.

Unfortunately, not all stories play out like those of Hornung and Montana; some end up as busts.

Here are the top five NFL busts who played at Notre Dame:

5. Brady Quinn: Thought possibly to be the top quarterback prospect in the 2007 NFL Draft, Quinn was selected by the Cleveland Browns with the 21st pick of the first round. Despite being named the starter in his second year, Quinn played in only three games due to a broken finger. In 2009, Quinn played in 10 games for the Browns, but he was traded to the Broncos where he never again saw playing time. He is currently a backup in Kansas City.

4. Walt Patulski: At the University of Notre Dame, Patulski finished ninth in the 1971 Heisman voting and was drafted #1 overall by the Buffalo Bills the following year. Although he managed to lead the Bills in sacks his rookie year with five, Patulski played only four years with Bills before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. Injuries and a perceived lack of effort led a disappointing and short career.

3. Ken MacAfee: Perhaps one of the most disappointing NFL careers to come out of Notre Dame, MacAfee played only three years in the NFL. MacAfee finished third in the 1977 Heisman Trophy voting and was drafted seventh the next year by the 49ers. However, MacAfee caught only 46 passes in two years before he was asked to play on the offensive line instead of tight end. MacAfee decided to forgo the NFL and pursue a career as a dentist.

2. Rick Mirer: Although Mirer was able to play in the NFL for over a decade, his NFL statistics are extremely disappointing for the second overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft. Mirer played on six teams in 11 years and threw only 50 touchdowns to 76 interceptions.

1. Jimmy Clausen: Projected at the 2010 NFL Draft to be a top 10 pick, Clausen fell to the second round and was drafted by the Carolina Panthers. Clausen started 10 games in his rookie season as the Panthers would go on to have the worst record in the NFL. He threw only three touchdowns. In 2011, the Panthers drafted Cam Newton with the #1 pick, sealing Clausen's fate as the worst and quickest bust to play at Notre Dame.


Nicholas Guerin is a lifelong fan of the Fighting Irish who anxiously awaits their return to college football dominance.

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