5 Indian Origin American Footballers who have played in the NFL

Following the spectacle of Super Bowl LVIII, we look at five Indian origin American Footballers who have played in the NFL.


his biggest moment came in the NFL

As the thrill of Super Bowl LVIII comes to a close, we celebrate the diversity of American Footballers.

Beyond the glitz and glamour of the gridiron, there exists a lesser-known tale of perseverance, talent and cultural representation.

The sport may be huge in the United States but there is representation across the world, including India.

And for some, they have had the opportunity to play in the premier National Football League (NFL).

From the hallowed grounds of college football to the grandeur of professional stadiums, these five Indian origin American Footballers have made a mark on the sport.

We delve into the fascinating journey of these NFL players.

Brandon Chillar

5 Indian Origin American Footballers who have played in the NFL - chillar

Born to an Irish-Italian mother and an Indian father in Los Angeles, Brandon Chillar was a Linebacker for the St Louis Rams and the Green Bay Packers.

He played for the Rams from 2004 to 2007, contributing as a linebacker and on special teams.

In 2008, he signed with the Green Bay Packers, where he enjoyed the most successful years of his professional career.

Chillar played for the Packers until 2010, making significant contributions to the team’s defence.

Throughout his NFL career, Brandon Chillar was known for his versatility, athleticism and ability to excel in both pass coverage and run defence.

The American Footballer was respected for his work ethic and professionalism on and off the field.

However, his career was hampered by injuries, particularly shoulder injuries, which ultimately led to his retirement in 2012.

Since retiring, Chillar has been involved in various ventures, including philanthropic work and business pursuits. He has also stayed connected to the football community through coaching and mentorship activities.

Bobby Singh

5 Indian Origin American Footballers who have played in the NFL - singh

Bobby Singh was born in Fiji to Indian parents but grew up in Canada.

After attending the University of Hawaii, Singh signed for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League (CFL) in 1999. Singh played in the CFL for several seasons, earning recognition for his performance on the field.

But his biggest moment came in the NFL when he won Super Bowl XXXIV as a member of the St Louis Rams during the 1999 season.

It was a historic moment as he became the first American Footballer of Indian descent to win the Super Bowl.

Following his Super Bowl win, Singh continued his professional football career, playing for various teams in both the NFL and the CFL.

He spent time with teams like the San Francisco 49ers, the Washington Redskins and the Edmonton Eskimos, among others.

After retiring, Singh has been involved in coaching and mentoring young athletes. He has also been active in promoting football and sports among youth, particularly within the South Asian community.

Sanjay Beach

5 Indian Origin American Footballers who have played in the NFL - beach

Sanjay Beach is a trailblazer as he is the first player of Indian descent to play in the NFL, playing as a Wide Receiver.

His father is from Jamaica and his mother is from India.

Beach attended Colorado State University on an American Football scholarship and graduated in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in communication.

After the 1988 NFL Draft, Beach was signed by the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent.

But he quickly suffered a setback when he was cut before the start of the season after suffering an ankle injury.

In the NFL, Sanjay Beach played for the likes of the New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos and had three stints at the San Francisco 49ers.

In 1995, Beach attempted a comeback with the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe.

He registered 27 receptions for 383 yards (second on the team), a 14.2-yard average and one touchdown.

After retiring, Beach achieved his master’s degree in business administration from Colorado State University.

He is currently a Managing Director for Raymond James Financial in Ohio.

Sanjay Lal

Born in London, Sanjay Lal played as a Wide Receiver and had a brief NFL career.

But he is best known for his coaching career.

After coaching in the college ranks, Lal entered the NFL in 2007 when he was hired by the Oakland Raiders as an offensive quality control coach.

Lal has coached for the likes of the Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks, primarily as a Wide Receivers coach.

Lal is particularly known for his work in developing Wide Receivers. He has been credited with the development of several notable NFL receivers such as Dez Bryant and Terrelle Pryor.

Lal is known for his attention to detail and his ability to communicate effectively with players.

He emphasises fundamentals and technique, working closely with his players to help them reach their full potential.

While Sanjay Lal may not be a household name like some NFL players, his contributions to the league as a coach have been significant, particularly in the development of Wide Receivers.

Mike Mohamed

Like Sanjay Beach, Mike Mohamed is a trailblazer in the American Football world as he is the NFL’s first Punjabi-Indian player.

He is of Punjabi Mexican American heritage as his great-grandfather was an immigrant from Punjab who settled in California in the 1900s.

Born in California, Mohamed quickly became a standout Linebacker for the California Golden Bears.

In the 2011 NFL Draft, Mohamed was picked by the Denver Broncos.

Throughout his NFL career, Mohamed also had stints with other teams, including the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans.

Although Mohamed’s NFL career did not reach the heights of some other players, he contributed as a linebacker and on special teams during his time in the league.

After the NFL, Mohamed transitioned to other pursuits outside of American Football.

He resumed his education, studying finance at Indiana University.

Mike Mohamed currently works as an investment banker in New York City.

The stories of these five Indian origin American Footballers serve as powerful reminders of the diverse tapestry that enriches the landscape of the NFL.

Their journeys from distant lands to the heart of American Football exemplify the universal language of sports and the boundless potential of human ambition.

Through their dedication, resilience, and unwavering passion for the game, they have not only shattered stereotypes but also paved the way for future generations of athletes from all corners of the globe.

In a league where strength knows no boundaries and talent recognizes no borders, these five pioneers stand as shining beacons of hope.

Currently, the NFL does not have any Indian origin players.

Let’s hope the situation changes and the NFL sees more players from Indian and South Asian backgrounds in the future.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”



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