Jared Brinkman is arguably one of the most dominant football players in the history of the University of Northern Iowa.

The two-time Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year put up 95 tackles, 21.5 TFL, and 10.5 sacks between his fourth and fifth seasons, all while receiving double teams from opposing offensive linemen. Over the five years he spent in Cedar Falls, Brinkman totaled 209 tackles, 39.5 TFL, 18.5 sacks, six fumble recoveries, and three forced fumbles.


The big man in the middle had teams all over the MVFC shaking in their boots on Saturdays.

That's why -- despite his lack of size (6'2, 290 pounds) at the defensive tackle position -- he received opportunities to try out for the New York Jets and New England Patriots after going undrafted in the spring of 2022. He attended rookie mini camp with the Jets.

Though he didn't earn a roster spot with either team, Brinkman's pedigree as a football player landed him up north, in the Canadian Football League. The Iowa City Regina graduate signed a practice squad deal with the Toronto Argonauts in late September of this year.

Being on the practice squad for the majority of the season, Brinkman didn't see much time on the field for Toronto in 2022. He only played a single time during the season -- when it mattered most.

The former Panther great was called upon for the Grey Cup -- otherwise known as the CFL's Super Bowl -- and he did what he needed to do. Brinkman finished with two tackles, aiding Toronto's effort in winning the championship 24-23 over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday night.

Trevor Penning and Isaiah Weston were two other players from the 2021 Panther squad who were given opportunities in the NFL this year. Penning was selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints.

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