PUEBLO, Colo. Three former players from the Colorado State University-Pueblo football team have recently inked professional contracts in three different leagues. Mike Pennel signed a free agent deal with the National Football League's (NFL) World Champion New England Patriots, Darius Allen signed back with his old Canadian Football League (CFL) team, the BC Lions, and Paul Browning has signed on with his third Arena Football League (AFL) squad, the new franchise team in Atlantic City, the Blackjacks.
Pennel (2013) signed with his third NFL team since leaving CSU-Pueblo in 2013 and entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2014. Allen (2011-14) and Browning (2011-14) both helped guide the ThunderWolves to the 2014 NCAA Division II National Championship and have been able to continue their careers at the next level.
Pennel, 27, is a veteran of five NFL seasons with Green Bay (2014-16) and the N.Y. Jets (2017-18). The 6-foot-4, 332-pounder originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Green Bay out of Colorado State-Pueblo on May 12, 2014. He was released by Green Bay on Jan. 9, 2017, and acquired off waivers by the N.Y. Jets, where he has spent the last two seasons. Pennel has played in 69 games with 15 starts and has accumulated 102 total tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. He has also played in four postseason games and made three tackles.
Last season with the Jets, Pennel played in all 16 games with seven starts and finished with 27 total tackles and one pass defensed.
Allen was originally signed by BC in 2016 and appeared in 11 games for the Leos recording four defensive stops and another four on special teams. He landed with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2017 and appeared in another six games over two seasons before becoming a free agent last month.
In two seasons in the AFL, Browning has 52 receptions for 527 yards and eight touchdowns. He played with Orlando in 2016 and was with Baltimore in 2017. In his last season with the Brigade, Browning brought down 46 receptions for 488 yards and eight touchdowns. He also added 10 tackles and two fumble recoveries.
PACK IN THE PROS
The ThunderWolves currently have three players in the NFL. Including Pennel, Ryan Jensen (2009-12) and Morgan Fox (2012-15) are in the league. Jensen finished his first season (sixth season in the NFL) with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after signing the largest contact in NFL history for a center. Fox was in his third year with the NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams, but missed the entire season due to injury.