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NFL Football Players From Aliquippa, PA

Lisa Stover is a part-time writer that has been published on numerous sites. She hails from Pittsburgh, PA.

The town of Aliquippa has delivered some notable football talent.

The town of Aliquippa has delivered some notable football talent.

Aliquippa History

Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, is located about 29 miles outside of Pittsburgh. It's a fairly small city with a population that is a little over 9,000, according to the 2020 census. In the not-so-distant past, Quip, the nickname given to the city by the locals, was a thriving community. That ended, however, in the early 1980s when the steel mills started moving away. With the closing of the mills, people found multiple generations of their families out of work. Up until then, grandfathers, fathers, and sons worked side by side in these mills.

With no other jobs to be found, most people moved away from the area to find work elsewhere. This caused the city’s population to drop drastically. Those who stayed found themselves struggling just to feed their families. This hasn't changed. The struggle to eat and survive is still strong in the city of Aliquippa. However, Quips are a tough-skinned and resilient people. When there is no way available, they will make one. And the love they have for their city is unparalleled. You will never hear someone ashamed to say they are from Aliquippa. They will speak it with a sense of pride. And they do have a reason to speak of their home with pride. Aliquippa churns out NFL players like a pro football factory.

A view of downtown Aliquippa, PA.

A view of downtown Aliquippa, PA.

Notable NFL Alumni From Aliquippa

Here are some of the most notable football players to come from Aliquippa. As of 2022, there are no active players from this city.

Jon Baldwin

  • College: University of Pittsburgh
  • Draft: 26th pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft
  • NFL Career: 2011-2013

Jon Baldwin won many accolades as a receiver at Aliquippa High School. Scout.com ranked him as one of the top 40 prospects. He would go on to play for the University of Pittsburgh where he would make the All-American third team in his junior year.

Baldwin would be drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2011 NFL Draft. He would make his first NFL touchdown in a game against the San Diego Chargers. He would make one more touchdown in the 2012 season. In 2013, Baldwin was traded to the San Francisco 49ers. He would play in seven games before getting waived. He tried to join the Detroit Lions in 2014, but he was waived after he failed a physical exam.

Tommie Campbell

  • College: California University of Pennsylvania
  • Draft: 251st pick in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft
  • NFL Career: 2011-2014

Tommie Campbell is a defensive back from Aliquippa High School. He would play at the University of Pittsburgh and Edinboro University before academic problems would put an end to his career. By his own admission, he was immature and didn't like school. He would work as a janitor at an airport for over two years before giving his football career another shot at California University of Pennsylvania. A big motivation for him were his children he had to support.

His third chance paid off when he was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in 2011. He notably scored a touchdown in the 2012 season from a punt return. He would be released from the Titans in 2014. Campbell would play a single season for the Jacksonville Jaguars before he was waived there.

While his NFL career came to an end, Campbell would continue playing football in the Canadian Football League. He would eventually retire in 2020.

Mike Ditka is best known as the head coach of the 1985 Chicago Bears.

Mike Ditka is best known as the head coach of the 1985 Chicago Bears.

Mike Ditka

  • College: University of Pittsburgh
  • Draft: Fifth pick in the first round of the 1961 NFL Draft
  • NFL Career: 1961-1972 as a player, 1982-1999 as a coach
  • Accolades: NFL champion (1963), three-time Super Bowl champion (once a player, twice as a coach), Offensive Rookie of the Year (1961), five-time Pro Bowl selection, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee

Mike Ditka is arguably the biggest name in football to come out of Aliquippa. He was a tight end from Aliquippa High School that caught the eye of many college recruiters. He eventually decided to play for the University of Pittsburgh. His last college season would see him get 11 receptions for 229 yards and two touchdowns.

Iron Mike would be a first-round pick in both the 1961 NFL Draft and AFL Draft. He would sign with the Chicago Bears and win the NFL Championship in the 1963 season. He would also have stints with the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys; he would win a Super Bowl with Dallas during the 1971 season.

Ditka would arguably have more success as a coach. He was an assistant coach for Dallas from 1973 to 1981. He would win another Super Bowl during this period as the Cowboys made the playoffs eight times. In 1982, Ditka became the head coach for the Chicago Bears. The 1985 season saw the Bears capture a third Super Bowl ring for Iron Mike. Ditka was fired from the Bears after the 1992 season. He returned as the head coach for the New Orleans Saints in 1997. He would be fired from the role after three underwhelming seasons.

Tony Dorsett

  • College: University of Pittsburgh
  • Draft: Second pick in the first round of the 1977 NFL Draft
  • NFL Career: 1977-1988
  • Accolades: Super Bowl champion, Offensive Rookie of the Year (1977), four-time Pro Bowl selection, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee

Tony Dorsett was an All-State running back at Hopewell High School. He would set rushing records during his time at the University of Pittsburgh. He would finish his college career in 1976 by winning the Heisman Trophy. Dorsett would join the Dallas Cowboys in 1977. He would have a stellar rookie season with 12 regular season rushing touchdowns. He would score one rushing touchdown in Super Bowl XII to help Dallas bring home the Vince Lombardi trophy.

Dorsett would spend most of his career with the Cowboys. His final season in 1988 was with the Denver Broncos, the team he beat back in 1977 to win the Super Bowl. His final season saw him rush for 703 yards for five touchdowns. Dorsett was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.

Sean Gilbert

  • College: University of Pittsburgh
  • Draft: Third pick in the first round of the 1992 NFL Draft
  • NFL Career: 1992-2003
  • Accolades: One-time Pro Bowl selection

As a defensive tackle at Aliquippa High School, Sean Gilbert was selected by Parade for their All-America team. In his senior year at the University of Pittsburgh, Gilbert made 17 tackles and 4 sacks. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 1992. In the 1993 season, he was selected for the Pro Bowl as he made 10.5 sacks. Gilbert would play for Washington and Carolina before ending his career with Oakland in 2003. In 2020, he became the head coach for Livingstone College.

Ty Law

  • College: University of Michigan
  • Draft: 23rd pick in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft
  • NFL Career: 1995-2009
  • Accolades: three-time Super Bowl champion, five-time Pro Bowl selection, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee

In terms of accomplishments as a player, Ty Law is the most successful NFL player to come from Aliquippa. He played cornerback for Aliquippa High School before his three-year stint at the University of Michigan. In his college career, Law had 154 tackles and 6 interceptions. He was drafted by the New England Patriots in 1995, and he would play for the team for 10 seasons. During his tenure in New England, he would win three Super Bowl championships. Unfortunately, he did not play himself to earn his third ring since he suffered a foot injury that made him miss his last nine games and the playoffs.

After being released by the Patriots in 2004, Law would bounce around various teams. He ended his career with the Denver Broncos in 2009. Law was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019.

Paul Posluszny

  • College: Pennsylvania State University
  • Draft: 34th pick in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft
  • NFL Career: 2007-2017
  • Accolades: One-time Pro Bowl selection

Paul Posluszny was a linebacker at Hopewell High School. In his senior year, the team had a record of 8-1. In college, he became the first Penn State linebacker to become a two-time AP All-American. He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 2007 and became the starting linebacker. Unfortunately, he only played in three games in his rookie season due to a forearm injury.

Posluszny would spend four seasons in Buffalo before going to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars. In the 2013 season, he led the league with 122 solo tackles. In that same season, he was selected to the Pro Bowl. Posluszny's final season came in 2017. He announced his retirement in 2018.

Darelle Revis

  • College: University of Pittsburgh
  • Draft: 14th pick in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft
  • NFL Career: 2007-2017
  • Accolades: Super Bowl champion, seven-time Pro Bowl selection

Darelle Revis won various player of the year awards during his time at Aliquippa High School. He would also win All-American honors at the University of Pittsburgh. He entered the 2007 NFL Draft as one of the top cornerback prospects in the draft pool, and he was selected by the New York Jets. He would make his first Pro Bowl selection in 2008, and in 2009, he led the league with 31 defended passes.

Revis would play for the New England Patriots in the 2014 season. He would capture his only Super Bowl championship in that season; Revis scored one sack in the big game. He would play for the Jets in 2015 and 2016 before ending his career with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017.

Aliquippa Today

Aliquippa is very different from the one my grandparents knew and loved. Everything is closed downtown, and the buildings are falling apart. Homes are in disrepair. The schools are severely behind academically, and there are no jobs. The city oozes a sense of hopelessness.

Children here do not have many opportunities; they are more likely to end up on welfare, in jail, or dead than they are to achieve any real success in a career. For this reason, the young aspire to become drug dealers or pro athletes. Aliquippa is the only place in the world where the odds look good in both cases.

According to Neighborhood Scout, Aliquippa has a crime index of 40. This means that the town is safer than only 40% of other U.S. cities. Think of how small Aliquippa is, and then realize that this city is up there in terms of violent crimes with some of the biggest cities in the nation. The violent crime rate per 1,000 residents actually exceeds the rate of the entire state of Pennsylvania. Your chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime in Aliquippa is 1 in 243.

An Aliquippa football game.

An Aliquippa football game.

The City and the NFL

How is it possible that a poverty-stricken city keeps producing quality NFL players? Mark Yaros (36), a native of Quip, says that, “Aliquippa has heart.”

During Yaros’ high school career in Aliquippa, he played basketball, football, ran track, and started his own hockey team. He says:

"Kids in Aliquippa aren’t playing football just for fun. They are playing for their lives, for a way out. Quip is a tough place to grow up; you learn early on to stand your ground and to protect what is yours, or it will be taken away from you. These kids don’t have a lot, most have nothing to look forward to but football, so they put all of their pride into that game, and they’ll be damned if they let you take their pride from them. Quip doesn’t play to win; they play to demolish your entire team.

The whole community takes football seriously, the coaches, the players, and the parents. If you don’t show up for practice, the coach will show up at your mother’s house looking for you."

A Community That's Serious About Football

Yaros experienced precisely that. He was playing other sports and grew tired of adding football practice to that, so he stopped going. He wanted to quit the team. His coach showed up at his mother’s house, pleading with her to talk her son into coming back. According to Yaros:

"That’s just the way it is here; the coaches become like family. They really want you to succeed and will go out of their way to help you. It's serious, I’ve seen 18-year-old grown men cry after they lost a game, and I dare you to laugh. These are some of the hardest men you wouldn’t want to meet, and they are crying about a football game."

When I asked Yaros to explain a typical football practice to me, he simply said one word, “Running.”

"The coaches told us if we can outrun our opponent, then we got it; we‘re good. If you can’t catch, but you can run fast as hell, then you’re getting on the team. Everything else can be taught. But, if you got speed on you, well that’s something that you are or aren’t. It can't be taught to you."

On game nights, the stadiums are packed. You have to agree with Yaros; these kids play with a "you’re not taking this away from me" type of attitude. From start to finish, they are giving it their all, and then some. It seems the whole community comes out to support their team, and perhaps the only place in Aliquippa where you don’t see the violence the city is famous for is here in these stadiums, during the games.

A Tough Town With Tougher People

Quip is a very tough town to grow up in, but the people here are tougher. It's only a matter of time before we see another NFL star come from Aliquippa.

Comments

Jody Creese and Elizabeth McCurdy on June 06, 2020:

Don’t forget Bill Koman of Hopewell High School, class of 1952 who went on to play for Saint Louis Cardinals.

Dorian Jackson on February 28, 2020:

Love this article

Alton "Babe" Hudson. on January 17, 2020:

It was a great town and I still miss it so much. I have nothing but fond memories of the town and the people, including Hopewell!

Eugene Ludwico on October 25, 2019:

Lets not forget Doc Medich And Pecky Suder both fair baseball players in their day. How and about Henry Mancini. pretty well known dud.

Patricia Starr on September 01, 2019:

Went to high school with Mike Ditka and my stepbrother B. Ross was the coach for Tony Dorset. I'm very proud to know them both. especially Mike. Aliquippa certainly deserves title " Fighting Quips"

Forrest Tim Smith from PLEASANTON CA on June 12, 2019:

I love pictures of the old AHS Stadium aka "The Pit" with the giant floodlight towers that were put up in 1938 by my father and his gang of iron-workers, a job he took to pay for my upcoming birth. When I got to high school in '52, my uncle was the assistant principal (he also wrote "Wave, Red and Black," the alma mater) and he came to me one day in study hall and said "You have your choice. Football or band." I joined the band. Bad choice. I should've played football. Would have been an honor to have played beside Ditka, who graduated a year behind me.

Gordo Hill on May 02, 2019:

Sean Gilbert...

Jeanne Miller Way on October 05, 2018:

My grandfather, Dr John L Miller, was the team doctor for the Aliquippa football team for many years. I'm sure he was never paid, he loved they kids and football. He took Mike Ditka and other Aliquippa football players to University of Pittsburgh football games for years hoping they would choose Pitt. He introduced some of them to Pitt coaches. Mike said on national TV a few years ago, "Doc Miller patched me up many times back in high school" My grandfather loved Aliquippa so much. He practiced medicine for 65 years and delivered hundreds of babies including Pistol Pete Maravich. He moved to West Aliquippa as a young doctor way back in 1915. His son, my dad, John "Tudy" Miller was a State Senator from 1950 until 1968. Dr Miller died in 1971 when I was 18. Both of them truly loved Aliquippa. I miss them both so much. Jeanne Miller Way, Largo, Florida jeannemway@gmail.com

willy hobbs on September 16, 2018:

Rember pistol pete maravich the pro basketball player. He was there for a while,

Tom on March 22, 2018:

Ernie Pitts from Aliquippa

irishred329 on March 05, 2018:

Mike Ditka graduated from Aliquippa in 1957.

Swannie on March 05, 2018:

Danny Rains Bears 85 SB CHAMPS Hopewell 73

Robert Oros on March 04, 2018:

Don’t forget Tom Sakal. Minnesota Vikings. Class of 64 AHS. Played against Butler’s Terry Hanratty and the Saul brothers.

James Pindilli on March 04, 2018:

Tony Dorsett, Paul Posluszny and Curt Singer are from Hopewell

Tom morelli on March 04, 2018:

I grew up there and played for the Quips, Best place ever , miss it every day. Go Quips !

joe koss on September 17, 2017:

does anyone remember jackie cleminson, quarter back when ditka played,where is jackie now/.

Sharon on June 27, 2017:

Tony Dorsett also went to Hopewell High School, not Aliquippa. Graduated in 1973, one year ahead of me. Both schools have an Aliquippa mailing address as Hopewell did not have its own post office.

I was born there on June 26, 2017:

Denicea lane

Donnya on January 23, 2017:

This was very very interesting.

hype on December 21, 2016:

dan short played for ny giants as a def . back also from quiptown!!!

Tom on December 07, 2016:

You forgot Bill Koman from Hopewell who played guard for the St. Louis cardinals for 11 seasons.

Noel E Wilson on October 30, 2016:

I Travel a lot and I meet a lot of people they ask me where is Aliquippa I always say about 30 miles outside Pittsburgh I call Aliquippa The NFL Capitol Of The World lol Abd start naming

Lisa Stover (author) from Pittsburgh PA on October 05, 2016:

This article is not a complete list of players. Also I am aware that not all players attended Aliquippa high school, they went to Hopewell. But, this article is about players who are from Aliquippa PA. As us locals know Hopewell has an Aliquippa mailing address which does in fact mean that the players from Hopewell are players who came from Aliquippa PA.

Philip on February 05, 2016:

There are other Aliquippa NFL players we tend to forget . Bob Liggett-Kansas City Chiefs. John Tazel- San Diego Chargers ?. Richard Mann-Cleveland Browns?. All Aliquippa High grads. In not sure but Joe Catroppa might have played also.

Russell Meade on February 05, 2016:

How does everyone forget Mike Dikta? Big time football player at Aliquippa High, 1958 or 59. First team All-American at Univ. Pittsburgh. All Pro Tight End for Chicago Bears. Hall of Fame Football Player and Coach. No small feats here.

Lorraine Gilbert on August 29, 2015:

Tony Dorsett and Curt Singer did not graduate from Aliquippa High School, they graduated from Hopewell High School which actually is an Aliquippa address, but everyone never gives Hopewell the credit. Just once I would love for people today they went to Hopewell High School!

mike roberts on October 12, 2014:

There is no town better ANYWHERE

Canuck on October 04, 2014:

how about Paul Posluszny LB from the Jags? isn't he from Aliquippa?

Beth H on August 27, 2014:

Actually, Curt Singer is from Aliquippa in mailing address only...He went to Hopewell H.S.

Lisa Stover (author) from Pittsburgh PA on August 18, 2012:

Thanks for reading Tamara :)

Tamara on August 18, 2012:

Interesting. Three seems like a lot from one small town.