Compiled by Ben Brown, GoHeels.com
Gio Makes Playoffs In Rookie Year
Giovani Bernard has a special place in the hearts of Tar Heel football fans, and after his rookie season in Cincinnati, Bernard has likely won over the hearts of many Bengals fans as well. Bernard finished the season with 1,209 yards combined rushing and receiving and scored eight touchdowns while helping Cincinnati win the AFC North for the first time since 2009.
The Bengals will host the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Wild Card round Sunday at 1 p.m. Although Gio's somersault touchdown was awesome this year, this Barry Sanders-like touchdown run from Bernard was my favorite of his rookie season. http://www.bengals.com/media-lounge/videos/Giovani-Bernard-35-yard-TD-run/ad5a413d-16d5-4f9e-9eba-2fcaa504b5a8
Nicks Heads Into Offseason Uncertain About Future
There has been constant speculation that the 2013 season might have been Hakeem Nicks' last with the New York Giants. Nicks enters the offseason as a free agent after having a disappointing season in which he failed to crack 1,000 yards or find the end zone. Nicks, who is only 25 years old, has plenty of good football left in him barring injuries, which seem to be a constant bug-a-boo for the wide receiver.
Peppers Narrowly Misses Postseason
Julius Peppers and the Chicago Bears lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon to miss out on the playoffs for a third straight year. Peppers had four tackles, one sack and a forced fumble in the game.
However, Peppers' second quarter sack and forced fumble of Aaron Rodgers was one of the flukiest plays you will ever see in a football game. As Peppers brought Rodgers down, he knocked the ball out of his had in what initially appeared to be a throwing motion, which would result in an incomplete pass. But none of the Bears defenders realized it was in fact a fumble, allowing Green Bay wide receiver Jarrett Boykin to scoop it up and run it in for a lucky touchdown.
Season Stats for Former Heels
Gio Bernard, Cincinnati RB - 695 rushing yards, 514 rec yards, 8 total TD
Zach Brown, Tennessee LB - 91 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF
Quinton Coples, New York Jets LB - 38 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 1 FF
Greg Little, Cleveland WR - 41 rec, 465 yards, 2 TD
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants WR - 56 rec, 896 yards
Julius Peppers, Chicago DE - 46 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 FF
Robert Quinn, St. Louis DE - 57 tackles, 19 sacks, 7 FF, 2 FR
Da'Norris Searcy, Buffalo S - 71 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 INT
Brandon Tate, Cincinnati WR - 26.1 KR return avg, 71 yard long
Cam Thomas, San Diego DT - 23 tackles, 1 INT
Sylvester Williams, Denver DT - 19 tackles, 2 sacks, I FR