Detroit Lions sign Nate Sudfeld and rock Purdue “Cradle of Quarterbacks” to sleep

The NFL can be a tough business for players on the margin of making rosters.

Former IU and Purdue quarterbacks found that out first hand over the last 24 hours.

In connection with the NFL requirement that franchises get their roster down to 53 players by Tuesday, the San Francisco 49ers waived former Indiana star quarterback Nate Sudfeld.

Meanwhile in Detroit, the Lions appeared to be hanging on to former Purdue thrower David Blough as their backup behind Jared Goff.

But on Wednesday morning, Detroit pulled off an IU for Purdue swap that likely had their wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El smiling.

According to multiple reports, Detroit has waived Blough, and in his place they are signing Sudfeld to fill the backup role.

That Sudfeld was waived by San Francisco came as a bit of a surprise after a strong summer.  In the preseason with the 49ers, he completed 26-of-38 for 254 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.  But San Francisco restructured Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract this week, making Sudfeld expendable.

The Lions’ move comes at the expense of Blough, who was with the franchise from 2019 to 2021.  Unless he signs with another team, the so-called Purdue “Cradle of Quarterbacks” has come to an end.  The self-appointed label relates to an era when NFL greats Bob Griese and Len Dawson matriculated through the program, and later Drew Brees carried the torch until 2020.

But as of this moment, there are no former Purdue quarterbacks in the NFL, thanks to Sudfeld.

Sudfeld was drafted in the sixth round by Washington in 2016, and he also spent four years in Philadelphia where he won a Super Bowl ring in 2018 before signing with San Francisco in 2021.

At 7,879 yards, Sudfeld is Indiana’s all-time leader in passing yards by more than 400 (ahead of second place Randle El). Were it not for a 2014 injury, that margin would have been well into the thousands. He’s not only the all-time yardage leader, but he got there despite having fewer attempts than the next two IU quarterbacks on the list.

The California native had a better than 60% completion percentage every year in Bloomington, and a career percentage of 60.3%.

Sudfeld didn’t just move the team down the field either — he got the Hoosiers in the end zone as reflected by his all-time passing touchdowns record of 61, or 13 more than the next guy on the list.

In his last regular season college football game, Sudfeld threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns to lead IU to a win over Purdue in West Lafayette.


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