Owens, Gore, Rice among sons of football legends added to NFL teams

NFL legend Jerry Rice watched his son, former USC wide receiver Brendon Rice, join the Los Angeles Chargers as a seventh-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
1 of 5 | NFL legend Jerry Rice watched his son, former USC wide receiver Brendon Rice, join the Los Angeles Chargers as a seventh-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

April 29 (UPI) -- More than a dozen players with fathers who previously played in the NFL were picked up through the 2024 NFL Draft and/or signed as undrafted free agents.

Former Ohio State star wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. was the first to accomplish the feat when he heard his name called Thursday in Detroit after being selected No. 4 overall by the Arizona Cardinals.


The son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison Sr. told reporters that he expects a learning curve when he enters training camp, but plans to work hard and "help the team win football games."

The elder Harrison was the No. 19 overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1996 NFL Draft. The eight-time Pro Bowl selection, three-time All-Pro and 2007 Super Bowl champion spent his entire 13-year career with the Colts.


"I'm happy for my kid," Harrison said on the 2024 NFL Draft broadcast. "He's put a lot of work into it and had a lot of pressure over the years growing up. I'm just excited for him and looking forward to a lot of good things. He definitely put the work in. He is deserving of everything he is getting."

Several other prospects with famous fathers followed Harrison's selection. Former Notre Dame offensive tackle Joe Alt went to the Los Angeles Chargers with the next pick.

His father, John Alt, was the No. 21 overall pick in the 1984 Draft. He spent his entire 13-year NFL career with the Kansas City Chiefs. Alt was a two-time Pro Bowl selection.

Former Michigan defensive tackle Kris Jenkins Jr. was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round. Jenkins' dad was a second-round pick by the Carolina Panthers in the 2001 NFL Draft.

The four-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro also played for the New York Jets during his 10-year NFL tenure.


Former Utah edge rusher Jonah Elliss went to the Denver Broncos in the third round. Elliss' father, defensive lineman Luther Elliss, was a first-round pick by the Detroit Lions in the 1995 NFL Draft. The two-time Pro Bowl selection also played for the Broncos during his 10-year career.

Former Rice wide receiver Luke McCaffrey joined the Washington Commanders as the final pick of the third round. McCaffrey is the son of longtime Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey and brother of San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey.

Ed McCaffrey was a three-time Super Bowl champion and a 1998 Pro Bowl selection. The third-round pick in the 1991 NFL Draft also spent time with the New York Giants.

Former Missouri offensive tackle Javon Foster joined the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth round. Foster is the son of former Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets defensive end Jerome Foster, a fifth-round pick in 1983.

Jeremiah Trotter Jr., a former Clemson linebacker, joined the Philadelphia Eagles as a fifth-round pick Saturday. Trotter's father was a third-round pick by the Eagles in the 1998 NFL Draft. The former All-Pro linebacker also played for the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Los Angeles Rams picked former Texas wide receiver Jordan Whittington in the sixth round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Whittington is the son of former NFL running back Arthur Whittington, a seventh-round pick by the Oakland Raiders in 1978.


The elder Whittington, who won a Super Bowl in 1981 with the Raiders, also played for the Buffalo Bills.

Former USC wide receiver Brendon Rice is the son of perhaps the most decorated NFL father, Jerry Rice. The NFL legend, often regarded as one of the best players in football history, watched his son get selected by the Chargers in the seventh round.

Former Michigan edge rusher Jaylen Harrell was the final son of an ex-NFL player picked in the 2024 NFL Draft. He joined the Tennessee Titans in the seventh round.

Harrell is the son of former linebacker James Harrell, who went undrafted, but played seven seasons for the Lions and played one year for the Chiefs.

Three more sons of former NFL players were signed as undrafted free agents. Former Florida Atlantic wide receiver Terique Owens signed with the 49ers. He is the son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens, who joined the 49ers as a third-round pick in 1996 and enjoyed a 15-year, Hall of Fame career.


"It's in my DNA," Owens wrote Sunday on Instagram. "Proud of you. Love you, Terique. A lot of times in life, all we need is an opportunity. Thank you 49ers for this opportunity."

Frank Gore Jr., a former running back at Southern Mississippi, signed with the Bills. His father, who retired in 2022, was a five-time Pro Bowl selection.

Gore played for the 49ers, Bills, Jets, Colts and Dolphins during his decorated, 16-year NFL tenure. He was a third-round pick by the 49ers in 2005.

The 49ers also signed former Michigan offensive lineman Drake Nugent as an undrafted free agent. Nugent's father, Terry Nugent, was a sixth-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 1984.

He also played for the Indianapolis Colts, but only attempted five passes during his brief NFL tenure.

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