The NFL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION

The NFL Alumni Association organization serves as a passionate advocate for greater quality of life benefits for all former NFL players. The Association eagerly pursues greater benefits and the implementation of programmatic services devoted to enhancing the health, and productive acuity of former NFL players. Our organization also connects current and former athletes to transitional programs and provides access to additional opportunities of interest.  

Under the NFL Alumni Association, the NFL Alumni Foundation is a 501 (c)(3), non-profit organization composed of former professional football players, owners, coaches, and administrators. Additionally, Associate Members play an integral role in supporting the charity and educational goals of the NFL Alumni.

The NFL Alumni advances its mission of philanthropy through fundraising, community service, and social events.

NFL ALUMNI CHAPTERS

NFL Alumni Chapters are the backbone of  the NFL Alumni Association and the NFL Alumni Foundation. Chapters are instrumental in carrying out the mission of providing transitional resources and improving the quality of life for former players and increasing the Association's philanthropic footprint.

DETROIT CHAPTER INITIATIVES

  • Player Promotion and Advocacy
  • Provide Student Support through our Education Fund
  • Support Youth Football programming through strategic partnerships

Board Members

Ron Rice, Jr.
Board Position: President
Player Position: DB

Bio

Ron Rice is a former American football safety in the National Football League. Rice was signed by the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent in 1995. Ron Rice, a native Detroiter, graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 1995, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts. As a student athlete, Mr. Rice anchored the EMU Football team’s defense from the 1991-1994 seasons as a two time All Conference Safety. Mr. Rice then enjoyed a stellar career as Strong Safety and Co-Captain with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League from 1995 - 2002. During his football career his strong commitment to the community inspired him to create and develop The Ron Rice Foundation’s "Weekend with the Pros," an annual football clinic for Detroit youth. In 2000, Rice was awarded The Walter Payton Man of the year award from the NFL and the Detroit Lions for his community involvement. In 2002, he was forced into retirement due to a career ending neck injury. He recorded 477 totals, 5.5 sacks and 12 interceptions in his professional career. His on and off the field efforts landed him in the EMU Hall of Fame in 2002.
Pete Chryplewicz
Board Position: Vice President
Player Position: TE

Bio

Pete attended the University of Notre Dame where he was a 3 year starter at Tight End. In 1996, he led the team in receptions with 27 catches. He also helped lead the Irish to 4 consecutive bowl appearances: '93 Cotton Bowl, '94 Cotton Bowl, '95 Fiesta Bowl, and '96 Orange Bowl. Pete was voted Honorable Mention All-American and earned a roster spot in the '96 East-West Shrine Game following his senior season. Pete was a 5th round draft pick by the Detroit Lions in 1997.
Brett Petersmark
Board Position: Treasurer
Player Position: OL

Bio

College: Eastern Michigan University (1982-1986) All Mid-American Conference ’85-86’. AP Honorable Mention All-American 1986. Pro: Houston Oilers (1987), Dallas Cowboys (1988) Brett Petersmark played Center, Guard and Tackle on the Offensive Line. Brett signed as a Free Agent with the Houston Oilers in 1987 and Dallas Cowboys in 1988. Currently: President of Petersmark Financial Network, Ltd. A Wealth Management firm helping clients over the last 21 years crystallize their personal goals and developing a game plan in the area of Retirement, Estate, Tax and Investment Planning.
Scott Conover
Board Position: Secretary
Player Position: OL

Bio

A native of Freehold Borough, New Jersey, Scott graduated from Freehold Borough HS and went on to attend and play football for Purdue University in Indiana. While at Purdue Scott was a defensive lineman for his first three seasons before being moved to offensive tackle. After only one season on the offensive line he was drafted into the NFL in the fifth round. He played six seasons in the NFL as offensive tackle for the Detroit Lions. Upon retirement, Conover wrote Can I Play Too?, a children's tale which was inspired by his own personal experiences. Scott is a personal chef, having graduated from the Art Institute of New York City (formerly known as the New York Restaurant School) in 2007. Scott is also a national spokesperson for Nutrisystem as part of their "Get Back in the Game" campaign led by Dan Marino. The opportunity, which has positively impacted his own dietary regimen, has inspired Scott to place an emphasis on developing healthier meal options for his clients.
Herman Moore
Board Position: Executive Committee
Player Position: WR

Bio

EDUCATION BA, Marketing and Communications - University of Virginia, 1991 PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS PROFILE Over 10 years of management experience in the Information Technology (IT) industry with a focus on Software Design, Concept Development, Web Content Management and Delivery solutions for Sports, Entertainment and Business sectors. 12 years of experience in the Business Franchising Industry including new concept development, branding, sales, planning, operations, facilities, and budgeting. • 2-Sport Athlete at the University of Virginia (Football - First Team All-American WR) (Track and Field - Indoor and Outdoor ACC High Jump Champion) • Detroit Lions all-time leading receiver in catches, has the second most catches in a single season in NFL league history (123), possesses the seventh highest total in NFL league history for total receiving yards in a single season (1686), tied for second with the most games of 100 or more yards pass receiving in a season. • Detroit Lions first-round pick in 1991 and he retired from the NFL in May 2003. • Named to the NFL Pro Bowl on four occasions (3 times as a starter) • In October 2007, was among 124 modern-era players, coaches, and contributors on the preliminary list of nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2008. (One of only 7 other first-year eligible players to make the list) • Inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame 2008 • Inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame 2009 • Inducted into the Gridiron Greats of Michigan Football Hall of Fame 2011 CHARITIES AND FOUNDATIONS (Partial list) University of Virginia Children's Hospital - Virginia • Children's Hospital is dedicated to the care of children from birth through adolescence Henry Ford Health System - Game On Cancer • Game On Cancer a partnership between the Detroit Lions and Henry Ford Health System. It is an unprecedented initiative to significantly raise awareness and support for the fight against cancer. Boys and Girls Club - Virginia • Safe place for young boys and girls to learn and grow – all while having fun The Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation – Michigan • (“AJBF”) is a Michigan non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting cancer research, educational activities, and patient care support at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Fuel Up To Play 60 • Fuel Up to Play 60 is a program founded by the National Dairy Council and NFL, in collaboration with USDA, that empowers students to take charge in making small, everyday changes at school.
Damian Gregory
Board Position: Executive Committee
Player Position: DL

Bio

Damian, a Michigan native, was born in Ann Arbor Michigan and spent his youth in Lansing Michigan where he attended Sexton High School. He received a scholarship to Indiana University in Bloomington Indiana and graduated in the class of 2000. At Indiana University he was a three-year starter, voted “All-Big Ten”, appeared in 31 games with 22 starts and registered 125 tackles. He spent his last year of his college career with Illinois State University, where he was voted team MVP, 1st Team All-American and served as Team Captain voted by players and staff. In May of 2000 Damian signed as a free agent with the Miami Dolphins where he played Nose Guard and Tackle. After two years with the Dolphins in 2002, Damian signed with the Cleveland Browns where he played Defensive Tackle and Nose Guard. In 2003 Damian moved to Oakland where he played with the Oakland Raiders as Nose Guard. In 2004 Damian played a year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as Defensive Tackle. He also played in the NFL Europe League with the Scottish Claymores in 2004, where he was voted Team MVP, “All Europe First Team” and “Lineman Of The Year”. In 2006 Damian spent his last playing year with the with Michigan’s own Detroit Lions, where he played Nose Guard and Defensive Tackle. After a six-year career in the NFL, Damian founded Gridiron Marketing Group LLC in April 2005. Gridiron Marketing Group specializes in investment property, foreclosures, short sales, buying and selling commercial and residential property, and remodeling. Gridiron Marketing Group also provides commercial and residential development planning, marketing and funding of housing initiatives, which include rental housing projects allowing low-income families with quality affordable housing. Damian has spent every year since the end of his college career serving as a coach to several youth football camps, and various weekly football clinics in the United States and Scotland, such as the Jay Fiedler Volunteer Camp, the NFL Youth Activities and Team camps and several others. In July of 2008 Damian was selected by the NFL Retired Players Association to receive and internship as Defensive Line and Defensive Scout Team Coach with Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, Michigan. Damian continues to serve as president of Gridiron Marketing Group LLC, along with assisting Saginaw Valley State University with their Defensive Line, as well as coaching Gridiron Institute youth football camps training future NFL hopefuls. Damian resides in Jersey City New Jersey with his wife Shayla Gregory and son Damian Jr.
Ricky Bryant
Board Position: Executive Committee
Player Position: WR

Bio

Ricky played defensive back and wide receiver for the Farmington Hills Harrison Hawks (MI). He was a four-year varsity starter, during which the Hawks overall record was 45-4. His teams made three trips to the State Championship game, which culminated with undefeated seasons and State Championships in both his junior and senior years leading the team to back-to-back state championships. He finished his career as the Hawks all-time leader receiver in all categories and remains today in the Top 6 in the entire State of Michigan for career receiving yards (2,665) and touchdown receptions (33). In 1999 Ricky received a full scholarship to The Ohio State University. Played 2 1/2 seasons then transferred to Hofstra University in 2001. Was a two-year starter at Hofstra … Named to the Las Vegas All-American Bowl … As a senior, Ricky was voted Hofstra’s Coca-Cola Football Player of the Year … Started in all 12 games and led the Pride with 60 reception … As a junior, was selected All-Atlantic 10 … and led the team in receiving with 67 catches for 793 yards and four touchdowns. Ricky left Hofstra ranked ninth in career receptions with 127 and 10th in receiving yards with 1,690 in just two seasons Leaving Hofstra University, Ricky spent three years professionally, Two years with the New England Patriots, earning a Super Bowl ring within his first year playing professionally as a member of the 2004 Renowned Dynasty. He also played two years with NFL Europe where Ricky led NFL Europe in yards, receptions, Touchdowns (scoring in every game) before an injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season …after finishing his NFL career with the San Diego Chargers in 2007-08 and his pro career with Calgary Ricky’s last surgical procedure on the foot, Ricky then came to realize that football was coming to an end. With the game of football still in Ricky’s blood, Ricky was in need to stay involved with the game of football. In 2009 he became heavily involved in the community and still loves devoting his time helping the youth to not only pursue their dreams but also achieving their goals on and off the field. To further his passion of helping young men of all ages get the same opportunities he had, Ricky enjoys volunteering his time coaching the NFL Alumni Gridirion Camps and more. Ricky’s career and life after football began in 2009 when he founded a Management Company called Detroit Center for Care LLC, which managed Adult Care Facilities and Health Care Agencies. In September 2009 Ricky’s first project entailed managing a 27,000 square foot Home for the Aged licensed for 111 adults. In 2010, Ricky and his company then acquired the re-known facilities “Murff Homes” which consisted of three 24 hour staffed Adult Foster Care facilities licensed to house 33 mentally ill clients. In 2011, Ricky and his Management Consulting Company utilized its experienced and acquired Community Home Health Care Inc. Growing a successful agency and operating under the same desire and passion as Playing Professional Football Ricky now spends his time as the owner operator of Community Home Health Care Inc. and enjoys offering quality service and quality of life to those of need.
Tom Nowatzke
Board Position: Executive Committee
Player Position: RB

Bio

n 1965, Tom Nowatzke was #1 draft choice for the New York Jets and the Detroit Lions in 1965. Once Known as the Colts Cinderella Man, Tom Nowatzke played in the NFL for eight seasons, 5 with the Detroit Lions and 3 with the Baltimore Colts. In the last year, he played both full back and line backer. Nowatzke's shining moment came in Super Bowl V when he scored a game-tying touchdown for the Colts on the way to a victory over the Dallas Cowboys. After retiring in 1972, Nowatzke was inducted into the Indiana high school Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Indiana University Football Hall of Fame in 1996. Just recently, Tom has had a street named after him In his home town of Michigan City, Indiana. Also a 2008 Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Nowatzke currently runs his own business as the President of Nowatzke Truck & Trailer Inc, a semi truck and trailer dealer and repair facility in Whitmore Lake MI. Tom continues to stay close to the game of Football by serving as a member of the NFL Alumni National Board of directors.
Kerlin Blaise
Board Position: Executive Committee
Player Position: OL

Bio

Kerlin Blaise played five seasons with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. He played college football at the University of Miami and attended Maynard Evans High School in Orlando, Florida
Lomas Brown
Board Position: Executive Committee
Player Position: OL

Bio

Lomas Brown was drafted by the Lions in the first round (sixth overall) of the 1985 NFL Draft, and for the next 11 seasons the team would feature a pivotal piece on the offensive line that not only blocked for perhaps the greatest running back of all-time in Barry Sanders but a unit that would prove valuable to the several playoff appearances the team earned in the early 1990s. During his time in the NFL, Brown was one of the league’s premier tackles. He earned six-consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl from 1991-97, and he was a starter three years (1991-92 and 1994). Brown was the ever-important left tackle that shut down his defensive counterpart week in and week out, and he was one of the most durable offensive lineman in Detroit Lions history starting nearly every game (164) he played in as a Lion. Brown was a key blocker on a line that paved the way for Sanders as he claimed NFL rushing titles in 1990 and 1994. He blocked for Sanders for seven seasons (1989-95), and Sanders accumulated 10,172 yards (4.0 avg) and 73 rushing touchdowns during that time. Brown was a member of Lions teams that made the playoffs in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1995, and he was a member of the 1991 and 1993 squads that won the NFC Central division title. In 1991, the Lions set a franchise high with 12 regular season wins and earned a berth in the 1992 NFC Championship Game. Brown was a respected leader who graciously donated a great deal of time and energy to many charitable causes throughout the Detroit area.
Lem Barney
Board Position: Executive Committee
Player Position: HOF DB

Bio

Although he was a three-time All-Southwestern Conference star who had intercepted 26 passes in three seasons at Jackson State, Lem Barney was a comparative unknown when he joined the National Football League as a second-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions in 1967. It took only a few games, however, for the 6-0, 188-pound speedster to become widely respected as one of the premier comerbacks in pro football. Barney originally was tested as a wide receiver but his exceptional skills as a defender could not be ignored. After a sensational rookie season, he was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and selected to play in the Pro Bowl, something he would do six more times during his stellar career. Barney also tied for the NFL interception lead with 10. Three of his interceptions were returned for touchdowns, just one short of the then-all-time single-season record. Barney, a native of Gulfport, Mississippi, also won acclaim as a kick return specialist. Particularly early in his career, he saw duty on both the punt and kickoff return units, as well as playing full-time at comerback. He was highly feared as a big-play threat for good reason. In his 11-year tenure that ended after the 1977 campaign, Barney had a 98-yard kickoff return, a 94-yard field goal return, a 74-yard punt return and a 71-yard interception runback. His career record includes 56 interceptions for 1,077 yards, 143 punt returns for 1,312 yards and 50 kickoff returns for 1,274 yards. He scored 11 touchdowns on seven interceptions, two punt returns, one kickoff return and one field goal return. He also recovered 11 opponents' fumbles and doubled as the Lions punter in both 1967 and 1969. Barney was named All-NFL in 1968 and 1969 and All-NFC in 1972 and 1975.
Barry Sanders
Board Position: Executive Committee
Player Position: HOF RB

Bio

One of the game’s most electrifying runners, Barry Sanders rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his 10 seasons with the Detroit Lions (1989-1998). He was the first running back ever to do so. The 1988 Heisman Trophy winner was also just the third person to gain more than 2,000 yards in a season, a feat he accomplished in 1997. Sanders, after forgoing his senior season at Oklahoma State, made his pro debut just three days after signing with the Lions, who had made him their first-round pick and the third overall pick in the 1989 draft. He absolutely dazzled a Pontiac Silverdome crowd when he dashed for an 18-yard gain on his first carry as an NFL running back. But that was just the beginning. His 1,470 yards rushing that season, a-then Lions record, fell just 10 yards short of the league’s best for the year. In 1990, Sanders, with 1,304 yards rushing, topped all ground gainers, something he would do again in 1994 (1,883 yards) and in 1996 (1,553 yards). His 44 receptions for 283 yards in 1994 gave him a combined 2,166 yards from scrimmage. The most impressive feat of his remarkable career, however, came in 1997, when he rushed for a league-best 2,053 yards and gained another 305 yards on 33 catches for an amazing 2,358 combined yards gained. That year, Sanders, who was named league Most Valuable Player, gained more than 100 yards rushing in an NFL record 14 consecutive regular season games. Though not big by most standards, Sanders capitalized on his size by running low to the ground making him less of a target for would-be tacklers. His elusiveness and ability to reverse direction seemingly at will, often left defensive players grasping at air. “He makes you miss so bad, you kind of look up in the stands and wonder if anybody’s looking at you,” Atlanta Falcons cornerback D.J. Johnson once remarked. “You’ve got 60,000 people in there and you wonder if anyone saw you miss that tackle.” A first- or second-team All-Pro ten consecutive seasons, Sanders became the first NFL running back to record five 1,500-yard rushing seasons, in addition to being the only back to do so in four consecutive seasons (1994-1997). Selected to play in the Pro Bowl each of his 10 NFL seasons, Sanders held nearly every Lions’ rushing record and numerous all-time NFL records, at the time of his retirement.

Associate Assistants

LaToya Cunningham
Position: Public Relations Manager

Bio

LaToya Cunningham is the owner of Posh PR & Events which provides public relations services, consulting, brand management and non-profit representation; ultimately sparking conversation and debate across social media to create a unique mobile experience with the brand's target audience.
Lisa Cruz
Position: Chapter Liason

Bio

Lisa Cruz is a healthcare professional with Henry Ford Health Systems. She handles patient relations on behalf of NFL Alumni members and their families. She also assists in coordinating additional chapter business and benefits.