DeMeco Ryans was born July 28, 1984.

In a nine-year NFL career to date, the inside linebacker has become renowned for his run-stopping abilities, making 921 total tackles and 703 solo stops in 126 career games.

After graduating Jess Lanier High School in 2002, Ryans chose to stay in state and suit up for the Alabama Crimson Tide, and he became one of the nation's most feared defenders in his four-year career. Ryans won the 2005 SEC Defensive Player of the Year Trophy and was a consensus selection as a first-team All American.

Ryans was selected 33rd overall in the 2006 NFL draft by the Houston Texans, and he didn't take long to assert himself, immediately gaining a starting job as an inside linebacker. As a 22-year-old rookie, Ryans started all 16 games and led the entire league in solo tackles with 125 (16 ahead of second-place Lance Briggs).

The 6-1 linebacker finished with more than 100 total tackles in each of the next three years, starting 16 games in each year and earning Pro Bowl appearances after the 2007 and 2009 seasons.

After starting the 2010 season with 50 total tackles in the first five games, Ryans tore his left Achilles tendon in a Week 6 loss to the Jaguars. Ryans proceeded to miss the rest of the season as Brian Cushing slid into his inside linebacker role.

Due to Cushing's emergence, Ryans was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles before the 2012 season, where he has resurged as a top run-stuffer, becoming affectionately known to fans and players as "Mufasa" for his defensive leadership. Ryans started all 16 games and made 113 tackles in 2012, highlights of which can be seen here:

Then, in 2013, Ryans was even better, finishing eighth in the NFL with 102 solo stops (the most since his rookie season) while also securing two interceptions.

Ryans' 2014 season ended after eight games, this time after rupturing his right Achilles tendon in a Week 9 win over his former team.

Ryans expects to be ready for training camp, but his starting spot won't be guaranteed this season In addition to returnee Mychal Kendricks (83 total tackles in 12 games last season), the Eagles traded for fellow inside linebacker Kiko Alonso (158 tackles in 2013).

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