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Greg Newsome II returns to play, Ben Skowronek makes crucial catch, and more from the NFL’s Week 17

Here's what former Wildcats have been up to across the league.

With more than a dozen former Wildcats active in the NFL, we’re tracking all the Northwestern news from across the league. Below, we break down latest from Week 17.

Greg Newsome II clears concussion and COVID protocols

Cleveland Browns cornerback Greg Newsome II finally returned to the field this week after missing the team’s last three games due to concussion and COVID protocols. Newsome sustained a concussion at the Browns’ practice on Friday, Dec. 10, and was then placed on Cleveland’s reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday, Dec. 22. He cleared NFL concussion and COVID protocols Thursday, according to USA Today’s BrownsWire, in time for the team’s Week 17 Monday Night Football contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The first-round draft pick out of Northwestern logged six tackles and two passes defensed in the Browns’ 14-26 loss that eliminated them from playoff contention.

Los Angeles Rams rookie Ben Skowronek helps clinch late-game win

In the final minutes of the Week 17 matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and the Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles pulled off a 20-19 win made possible in part by rookie wide receiver Ben Skowronek. With just over two minutes left on the clock, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford connected with Skowronek for a 15-yard pass on second-and-6 that brought Los Angeles to Baltimore’s 17-yard line; this helped set up Stafford and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for the last-minute touchdown that secured the Rams’ lead. Skowronek played in nearly 50% of Sunday’s snaps, according to USA Today’s RamsWire, despite dealing with a shoulder injury earlier in the week, as reported by the team.

Skowronek began his collegiate career at Northwestern, playing four seasons for the Wildcats before transferring to Notre Dame, where he was chosen by Los Angeles in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The rookie has recorded 11 receptions for 133 yards in six appearances this season.

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Series Preview: Northwestern Baseball Wraps Up Regular Season at Minnesota

The Wildcats enter the weekend trailing 8th-place Purdue by two games for the final spot in the Big Ten Conference baseball tournament.

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Purdue spoils Senior Day, takes series against Northwestern Baseball, 7-2.

Purdue starting pitcher Troy Wansing mixed his pitches well all afternoon as the Boilermakers capitalized on a quality 5.2 innings from their Sunday starter to pull out a series victory against Northwestern, 7-2.

Justin Jackson continues to contribute to the Los Angeles Chargers’ offense, keeping the team’s playoff hopes alive

Los Angeles Chargers running back and former Northwestern Wildcat Justin Jackson supported the Chargers’ offense last week in the absence of starting running back Austin Ekeler, who was out due to COVID protocols. On Monday, the team activated Ekeler (and Northwestern graduate Joe Gaziano) off the reserve/COVID-19 list, but this did not stop Jackson from contributing. The fourth-year veteran helped the Chargers secure a crucial win over the Denver Broncos with 12 rushes for 41 yards and three receptions for 20 yards. Los Angeles must now beat their AFC West rivals, the Las Vegas Raiders, next week to secure a spot in the postseason.

Green Bay Packers’ defensive linemen Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster maintain momentum

The Green Bay Packers won their fifth consecutive game with a 37-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, thanks in large part to a Packers’ defense featuring two former Northwestern Wildcats. Defensive lineman Dean Lowry flexed with four pressures, per USA Today’s PackersWire, and four pass deflections, as noted by Packers’ team reporter Wes Hodkiewicz. And though fellow defensive lineman and Northwestern grad Tyler Lancaster dealt with a back injury in the days before the game, according to the team, he took the field against the Vikings and led the Packer’s defensive line in tackles (2). The Green Bay defense ultimately held Minnesota to just 27 rushing yards, the fewest the team has allowed since 2014, according to SB Nation.

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