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Friday, April 29, 2011


Jeff Reinke

The 2011 National Football League Draft started with the first round selections taking place Friday night.

While those who follow the Minnesota Vikings were left to ponder whether Christian Ponder was right or wrong with the twelfth overall pick, for some it led to a question such as "when was the last time a Minnesota State (or if you come from a different era - Mankato State) was selected in the NFL Draft?"

While he's not one to dwell on the import of such things, Jeff Reinke is a person who can shed some light on the subject.

An All-North Central Conference offensive lineman as a senior for the Mavericks in 1985, Reinke was selected in the tenth round (275th overall) by the Los Angeles Raiders in the 1986 NFL Draft and as such, owns the distinction as the last MSU player to have picked in the NFL Draft.

A native of Sacred Heart, Minn., and now living with his family in New Prague, where he runs his own small welding business, Reinke is one of three former MSU players to have been taken in the annual NFL lottery.  Tight end Bob Bruer, who went on to play five years with the Vikings, was picked by the Houston Oilers in the ninth round (221st overall) by the Houston Oilers in 1976 and defensive lineman Phil Driscoll went to the Miami Dolphins in the 11th round (279th overall) in the 1980 draft.

Reinke, who was drafted and played in the NFL as a defensive lineman, also saw action with Cincinnati in 1987.

"I had been told that I would go a little higher in the draft then I did, so I remember being disappointed on draft day," recalled Reinke.  "But once I got the call, which I think came around 10:00 p.m. that night, it was pretty cool.  I believe we went over to the Albatross to celebrate."

Things happened fairly quickly following that, said the former Maverick lineman. "They brought us to Los Angeles for physicals and then after mini-camp it wasn't long before camp started."

Reinke went to a Raiders team that, while loaded with familiar names such as Lyle Alzado, Marcus Allen, Howie Long, Matt Millen and Jim Plunklett, was a few years removed from the Super Bowl-winning teams from 1981 and 1984.  He then spent the 1987 campaign with the Cincinnati Bengals which went 4-11-0 and finished fourth in the AFC Central.

"Yes, it's something that I'm proud of," said Reinke.  "But to tell you the truth, it's not something I think of a whole lot.  The people who know me will tell you that I'm not one to talk about those things."

Reinke's son, Jay, is continuing on the family football tradition and was a freshman with Bemidji State this past fall.  An AP All-State selection as a high school senior at New Prague, Jay, like his dad, is a defensive lineman.

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