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Reggie Nelson

Reggie Nelson
No. 20     Cincinnati Bengals
Free safety
Personal information
Date of birth: (1983-09-21) September 21, 1983 (age 30)
Place of birth: Melbourne, Florida
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school: Melbourne (FL) Palm Bay
College: Florida
NFL Draft: 2007 / Round: 1 / Pick: 21
Debuted in 2007 for the Jacksonville Jaguars
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 5, 2013
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Template:Infobox NFL player/stats
Template:Infobox NFL player/stats
Template:Infobox NFL player/stats
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Stats at
Stats at

Reggie Lee Nelson (born September 21, 1983) is an American professional football player who is a safety for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL). Nelson played college football for the University of Florida, where he was a member of a national championship team and earned All-American honors. A first-round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, he has played professionally for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL.

Early years

Nelson was born in Melbourne, Florida in 1983.[1] He attended Palm Bay High School in Melbourne,[2] and was a standout high school football player for the Palm Bay Pirates. He was teammates with Joe Cohen and Xavier Carter. Nelson was a two-time first-team All-State honoree, and helped lead Palm Bay to win Florida Class 4A state championship as a safety and return specialist in 2002.[3] As a senior, Nelson averaged forty-five yards per punt return and 26.8 yards per kickoff return, totaling a state record 1,531 return yards. [4] In 2007, four years after he graduated from high school, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) named Nelson to its "All-Century Team," recognizing him as one of the thirty-three greatest Florida high school football players of the last 100 years.[4] He was taught football by Rob Robbins.

College career

After graduating from Palm Bay High School in 2003, Nelson and Pirates teammate Joe Cohen chose to attend the University of Florida over rival Florida State University. He attended Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kansas first, red-shirting his freshman year, and then earned his associate's degree and transferred to Florida as a sophomore.

Nelson accepted an athletic scholarship to play for coach Urban Meyer's Florida Gators football team in 2005 and 2006.[5] Nelson was an immediate sophomore starter for coach the Gators at free safety in 2005. Nelson started against Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and Florida State. Nelson registered forty-six tackles, second-team with four sacks, and forced a fumble. Against Georgia, Nelson recorded a career-high seven tackles. He also totaled seven tackles against Vanderbilt and Florida State.

In his junior year, which would end up being his last as a Gator, Nelson was selected as a member of the team's Leadership Committee, which was only one small highlight of his 2006 campaign. The Gators ended up going to the BCS National Championship Game and defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes, while Nelson recorded fifty-one tackles, five pass breakups and six interceptions. Two of his interceptions were against the Tennessee Volunteers, and he returned another for a seventy-yard touchdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Nelson was a first-team All-SEC selection and a consensus first-team All-American, and he was chosen by his Gators teammates as the team's most valuable player.[5][6]

In 2006, he was part a defense that helped the Gators win their first SEC title in six years and their first national championship in ten years. While also gaining him the moniker "The Eraser" for his strong defensive play throughout the season as well as the "battle for the SEC" game against LSU [7] At a Gators home basketball game the night following the national championship game, Nelson received a standing ovation from the crowd while they chanted his name and then "One more year!"

Professional career

Jacksonville Jaguars

Nelson was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round (twenty-first pick overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft.[8] After the departure of free safety Deon Grant as a free agent and the release of strong safety Donovin Darius, Nelson led the Jaguars with seven tackles in their season opener against the Tennessee Titans in his first NFL game. He also sacked Tennessee quarterback Vince Young, causing a forced fumble. He ended the year with sixty-three tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and five interceptions.

Cincinnati Bengals

On September 4, 2010 he was traded to the Cincinnati Bengals. In return, the Jaguars received cornerback David Jones.[9] During the 2011 season, Nelson led the Bengals with four interceptions.[10] He was third on the team in tackles (102) and tied for second on the team in forced fumbles (two), including one that fellow Gator alumnus Carlos Dunlap returned for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts.[10] Nelson returned his first interception of the 2011 season 75 yards for a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks—the fifth-longest interception return in Bengals history.[10]

Following the 2011 season, Nelson became a free agent. The Bengals re-signed him on March 18. 2012.[11]


Nelson's sister, Lynisha, is a basketball player for Florida Tech and his brother, Michael Nelson, is a teacher in the Miami-Dade public school system. Nelson's mother, Mary Lakes, who had breast cancer for several years, died on December 21, 2006, weeks before the 2007 BCS National Championship Game. As a result, Nelson was excused from participating in the daily media briefings leading up to the game.[12]

See also

American football portal
Biography portal
College football portal



  • Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0-7948-2298-3.

External links

  • Reggie Nelson – Cincinnati Bengals player profile
  • Reggie Nelson – Florida Gators player profile

Template:2006 NCAA Division I FBS College Football Consensus All-Americans

Template:Cincinnati Bengals roster navbox

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