Running back SAMKON GADO of the Green Bay Packers and defensive end TRENT COLE of the Philadelphia Eagles are the NFL Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Month for November, the NFL announced Thursday.
OFFENSE: RB SAMKON GADO, GREEN BAY PACKERS
Free agent running back SAMKON GADO was signed to the Packers practice squad on October 17, saw his first NFL action on October 30 and made a major impact throughout November, rushing for 283 yards and scoring five touchdowns - tied for second-most among NFL rookies. He opened his first month as a full-time player with a 62-yard rushing effort against the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 6, scoring his first touchdown on a one-yard run. He celebrated his 23rd birthday in fine fashion the following Sunday against the Falcons, leading the team to an impressive 33-25 win at the Georgia Dome. Starting his first NFL game, Gado opened the scoring with a nine-yard touchdown run, later adding scores from one-yard on a run and a reception. The Nigeria native concluded the month with a 111-yard effort in a hard-fought 19-14 loss in Philadelphia, scoring on a 33-yard touchdown run to help Green Bay to a 14-10 halftime advantage.
Gado is the first Packers' offensive player to earn NFL Rookie of the Month honors since the award was instituted in 1996. The previous team winners were defensive end VONNIE HOLLIDAY (September, 1998) and linebacker NICK BARNETT (October, 2003).
DEFENSE: DE TRENT COLE, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Defensive end TRENT COLE made his first two NFL starts in November, playing in all four of the Eagles' games and making an immediate impact. A fifth-round pick from Cincinnati, Cole had sacks in three of four games, totaling 5.0 sacks, 15 tackles and one forced fumble in the month, becoming the first Eagle to record 5.0 sacks in a month since the sack stat was officially instituted in 1982. A native of Xenia, Ohio, Cole started his first NFL game against the New York Giants on November 20 and posted 2.0 sacks. That was his encore to a 2.0 sack performance from one week earlier in a narrow 21-20 setback to the Dallas Cowboys. Cole notched his first career sack against Washington on November 6, forcing a fumble that ended a Redskins' drive that had reached the Philadelphia 20-yard line.
Cole is the second Eagle ever to earn an NFL Rookie of the Month award, joining COREY SIMON (November, 2000).
2005 NFL ROOKIES OF THE MONTH
RB Carnell Williams, Tampa Bay (Auburn)
LB Odell Thurman, Cincinnati (Georgia)
TE Heath Miller, Pittsburgh (Virginia)
LB DeMarcus Ware, Dallas (Troy)
RB Samkon Gado, Green Bay (Liberty)
DE Trent Cole, Philadelphia (Cincinnati)
Other nominees for the November NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month were:
Tampa Bay guard DAN BUENNING (fourth-round, Wisconsin), who has started every game for the 7-4 Buccaneers, helping the club hold two of its four November opponents without a sack. Buenning helped pave the way for fellow rookie CARNELL "CADILLAC" WILLIAMS to rush for 249 yards in the month.
Cleveland wide receiver BRAYLON EDWARDS (first-round, Michigan), who moved into the team's starting lineup on November 20 and responded with a season-high six receptions for 90 yards. Edwards totaled 13 catches in the month for 198 yards (15.2-yard average) to contribute to Cleveland's 2-2 November record.
Chicago quarterback KYLE ORTON (fourth-round, Purdue), who led the Bears to a 4-0 record in November, completing 49 of 93 attempts for 474 yards with three touchdowns.
Other nominees for the November NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month Award were:
Chicago safety CHRIS HARRIS (sixth-round, Louisiana-Monroe), who started all four games in November for the NFL's top-ranked defense, totaling 31 tackles, 1.0 sack, and one fumble recovery. He ranks sixth on the club with 60 tackles in 2005.
Kansas City linebacker DERRICK JOHNSON (first-round, Texas), who posted 21 tackles, four quarterback pressures, and four passes defensed in November, helping the Chiefs reach a 3-1 November record.
Seattle linebacker LOFA TATUPU (second-round, USC), who finished the month with a team-leading 37 tackles, adding 1.0 sack for a defense that has allowed one 100-yard rusher in 2005.
Dallas linebacker DE MARCUS WARE (first-round, Troy), who helped the club to two wins in three November games, posting 15 tackles, including three for loss.
Denver cornerback-kick returner-punt returner DARRENT WILLIAMS (second-round, Oklahoma State), made 18 tackles and intercepted a pass which he returned 80 yards for a touchdown along with an additional pass defensed. Williams also returned three punts for 64 yards (21.3-yard average) and returned one kickoff for 27 yards.