Former UW-Whitewater football all-Americans Jake Kumerow (2012-2014) and Quinn Meinerz (2017-2020) suited up for action on Sunday in their teams’ National Football League season openers.
Kumerow is a wide receiver with the Buffalo Bills; Meinerz is a rookie center/right guard with the Denver Broncos.
Kumerow and Meinerz are the first players from the same Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference school to compete in the NFL at the same time since Tom Newberry (Los Angeles Rams) and Joel Williams (Atlanta Falcons) represented UW-La Crosse in 1989.
Kumerow won a spot with the Bills as a backup receiver after a strong preseason showing. After a three-year career with the Warhawks that included 2014 D3football.com Offensive Player of the Year honors and two national championships, Kumerow was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2015.
He spent time on the Bengals' practice squad in 2015 and 2016 before being added to the New England Patriots' practice squad in October 2017.
Kumerow saw his first NFL action as a member of the Green Bay Packers, playing in 19 games over two years. He appeared in six games for the Bills during the 2020 season and made Buffalo's 53-man roster out of camp.
Kumerow enters the 2021 season with 21 career receptions for 344 yards and three touchdowns.
The receiver saw action in four plays and was not targeted on any pass plays during the Bills’ 23-16 loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Meinerz was taken by the Denver Broncos in the third round (98th overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft. He is currently listed as the backup center and right guard for the Broncos entering the season.
Meinerz was a consensus All-American (D3football.com, AFCA, AP) in 2019 after helping UW-Whitewater to a national runner-up finish. He gained the attention of professional scouts with his performance at the 2021 Reese's Senior Bowl and held a pro day at Perkins Stadium in March to solidify his status as a top-100 pick.
Meinerz played in spot duty for the Broncos in their 33-6 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. A recap of his performance by Joey Richards of Mile High Sports:
“Meinerz, the Division III product, is an interesting name to watch this season as the physical tools are there but the nuance and polish are still a work in progress.
“Meinerz is known as a mauler and we saw plenty of that against the Vikings. Getting off the line of scrimmage fast and in a hurry, he won his battle, pushing the defender down the field, on multiple occurrences. While this aggressiveness is a great trait going forward, his want to destroy anybody lined up in front of him also led to him lunging and sometimes losing control of his assignment.
“Meinerz is a long shot to play much this season but is definitely a name to keep an eye on going forward. The potential is there for him to someday be a starting offensive lineman for the Broncos.”