Shar Pourdanesh

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Shar Pourdanesh
No. 67, 68
Born: (1970-07-19) July 19, 1970 (age 48)
Tehran, Iran
Career information
CFL statusInternational
Position(s)OT
CollegeNevada
High schoolUniversity
Career history
As player
1993Cleveland Browns
19941995Baltimore Stallions (CFL)
1996–1998Washington Redskins
1999–2000Pittsburgh Steelers
2001Oakland Raiders
Career highlights and awards
CFL All-Star1994
CFL East All-Star1994
Awards1994 - Leo Dandurand Trophy
Honors1995 - Grey Cup champion
Career stats

Shahriar Pourdanesh (born July 19, 1970) is a former American football offensive lineman who played in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Oakland Raiders from 1996 to 2001 when in 2001 a severe knee injury cut his career short. He is distinguished as being the first Iranian to play in the National Football League.

Early years[edit]

Pourdanesh is a graduate of University High School in Irvine, California.

An All-American and All Conference selection, and two time team captain for the University of Nevada at Reno, where in 1992 he was awarded Nevada's Most Outstanding Offensive Player award. He was an integral part and leader of one of the nation's top offenses during that span, and helped lead the Wolfpack to three conference titles and a spot in the 1990 1AA National Title game. He was inducted into the Nevada athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.

Professional career[edit]

He previously played with the Baltimore Stallions of the Canadian Football League from 1994–1995, where he was an All-Star and won the CFL's Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman Award in 1994 (the first ever rookie to be honored so), and was a member of the Grey Cup Championship team in 1995. He was also signed to a one-year deal with the Cleveland Browns in 1993 under coach Bill Belichick. He is the only Iranian-born football player in NFL history and has over 80 professional starts in his career.

Personal life[edit]

Shar and his family escaped revolution in 1979 and fled to Europe. The Pourdanesh family settled in Irvine, California in 1983 after spending 3 years in West Germany. He was introduced to football at age 15.