Philadelphia Former Penn football student-athlete Ben Noll is now a member of the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys. Noll was picked up off waivers after being released by the St. Louis Rams and will begin the 2004 season as a member of Dallas’ 53-man regular season roster.
Noll, a native of Wildwood, Mo., signed a free agent contract with the Rams in mid-June and was released from the squad when St. Louis made its final cut from 64 players to 53. Once Dallas knew Noll was on the market, the NFC East power released its fifth-round draft pick, Sean Ryan out of Boston College, to make room for Noll.
The Cowboys saw a need for the six-foot, 300-pounder after third-round pick Stephen Peterman went down with multiple knee injuries and was placed on injured reserve last Friday. The addition of Noll gives the Cowboys 10 offensive linemen. Noll will wear No. 60. Dallas opens the 2004 season at the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Sept. 12 on FOX Television.
Noll helped propel the Penn offense to 34.6 points per game (second in the Ivy League), 170.8 yards per game on the ground (third) as well as 267.4 yards through the air (third) in 2003, while only surrendering 12 sacks, the fewest in the Ancient Eight. Noll earned All-Ivy honors during his junior and senior seasons, as a second and first-team selection, respectively. He walked away from Penn with a pair of Ivy League Championship rings and was a member of the only class to go undefeated at Franklin Field (19-0).
Noll joins Jim Finn, W’01 of the New York Giants as the only two former Penn student-athletes to be on NFL rosters heading into the season. The Ivy League boasts 11 players on opening day rosters. Noll will not be the lone Ivy Leaguer on the Cowboys, as he is joined by Columbia graduate Marcellus Wiley.
Penn finished the 2003 season as the only undefeated team in I-A or I-AA with a 10-0 overall record and a 7-0 Ivy League mark. The Red and Blue ended the campaign ranked 12th in I-AA after becoming the first team in 10 years to capture back-to-back Ancient Eight crowns, as well as just the second team in League history to post back-to-back perfect Ivy seasons. The Quakers will begin defense of their 13th Ivy League banner on the West Coast at the University of San Diego on Sept. 18.
Written by Mat Kanan, associate director of athletic communications