Former Hawkeye Bryan Bulaga enters 12th year in NFL

Bulaga was drafted to Green Bay in the 2010 NFL Draft, and spent nine seasons with the Packers before signing a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Chargers.


© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 7, 2021; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers run game coordinator coach Frank Smith (right) and tackle Bryan Bulaga (75) during organized team activities at the Hoag Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ethan Brander, Sports Reporter

After an injury-riddled 2020-21 season, former Hawkeye offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga will begin the 12th season of his professional career at Los Angeles Chargers training camp July 29.

Bulaga was the highest-rated player in the University of Iowa football program’s recruiting class of 2007. According to 24/7 Sports, Bulaga joined the Hawkeyes as a four-star prep recruit.

A native of Woodstock, Illinois, Bulaga played offense and defense at Marian Central Catholic High School. Bulaga primarily played tight end and left tackle in high school, recording 35 receptions for over 650 yards and 10 touchdowns.

On the defensive side of the ball, Bulaga played defensive end and linebacker, racking up 251 tackles and 31 sacks.

At Iowa, Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz chose to use Bulaga primarily on the offensive line. From 2007-10, Bulaga played the majority of his snaps at left offensive tackle.

Bulaga won a litany of awards in his three seasons as a Hawkeye. In 2007, he made the All-Big Ten Freshman team.

In 2009-10 — Bulaga’s final season as a Hawkeye — he was the Big Ten’s Offensive Lineman of the Year and a Sporting News first-team All-American.

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Bulaga declared for the NFL Draft in 2010 after Iowa’s Orange Bowl victory over Georgia Tech. The former Hawkeye was drafted 23rd overall by the Green Bay Packers. He was the fourth offensive tackle taken in the 2010 NFL Draft.

When he joined the Packers, Bulaga was moved from left to right tackle. Since then, he’s played the majority of his snaps at right tackle.

Bulaga played in all 16 regular season games in his rookie season, starting 12. He also started at right offensive tackle in all four of Green Bay’s postseason games in 2010, including the Packers’ 2011 Super Bowl win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After the 2010-11 season, Bulaga was named to the NFL’s All-Rookie team along with his former Hawkeye teammate Pat Angerer of the Indianapolis Colts. In 2012, Bulaga was a second-team All-Pro.

Bulaga was Green Bay’s primary starter at right tackle from 2010-19, starting in 121 of the 125 games he played.

Bulaga has been forced to miss a significant number of games in his career because of injuries, including the entire 2013 season after tearing his ACL in the preseason.

After the 2019-20 season, Bulaga signed a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Chargers.

In his first season with the Chargers, Bulaga was hit with a variety of injuries, limiting his time on the field to just 10 games.

In the Chargers’ Week 3 game against the Carolina Panthers in the 2020-21 season, Bulaga played through a knee injury. Bulaga, however, injured his back against the Panthers, sidelining him for three weeks.

Bulaga’s back continued to be an issue throughout the season as he sat out Los Angeles’ Week 12 contest against the Buffalo Bills. Bulaga then suffered a concussion and a foot injury to end his first season as a Charger.

When he is healthy, Bulaga has been a consistent starter for the Packers and the Chargers. According to CBS Sports, Bulaga is the presumed starter at right tackle for the Chargers in the 2021-22 season.