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A. J. Klein (born July 30, 1991) from Kimberly, Wisconsin[1] is an American football linebacker for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Iowa State. He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

A. J. Klein
refer to caption
Klein with the Panthers in 2015
No. 53 – New Orleans Saints
Personal information
Born: (1991-07-30) July 30, 1991 (age 28)
Appleton, Wisconsin
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:240 lb (109 kg)
Career information
High school:Kimberly (Kimberly, Wisconsin)
College:Iowa State
NFL Draft:2013 / Round: 5 / Pick: 148
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 7, 2019
Total tackles:306
Forced fumbles:6
Fumble recoveries:3
Player stats at

High school careerEdit

Klein attended Kimberly High School where he was a letterman in football and track. His football team went 37-1 during his career. He led team to back-to-back Division II state championships in his final two seasons. He recorded 121 tackles, five sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries as a senior, and his career included 287 tackles, 17 sacks and two interceptions.

In track & field, Klein competed as a sprinter in spring of 2008. During the indoor season, he competed in the 55-meter dash and recorded a personal-best time of 7.01 seconds at the Oshkosh HS Invite.[2] He competed in the 100-meter dash during the outdoor season, earning a 5th-place finish at the WIAA Regional with a time of 11.8 seconds.[3]

Considered a three-star recruit by, he accepted a scholarship offer from Iowa State over offers from Northern Illinois, Western Michigan and Wyoming.[4]

College careerEdit

Klein at Iowa State in 2012.

While attending Iowa State University, Klein was a member of the Iowa State Cyclones football team from 2009 to 2012. He played in every game as a true freshman finishing the season with 17 tackles, and also caused and recovered a fumble. He played in 12 games, starting 10, as a sophomore, and finished second on the team in tackles with 111, including eight for loss. He also had three interceptions (returning 2 for touchdowns), four pass deflections, and a fumble recovery. In 2011, he started in all 13 games, recording 116 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for loss and two sacks, seven pass deflections, six pass break ups, and an interception (returned for a touchdown). He was named Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year and earned All-Big 12 first team honors. In his senior season, he recorded 117 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack, three pass deflections, two pass break ups and an interception (returned for a touchdown). He earned All-Big 12 first team honors once again.

Professional careerEdit

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft 1 14 in
(1.86 m)
250 lb
(113 kg)
32 78 in
(0.84 m)
10 14 in
(0.26 m)
4.66 s 1.60 s 2.69 s 4.35 s 7.06 s 33 in
(0.84 m)
9 ft 5 in
(2.87 m)
24 reps
All values from NFL Combine/Iowa State’a Pro Day[5][6]

Carolina PanthersEdit

The Carolina Panthers drafted Klein in the fifth round (148th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft. Klein was the 16th linebacker drafted in 2013.[7]

Klein (left) playing for the Panthers in 2015.

On May 23, 2013, the Carolina Panthers signed Klein to a four-year, $2.35 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $191,300.[8]


Throughout training camp, Klein competed against Chase Blackburn, Jordan Senn, Jason Williams, and Doug Hogue for a role as the primary backup outside linebacker.[9][10] Head coach Ron Rivera named Klein the backup strongside linebacker, behind Thomas Davis, to begin the regular season.[11]

He made his professional regular season debut during the Carolina Panthers’ season-opening 12–7 loss against the Seattle Seahawks. On November 10, 2013, Klein earned his first career start after Chase Blackburn was ruled inactive due to a foot injury he sustained the previous week. Klein collected a season-high five solo tackles and made his first career sack during their 10–9 victory at the San Francisco 49ers in Week 10. Klein sacked 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick for a 14-yard loss during the second quarter.[12] He finished his rookie season in 2013 with 21 combined tackles (18 solo) and two sacks in 16 games and two starts.[13]


During training camp in 2014, Klein competed against Chase Blackburn to be a starting outside linebacker.[14] Head coach Ron Rivera named Klein and Thomas Davis the starting outside linebackers to begin the regular season, alongside middle linebacker Luke Kuechly.[15] In Week 4, he collected a season-high seven combined tackles during a 38–10 loss at the Baltimore Ravens. Klein was inactive for the last two games (Weeks 16–17) due to an ankle injury.[16] He finished the 2015 NFL season with 39 combined tackles (25 solo) in 14 games and eight starts.[17]

The Carolina Panthers finished the 2015 NFL season first in the NFC South with a 7–8–1 record, but Klein was inactive due to his ankle injury as they reached the NFC Divisional Round where they were defeated 31–17 at the Seattle Seahawks.[18]


Klein entered training camp slated as the starting weakside linebacker, but saw competition from rookie first round pick Shaq Thompson.[19] Head coach Ron Rivera named Klein the backup weakside linebacker, behind Shaq Thompson, to begin the regular season.[20] On September 20, 2015, Klein started at middle linebacker after Luke Kuechly was inactive due to a concussion he sustained the previous week.[21] He recorded four combined tackles, one pass deflection, and made his first career interception as the Panthers defeated the Houston Texans 24-17 in Week 2. Klein intercepted a pass by Texans’ quarterback Ryan Mallett, that was intended for tight end Garrett Graham, and returned it for an eight-yard loss during the fourth quarter. In Week 3, he collected a season-high ten combined tackles (six solo) during a 27-22 win against the New Orleans Saints.[22] Klein was inactive for the Panthers’ Week 6 victory at the Seattle Seahawks after suffering a concussion during a Week 4 victory at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[23] Klein finished the season with 55 combined tackles (39 solo), one pass deflection, one sack, and one interception in 15 games and six starts.[17]

External video
  Play of the Game: A.J. Klein interception

On February 7, 2016, Klein was part of the Panthers team that played in Super Bowl 50. In the game, the Panthers fell to the Denver Broncos by a score of 24–10.[24]


During Week 10 of the 2016 season, All-Pro starting linebacker Luke Kuechly was severely concussed and did not play the rest of the season. Kuechly's injury thrust Klein into a starting role for the Panthers. In his seven starts, Klein made 16 solo tackles, assisted on 13 more and registered one sack.[25]

New Orleans SaintsEdit

On March 9, 2017, Klein signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the New Orleans Saints.[26][27] He suffered a groin injury in Week 14 and was placed on injured reserve on December 19, 2017.[28] He started the first 12 games of 2017, recording 54 tackles, two sacks, and four passes defensed.


  1. ^ Super Bowl 'surreal' for A.J. Klein's family retrieved October 12, 2018.
  2. ^ "Oshkosh HS Invite - Track & Field Meet".
  3. ^ "WIAA Regional - Track & Field Meet".
  4. ^ "".
  5. ^ "NFL Events: Combine Player Profiles - A.J. Klein".
  6. ^ "A.J. Klein - Iowa State, ILB : 2013 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile".
  7. ^[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ " A.J. Klein contract". Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  9. ^ "Carolina Panthers 2013 Season Preview". August 31, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  10. ^ "Full Training Camp Roster Breakdown for the Carolina Panthers". July 20, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  11. ^ " Carolina Panthers Depth Chart: 09/05/2013". Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  12. ^ "Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers - November 10th, 2013". Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  13. ^ "2013 rookie class in review". Archived from the original on February 20, 2014. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  14. ^ "A.J. Klein vs. Chase Blackburn: Positional Battle Royal". Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  15. ^ " Carolina Panthers Depth Chart: 10/01/2014". Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  16. ^ "Injury roundup: A.J. Green still battling concussion". December 31, 2014. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  17. ^ a b "NFL Player stats: A.J. Klein (career)". Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  18. ^ "NFL Player stats: A.J. Klein (2016)". Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  19. ^ "Panthers LB Thompson Working With the 2nd Team". July 13, 2015. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  20. ^ " Carolina Panthers Depth Chart: 10/01/2015". Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  21. ^ Person, Joseph (September 17, 2015). "Carolina Panthers comfortable with A.J. Klein if Luke Kuechly can't go". Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  22. ^ "NFL Player stats: A.J. Klein (2015)". Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  23. ^ Jones, Jonathan (October 14, 2015). "Now Carolina Panthers LB A.J. Klein is in concussion protocol". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  24. ^ "Super Bowl 50 - Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers - February 7th, 2016". Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  25. ^ "A.J. Klein Stats -".
  26. ^ Florio, Mike (March 9, 2017). "Three years, $15 million for A.J. Klein in New Orleans".
  27. ^ "New Orleans Saints announce roster moves". March 10, 2017.
  28. ^ Williams, Charean (December 19, 2017). "Saints place A.J. Klein on injured reserve, add John Phillips".

External linksEdit