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Jonathan Polynice Vilma (born April 16, 1982 in Coral Gables, Floridamarker) is an American football linebacker for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League. He was originally drafted by the New York Jets 12th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Miami.

Early years

Vilma attended Coral Gables High School where he was a teammate of Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore. During his dominant reign in high school, Vilma was offered scholarships to the University of Miamimarker, Florida State, Florida, Pittsburgh and Iowa. He eventually chose the University of Miami.

University of Miami

2000 season

In 2000, Vilma played in all 11 games as a reserve middle linebacker and compiled 38 tackles (29 solo) and a pass deflection.

2001 season

After the graduation of Dan Morgan, Vilma stepped into the starting middle linebacker role and played an integral role on the Hurricanes' National Championship team. He led the team in tackles with 79 (54 solo) and compiled two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery for a 36-yard touchdown, three pass deflections and an interception. He started 11 of 12 games during the regular season and was selected on the First-Team All-Big East team.

2002 season

Vilma led the team in tackles with 133 (75 solo), and had two quarterback sacks, a forced fumble, recovered two fumbles, (returning one for a touchdown) and broke up five passes. He earned unanimous first-team All-Big East selection for the second time in his career and was semi-finalist for the Dick Butkus Award, along with teammate D.J. Williams.

2003 season

In his final year, Vilma led the team in tackles for a third time with 127 (81 solo), with one sack, forced one fumble, and recovered three fumbles. Vilma ended the year as a finalist for the Butkus Award.

Along with his success on the field, Vilma was a three-time Academic All-Big East Conference. He received a Bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Miamimarker's School of Business Administration.

Professional career


  • 4.54 40 Yard Dash
  • 37 Inch Vertical
  • 23 Bench Reps
  • 6.67 Three-Cone Drill
  • 4.20 Short Shuttle
  • 10-foot-1 Broad Jump

New York Jets

Vilma was drafted by the Jets with the 12th selection in the 2004 NFL Draft.


In 2004, Vilma was named as the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press. During his rookie campaign, he recorded 108 tackles, two sacks, and three interceptions, including one which was returned for his first NFL touchdown.


In 2005, Vilma led the NFL in tackles with 173, forced four fumbles, notched one fumble recovery, half a sack, and one interception. Vilma also replaced Zach Thomas at the 2006 Pro Bowl.


In 2006, Vilma put together another solid season. He compiled 114 tackles, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and one interception.


On October 27, 2007, Vilma was placed on injured reserve.He suffered a season ending knee injury during the New York Jets week 7 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Vilma was diagnosed with osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) in high school, a bone defect that can cause instability and loose particles in the joint, and this is a possible cause behind his season-ending injury in 2007.

New Orleans Saints

On February 29, 2008 the Jets traded Vilma to the New Orleans Saints for a 4th round draft pick in the 2008 NFL Draft and a conditional pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

In his first season with the Saints, Vilma was a bright spot on a weak defensive unit. Vilma played in all 16 games, and recorded 132 tackles with one sack.

On January 16, 2009, Vilma was arrested for reckless driving and resisting arrest. The charges were dropped by Miamimarker prosecutors on February 25, 2009.

On February 27, 2009, Vilma signed a 5 year, 34 million dollar contract with the New Orleans Saints.

Career statistics

Year Team G Tackles Sacks TFL INT INT YDS FF FR PD TD
2004 NY Jets 16 108 2 5.5 3 58 0 1 5 1
2005 NY Jets 16 173* 0.5 6 1 1 4 1 6 0
2006 NY Jets 16 114 0 1 1 0 1 1 4 0
2007 NY Jets 7 43 0 0.5 1 12 1 0 4 0
2008 New Orleans Saints 16 132 1 1 8 2 3 6 0
Totals 71 567 3.5 13 7 79 8 6 25 1

  • *NFL Leader

Personal Life

Vilma is a spokesman for Under Armour and WaterBank of America USA Inc.

On March 31, 2009 two Liberianmarker men were killed in a Long Islandmarker condominium owned by Vilma. Police believe that the victims may have been part of a black money scam, where the perpetrators claim that cash smuggled from overseas -- stained black to avoid detection -- can be purchased at a discount; in reality, what they offer is a trunk full of worthless paper. Vilma is not considered a suspect, and his connection to the two men is unknown.


  3. Miami Charges Dropped Against Vilma Yahoo Sports, February 25, 2009
  5. [1]
  6. [2]
  7. 2 Slain in Vilma-Owned Condo ESPN, March 31, 2009

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