T. J. Housmanzadeh Hardship Scholarship Program
T.J. graduated from Barstow High School in Barstow, California. He later enrolled at Cerritos College. In his two seasons with the Falcons in 1997 and 1998, he was a two-time First-Team Mission Conference selection at wide receiver and kickoff returner.
He wanted to play as a running back his freshman year, but believing he was too tall to play running back, he voluntarily moved to wide receiver. He finished his Falcons career with 1,152 receiving yards on 65 receptions. He also had two 103-yard kickoff returns and an 92-yard punt return.
Based on his junior college performance, Houshmandzadeh was offered an athletic scholarship at Oregon State University by then head coach Dennis Erickson. Oregon State is where he and Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco first met as Beaver teammates.
In his sole season as a starter for Oregon State, Houshmandzadeh caught 42 passes for 656 yards and six touchdowns. He helped his team defeat Notre Dame in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl. T.J. contributed a receiving touchdown, assisting his team to a 41 – 9 victory.
Houshmandzadeh was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round (204th overall) in the 2001 NFL Draft.
Houshmandzadeh had a modest rookie season, recording 21 receptions for 228 yards, while also being used to return punts and kickoffs. His most notable achievement was in a game against the Cleveland Browns, in which he set a franchise record with 126 punt return yards.
After the 2001 season, questions about Houshmandzadeh's speed led to him slimming down to his current playing weight of about 200 pounds, which increased his on-field performance remarkably. Houshmandzadeh has gained a number of rushing yards on reverse plays. In 2004, he rushed six times and gained 51 yards (8.5 yards per attempt); in 2005, he rushed eight times for 62 yards (7.8 yards per attempt) and scored his first touchdown.
He's been called one of the NFL's most underrated players by many pundits. In fact, ESPN.com analyst K. C. Joyner noted that with only three dropped passes in the 2005 season, Houshmandzadeh ranked first in the league with a 2.6 dropped pass percentage.
Houshmandzadeh was signed by the Seattle Seahawks on March 2, 2009 to a five-year $40 million contract with $15 million guaranteed. He had also been courted by the Minnesota Vikings. Ironically, the Bengals swept the AFC North on their way to a 10-6 record, while Seattle finished 5-11. On September 4, 2010, the Seahawks released Houshmandzadeh.
Houshmanzadeh then signed a 1 year deal with Baltimore Ravens on September 6, 2010 for the veteran league minimum of $855,000. However, since his $7 million salary with the Seattle Seahawks was guaranteed in his previous contract, Seattle will pay him the remaining $6.15 million for 2010.
The Oakland Raiders signed wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh to a contract on Tuesday, reuniting him with his former quarterback Carson Palmer.
Palmer and Houshmandzadeh were teammates in Cincinnati for six seasons and both had their greatest NFL success when they were together.