He was born on February 28, 1987 in Tucson, AZ where he graduated from Sabino High. As a redshirt freshman, he switched from H-back to defensive end and appeared in nine games as a reserve, collecting seven tackles. As a sophomore, he started 13 games and had 37 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, three force fumbles and two passes defended. He earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors as a sophomore. As a junior he started eight of 10 games, recording 23 tackles, five for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble and a pass defended. As a senior, he started all 13 games, tallying 47 tackles, 10 for loss, 6.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and two pass breakups. He earned first team All-Pac-10 honors. He was originally drafted by the Houston Texans in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Signed by Houston Texans on July 31, 2011 ... Signed by Atlanta Falcons on March 10, 2015.
Signed a five-year contract worth $22.5 million with the Falcons in 2015. His deal included a signing bonus of $4.7 million with $9 million guaranteed. Those guarantees include his first two years' base salaries and signing bonus. His 2016 base salary is initially guaranteed for injury, but will become fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2016 league year. His base salaries are: $2.2 million (2015); $2.5 million (2016); $4.1 million (2017); and $4.5 million (2018 and 2019). His cap hits will be: $3.14 million (2015); $3.44 million (2016); $5.04 million (2017); and $5.44 million (2018-19). His deal aslso includes escalators of $1 million should he make the Pro Bowl at any point.