Each week the Illini in the NFL update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weeks. The 2013 NFL season started over the weekend with 24 former Illini on NFL rosters. Whitney Mercilus had five tackles and sack to help the Texans to a Monday night win over San Diego, while Akeem Spence, Hugh Thornton and Michael Buchanan all made their professional debuts.
Whitney Mercilus, DE, Houston Texans - Mercilus registered a career high 5 tackles and a sack on Monday Night Football in a thrilling 31-28 last second win over the Chargers. Watch Mercilus sack of Phillip Rivers
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Arizona Cardinals - In his debut with the Cardinals, Mendenhall rushed for 60 yards on 16 carries for an average of 3.8 and a long of 11 yards. In addition, Mendenhall was in the backfield for 35 of the Cardinals 71 offensive snaps during Arizona's 27-24 loss to St. Louis. Mendenhall also caught one pass for four yards.
Jeff Allen, OT, Kansas City Chiefs - After playing his way into the starting role at guard for 13 straight games last season, Allen got the nod in the season opener, as he helped the Chiefs accumulate 291 yards, including 120 on the ground. Watch #71 create a huge hole for Jamaal Charles to run through for an 18 yard gain.
Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints - Thomas was the Saints leading rusher with 43 yards on nine carries in Sunday's 23-17 win over the visiting Falcons. He also caught four passes for another 16 yards.
Alan Ball, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars - Ball started in a 28-2 losing effort to the visiting Chiefs. Ball started and recorded four tackles and a pass deflection.
Vontae Davis, CB, Indianapolis Colts - Davis started in the Colts 21-17 victory over the Raiders where he recorded two tackles on the day.
Corey Liuget, DE, San Diego Chargers - On Monday Night Football, Liuget recorded two tackles. Chargers lost 31-28 to the Houston Texans.
Steve Weatherford, P, New York Giants - Weatherford punted three times for an average of 54.7 yards in Sunday night's game against the Cowboys. Weatherford's longest punt soared for 60 yards as he recorded a net average distance of 41.7 yards with one pinning the Cowboys inside the 20.
Tony Pashos, OL, Oakland Raiders - Added by the Raiders last week to bolster their offensive line, Pashos started at right tackle in Oakland's loss to the Colts. The O-line helped Pryor rush for 112 yards on the ground and pass for 217 while only allowing one sack.
Michael Hoomanawanui, TE, New England Patriots - Hoomanawanui started in the Pats 23-21 win over the Bills. Hoomanawanui was targeted twice and reeled in one catch for five yards.
Michael Buchanan, DE, New England Patriots - Made his NFL debut in Sunday's 23-21 win over the Bills. Buchanan did not get on the stat sheet but played a factor in forcing a key three-and-out in the second quarter, yet another punt in a series in the third and several hurried throws in the fourth.
Hugh Thornton, OL, Indianapolis Colts - Thornton caught some action on the field in Sunday's game against the Raiders, but primarily serves as the backup for Mike McGlynn at the RG spot.
Tavon Wilson, FS, New England Patriots - Tavon Wilson saw some playing time in Sunday's game against the Bills. He continues to battle with Safety Devin McCourty for a starting spot on the New England defense.
Jeff Cumberland, TE, New York Jets - Cumberland received the starting nod on Sunday's 18-17 win over the Buccaneers. Cumberland was primarily used for blocking situations. Cumberland was forced to leave the game only momentarily after suffering a blow to the head from safety Dashon Goldson.
AJ Jenkins, WR, Kansas City Chiefs - Reunited with Alex Smith in Kansas City, Jenkins served as the backup wide receiver and did not see any action in the Chiefs 28-2 win over the Jaguars.
Jon Asamoah, OG, Kansas City Chiefs - Did not play due to a nagging calf injury.
David Diehl, OT, New York Giants - Diehl was ruled out of Sunday's game after undergoing surgery on his right thumb four weeks prior. He is expected to miss 2-3 more weeks.
Glenn Foster, DL, New Orleans Saints - Foster was ruled out of Sunday's game due to an ankle injury
Martez Wilson, LB, New Orleans Saints - Wilson was inactive during Sunday's game against the Falcons due to an elbow injury he incurred back in late July.
Mikel Leshoure, RB, Detroit Lions - Leshoure was inactive for the Lions game vs. the Vikings on Sunday.
Former Illini on Injured Reserve
Arrelious Benn, WR, Philadelphia Eagles - Out for season with torn ACL in his left knee suffered during training camp.
Kelvin Hayden, CB, Chicago Bears - Out for season with a torn left hamstring suffered in early August.
Graham Pocic, OL, St. Louis Rams - Out for season is injury suffered during training camp.
Former Illini on NFL Practice Squads
Justin Green, DB, New England Patriots