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.