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    Update On Former Illini In The NFL



    Sept. 15, 2008

    Currently there are 20 former Fighitng Illini football players in the National Football League, 17 of whom are on active rosters. Here's how they fared in Week 2 of the regular season.





    Alan Ball
    CB
    Dallas Cowboys
    Ball and the Cowboys play Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Bio | Stats



    Danny Clark
    LB
    New York Giants
    Clark started and recorded three solo tackles in the Giants 41-13 win over the St. Louis Rams.

    Bio | Stats



    Carey Davis
    FB
    Pittsburgh Steelers
    Davis had one carry for two yards in the Steelers 10-6 win over the Cleveland Browns.

    Bio | Stats




    Jason Davis
    FB, Chicago Bears
    3rd year in
    NFL (2008) - on Bears' practice squad

    Bio | Stats




    Dave Diehl
    OL
    New York Giants
    Diehl made his 82nd consecutive start as the New York Giants rolled to a 41-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams. Diehl helped pave the way for 441 total offense yards.

    Bio | Stats

    "Illinois football is really a huge family, and that's the great thing, because every time you go back you are bound to run into a couple of alumni who played at Illinois. It's fun to share your experiences with them and see where they are. It's kind of a fraternity in itself, and seeing all the alumni who come back, you can tell how much the program means to them."   - Dave Diehl



    Kelvin Hayden
    CB
    Indianapolis Colts
    Hayden had seven tackles in the Colts' 18-15 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

    Bio | Stats

    "I consider my time playing football at the University of Illinois as a great privilege. There are so many guys who play at the college football level who dream of the chance to play at the NFL, and I feel that the University of Illinois was a big reason that I am blessed to have that opportunity. I will never forget my first and last games at Illinois. I had waited so long to play college football, and coming out of junior college, it seemed like it took forever to get to that first game. We were able to get the victory that day. Winning our last home game on Senior Day really meant a lot to me, and in a year where we expected bigger things, it was great to get a win in our last home game in Memorial Stadium.

    "The fans at Illinois are extremely loyal. At times when I was there, we didn't give them a lot to cheer for, but they were always there at the games and always making sure you knew they were behind you. In addition the fans, I think the facilities at Illinois are top-notch. Most of the teams I visited in the NFL had very similar facilities to the ones at Illinois, and they are really at the top of the line.

    "It's awesome to be a part of the Illinois football family, and I really believe the Illini fans have a lot to look forward to."   - Kelvin Hayden



    Nathan Hodel
    LS
    Arizona Cardinals
    Hodel saw action in the Arizona Cardinals' 31-10 win over the Miami Dolphins.

    Bio | Stats

    "Both of my parents went to Illinois and, as a kid, I would get Illinois football tickets as birthday presents. It was a dream for me to be a part of something that I grew up watching and being able to play for Illinois was special for me and my family.

    "I have been able to make it back to the spring game tailgate a few times, and I have had the opportunity to talk to guys who got out after me and guys who helped develop the program 30 years ago. There is no doubt there is a common bond between everyone who wore the uniform, and it's something I am proud to be a part of."   - Nathan Hodel



    Greg Lewis
    WR
    Philadelphia Eagles
    Lewis and the Eagles face off Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys.

    Bio | Stats

    "It was great to go to Illinois and it was an experience I won't ever forget. To start at the bottom and bring the program back to the top with the 2001 Big Ten Championship was a great experience.

    "One of the things I was most proud of in my time at Illinois was helping to carry on that walk-on tradition. When I first got there, some other walk-ons there told me that the walk-ons at Illinois have a lot of pride in what they do and they aren't there to feel sorry and not play. A lot of the guys through the years at Illinois have done great things to help build the program, and I look forward to that tradition continuing in the future.

    "The Illinois fans have been tremendous to me. When I was down there they were always giving us support. Whether we lost or won they were there to cheer us on and make sure that we felt good about what we were doing. Illini fans are everywhere and I run into them in different cities and they are always interested in how things are going."   - Greg Lewis



    Brandon Lloyd
    WR
    Chicago Bears
    Lloyd recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown and had five catches for 66 yards, with a long of 32, in the Bears' 20-17 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

    Bio | Stats

    "Playing football at the University of Illinois meant way more to me than just playing football. The standards and the foundation that were left by the players before me are the standards that I want to live up to as a football player. One of the great things about playing football at Illinois is that it prepared me for the next level. Everything we did at Illinois we did first class--from training camp in Rantoul, to traveling and playing in first-class facilities.

    "Playing in Memorial Stadium on Saturdays is an once-in-a-lifetime experience. People always ask me where my favorite place to play college ball was, and I say Memorial Stadium--any day, all day! You'll never see so many people wearing their school colors and loving it. I will never forget winning the Big Ten Championship on Thanksgiving Day! After the game the field was covered with students and media and they rolled out a big stage. Our captains were up there with the coach and they all gave speeches to the crowd and I think we all felt like we had accomplished a tremendous feat."   - Brandon Lloyd



    Rashard Mendenhall
    RB
    Pittsburgh Steelers
    Mendenhall saw in action but did not record any stats in the Steelers' 10-6 win over the Cleveland Browns.

    Bio | Stats




    Brandon Moore
    OL
    New York Jets
    Moore made his 64th start in the New York Jets' 19-10 loss to the Patriots in week two.

    Bio | Stats




    Tony Pashos
    OL
    Jacksonville Jaguars
    Pashos made his 33rd consecutive start in the Jacksonville Jaguars' 20-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

    Bio | Stats




    Duke Preston
    OL
    Buffalo Bills
    Preston saw action but did not record any stats in the Buffalo Bills 20-16 win over the Jaguars in week two.

    Bio | Stats




    Neil Rackers
    K
    Arizona Cardinals
    Rackers hit four PAT attempts and was 1-1 on field goal attempts with a 45 yarder. The Arizona Cardinals went on to win 31-10 over the Miami Dolphins.

    Bio | Stats




    Matt Sinclair
    LB
    Washington Redskins
    LB--2nd year in
    NFL (2008) - on injured reserve

    Bio | Stats




    Pierre Thomas
    RB
    New Orleans Saints
    Thomas caught two passes for 29 yards in the New Orleans Saints 29-24 loss to the Washington Redskins. Thomas also had six carries for eight yards.

    Bio | Stats



    Fred Wakefield
    OL
    Oakland Raiders
    Wakefield did not play in the Raiders' 23-8 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

    Bio | Stats




    Steve Weatherford
    P
    New Orleans Saints
    Weatherford averaged 44.6 yards on five punts, with a long of 56, in the New Orleans Saints' 29-24 loss to the Washington Redskins.

    Bio | Stats




    Eugene Wilson
    DB
    Houston Texans
    The Baltimore Ravens-Houston Texans game was rescheduled to Nov. 9 after Reliant Stadium was damaged by Hurricane Ike.

    Bio | Stats




    Russ Weil
    FB
    St. Louis Rams
    Made the Rams' practice squad as a rookie.

    Bio | Stats

    Click on the player's name for his NFL bio; click on the thumbnail photo for his action photo.


    (updated 9/15/08)

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