Football
Thomas' 102-Yards, 2 TD's Highlights Former Illini Performances in NFL Week 14

 
 

Dec. 8, 2008

Currently there are 18 former Fighting Illini football players in the National Football League, 16 of whom are on active rosters. Here's how they fared in Week 14 of the regular season.





Alan Ball
CB
Dallas Cowboys
Ball broke up one pass in the Cowboys' 20-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ball has eight tackles in nine games so far this season for Dallas.

Bio | Stats



Danny Clark
LB
New York Giants
Clark recorded eight tackles in the Giants' 20-14 loss to Philadelphia. Clark has started in 12 Giants games this season, recording 57 tackles.

Bio | Stats



Jason Davis
FB, Chicago Bears
Davis started but did not record any statistics in the Bears' 23-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Bio | Stats




Carey Davis
FB
Pittsburgh Steelers
Davis had one catch for no yards in the Steelers' 20-13 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Davis has seen action in 11 games with 12 carries for 24 yards and four catches for 13 yards.

Bio | Stats




Dave Diehl
OL
New York Giants
Diehl made his 93rd consecutive start in the New York Giants' 20-14 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Diehl has started in all 13 games for the Giants so far this season, leading them to an NFC-best 11-2 overall record.

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 recorded four tackles and four pass deflections in the Colts' 35-3 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Hayden now has 31 tackles in seven games for the Colts so far this season.

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 snapped the ball back ten times in the Cardinals' 34-10 win over the St. Louis Rams.

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 had one catch for seven yards in the Eagles' 20-14 win over the New York Giants. Lewis has seen action in 13 games for the Eagles, recording 17 catches for 232 yards so far this season.

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 saw action but did not record any statistics in the Bears' 23-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Lloyd has 19 catches for 293 yards in eight games of action so far this season.

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 suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 4 and is on injured reserve.

Bio | Stats




Brandon Moore
OL
New York Jets
Moore made his 75th consecutive start in the Jets' 24-14 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Moore helped pave the way for 375 yards of total offense.

Bio | Stats




Tony Pashos
OL
Jacksonville Jaguars
Pashos saw action in the Jaguars' 23-10 loss to the Chicago Bears. Pashos helped pave the way for 278 yards of total offense in the loss.

Bio | Stats




Duke Preston
OL
Buffalo Bills
Preston made his eighth start of the season in the Bills' 16-3 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Bio | Stats




Neil Rackers
K
Arizona Cardinals
Rackers was 2-2 in field goal attempts and 4-4 in extra point attempts in the Cardinals' 34-10 win over the St. Louis Rams.

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 rushed for 102 yards and had two touchdowns in the Saints' 29-25 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Bio | Stats



Steve Weatherford
P
Jacksonville Jaguars
Weatherford had seven punts with a long of 47 in the Jaguars' 23-10 loss to the Chicago Bears.

Bio | Stats




Eugene Wilson
DB
Houston Texans
Wilson had five tackles in the Texans' 24-21 win over the Green Bay Packers.

Bio | Stats

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

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