Pack in the Pros: Week One

Streeter Lecka

Russell is special.

Here are the Pack alum's performances from the opening weekend of the NFL season. Players are listed in alphabetical order as not to offend anyone; please hold your applause until the end of the presentation.

(Year drafted/round drafted in parentheses)

David Amerson (‘13/2nd): Listed as the reserve left corner for the Redskins, Amerson got on the field a lot in Washington's season-opening 33-27 loss to the Eagles, making four tackles and getting credit for a pass defended.

Andre Brown (‘09/4th): Brown averaged an impressive 5.3 yards per carry and scored eight touchdowns for the Giants a year ago but is out until at least week 10 with a broken leg. New York lost its opener to the ‘boys, 36-31.

Audie Cole (‘12/7th): Cole cut his trademark flowing locks in the offseason, donating his hair to a charity that supports children battling cancer. The reserve middle linebacker made one stop in Minnesota's 34-24 loss to Detroit.

Jerricho Cotchery (‘04/4th): The Steelers' third wide receiver, Cotchery caught four balls for 34 yards and the team's lone touchdown in an embarrassing 16-9 week one loss to the Titans. The touchdown was his first since 2011.

Mike Glennon (‘13/3rd): Glennon held a clipboard and watched as the hapless Bucs lost 18-17 to the hapless Jets. Tampa Bay starter Josh Freeman failed to complete 50% of his passes for the ninth time in his career (all losses); Glennon's opportunity is coming soon.

T.J. Graham (‘12/3rd): Though listed as a starter at wide receiver on the depth chart, Graham was targeted just once in the Bills' 23-21 loss to the Patriots. He did have one rush for five yards.

Leroy Harris (‘07/4th): The Lions' backup center did not play in the win over Minnesota.

Steven Hauschka (‘08/UDFA): Hauschka made both of his field goals in Seattle's 12-7 win over Carolina, upping his career make percentage to 83%.

Nate Irving (‘11/3rd): A year after leading the team in special teams tackles and blocking a punt, Irving is finally seeing time at strong side linebacker, where he made four spots in Denver's 49-27 rout of the Ravens. One of his tackles was good for a two-yard loss.

Markus Kuhn (‘12/7th): Kuhn appeared in 10 games last year as a rookie, making four tackles and somehow managing to get credit for four passes defended despite playing on the interior line. He must have clubbed some balls down at the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately, his season was cut short by an ACL injury because if you're from N.C. State and go to the Giants, you must be injured repeatedly (see Andre Brown). Still working his way back from injury, Kuhn is currently on the Giants' PUP list.

Ted Larsen (‘10/6th): After starting 13 games at center a year ago, Larsen appeared as a reserve in the Bucs' loss to the Jets. Maybe Harris or Larsen can get traded to the Steelers, who lost all-pro Maurkice Pouncey for the year with an ACL/MCL injury in their dreadful opener.

Manny Lawson (‘06/1st): The Bills are collecting Pack players, with Lawson the latest to join the trio that includes Graham and Mario Williams. Making his debut for Buffalo, Lawson, a starter at strong side linebacker, registered four tackles in the loss to the Pats.

Terrell Manning (‘12/5th): Snapped up late after getting cut in training camp by Green Bay, Manning did not take part in the Chargers' upchucking of a big lead against the Texans. He's a third stringer at inside linebacker and should at least see some special teams action eventually.

Philip Rivers (‘04/1st): It was a mixed bag for Rivers against the Texans, but the bad outweighed the good. The good: he threw four touchdown passes. The bad: he completed less than 50% of his throws and tossed a devastating pick six in the fourth quarter that brought Houston all the way back from what had been a 21-point, second-half deficit.

J.R. Sweezy (‘12/7th): Sweezy is the starter at right guard for the shore birds. The Mooresville native surely enjoyed the season-opening win back in his old stomping grounds. Hopefully he did not literally stomp any bus drivers.

Stephen Tulloch (‘06/4th): The Lions are keeping up with the Bills in the Pack alum category with three. Tulloch, who has four straight seasons with over 100 combined tackles, filled the stat sheet against Minnesota, making just three tackles but recording a sack and an interception. It was the ninth sack and fifth interception in Tulloch's long career.

Mario Williams ('06/ 1st): Williams, who signed the richest contract ever ($50 million guaranteed) for a defender in the 2012 offseason, is playing through plantar fasciitis after being slowed last season by a wrist injury. He did little to harry Tom Brady in the season opener, recording two tackles.

Adrian Wilson (‘01/3rd): After 12 years toiling in obscurity for mostly bad teams in the Arizona desert, Wilson signed with the Pats in the offseason. But rather than being Wilson's big break--playing for a perennial contender in the national spotlight--things have not worked out for the veteran. Despite playing in the preseason and getting praise from Bill Belichick for his professionalism, Wilson was surprisingly placed on injured reserve right before the season started and may end up getting released (even though there are questions as to whether or not he is really hurt). Perhaps the only thing stopping the Pats from cutting him is the potential for Wilson to file a grievance against the club for putting him on reserve when he is capable of playing. Hopefully the teams work out an injury settlement that will free Wilson to sign somewhere else.

Russell Wilson (‘12/3rd): Wilson threw for a career-high 320 yards and a touchdown in a showdown with Cam Newton, who was bottled up by the stout Seahawks defense in the 12-7 final. Wilson was bottled up on the ground, gaining just seven yards on five carries and losing a fumble, but he will fix that next week.

C.J. Wilson (‘13/UDFA): That Wilson, who was not even invited to The NFL Combine and had long lost his starting job by the time his career was through at N.C. State, even made the Bears is miraculous enough, so let's not give him a hard time for not having made it off the sidelines yet.

Earl Wolff (‘13/5th): Wolff spent a lot of time running with the first team in training camp, but Nate Allen got the nod against the Redskins in the season opener and made six tackles, relegating Wolff to special teams. It's Philly, where they would boo Jesus, but Allen has been a bit of a lightning rod for fan criticism pretty much since the day the team used a second round pick on him in 2010. Wolff will get his shot soon.

Willie Young (‘10/7th): The third of the triumvirate of Lions, Young is a backup end who sees plenty of snaps. He has three stops in the opener, including a tackle for a loss (or stuff, as the NFL is now calling them).

I look at all the 2012 and 2013 guys on this list and 1) wonder what might have been and 2) fully endorse Dr. Yow's decision to ease Tom O'Brien out the door (not that I didn't already endorse that decision). In all, there are 22 former Pack players on NFL rosters (not including Jacksonville practice squad member Tobais Palmer), including 10 from the past two draft classes. There are soon to be three NFL starting quarterbacks from N.C. State. There simply are not enough wins to show for the talent that has been on hand.

In case you were wondering, only Florida State and Miami (speaking of underachieving) have more NFL alumni, with 32 and 40, respectively.

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