Sept. 9, 2013
The Alabama football team may not have been in action over the weekend, but nearly three dozen former Alabama players were back on the gridiron, as the National Football League kicked off its regular season.
Former defensive standouts Terrance Cody and Courtney Upshaw took the field in Thursday night's season opener for defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore. Of Alabama's record nine draft picks from the 2013 draft, eight saw action over the weekend, and another, San Diego's D.J. Fluker, will start his season Monday night. Some of the first week highlights include:
Rookie running back Eddie Lacy earned his first start and scored his first career touchdown for the Green Bay Packers Sunday. Lacy's two-yard plunge into the end zone gave the Packers a brief 28-24 lead in the fourth quarter before the 49ers rallied to a 34-28 victory. Lacy, the Packers' second round pick in the 2013 draft, had a team-high 14 carries for 41 yards and one reception for 31 yards.
Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus accounted for six tackles and one pass defection in a 23-21 loss to the New England Patriots, who kicked a last minute field goal for the win. Dareus, in his third season in the NFL, anchored a revamped defense that forced three turnovers and held the Patriots to just six points in the second half.
New Orleans Saints safety Roman Harper began his eighth season in the league with an impressive performance in a thrilling 23-17 victory over Atlanta. Harper returned a fumble 19 yards in the second quarter to set up a game-tying touchdown drive, and the former All-SEC performer intercepted a tipped pass in the end zone on fourth-and-goal on the Falcons' final drive of the game to seal the win for New Orleans.
Receiver Julio Jones led the Atlanta Falcons with seven catches for 76 yards and a touchdown in the loss to New Orleans, while Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower tallied four tackles in New England's victory over Buffalo.
Six former Alabama players begin their seasons Monday night as part of a Monday Night Football doubleheader.