NFL Cougar Highlights: Opening Day

TO SAY THE latest edition of Washington State alums in the NFL has been drastically revamped is an understatement. Six CouGreats who appeared on big league rosters last season were absent on opening day, three rookies have broken into the league, and four veterans are wearing different jerseys.

Most notable, of course, is the absence of kicker Jason Hanson after 21 seasons with the Detroit Lions. The Spokane (Mead High) native retired with a dozen NFL records and virtually all franchise kicking records. He was inducted into Detroit's "Pride of the Lions" at a halftime ceremony on Sunday.

For the first time in a decade, defensive back Marcus Trufant's name doesn't appear on an opening- day roster. The Tacoma native signed as a free agent with Jacksonville earlier this year, but was released by the club in the final cut down.

In addition, two veteran NFL Cougs who played portions of the 2012 season are not currently with an NFL club: defensive back Erik Coleman and receiver Jason Hill.

Also not suited up on Sunday were guard Zack Williams, released from Carolina in the off-season, and linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis, who was bumped from San Francisco's practice squad last December.

AFTER TEN SEASONS WITH the Buffalo Bills, kicker Rian Lindell starts life anew in Tampa Bay. Defensive back Husain Abdullah has returned after a year off, but has traded the Minnesota profile of a fierce Norseman for the arrowhead logo of the Kansas City Chiefs. Back Chris Ivory is still "New," but in York, not Orleans, and defensive lineman and former Chief Ropati Pitoitua now calls Tennessee home.

Rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel defied all naysayers and is collecting a paycheck as Buffalo's backup signal caller. More remarkable still, had the season started a week earlier, Tuel would likely have been the Bills' starter due to an injury to starter E.J. Manuel.

Two of his Cougar teammates — linebacker Travis Long and receiver Marquess Wilson — also broke into the league. Wilson made Chicago's final roster and Long was assigned to Philadelphia's practice squad.

Here's how the NFL Cougs performed in week one:

Husain Abdullah, CB, Kansas City, 5th season: No recorded stats from the Chiefs' 28-2 victory against Jacksonville.

Jed Collins, FB, New Orleans, 5th season: No recorded stats from the Saints' 23-17 win against Atlanta.

Eric Frampton, S, Dallas, 7th season: Did not play; on injured reserve with a calf injury.

Brandon Gibson, WR, Miami, 5th season: The Puyallup native caught seven passes for 77 yards in the Dolphins' 23-10 defeat of Cleveland.

Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets, 4th season: Gained 15 yards on 10 carries in the Jets' 18-17 defeat of Tampa Bay.

Rian Lindell, K, Tampa Bay, 14th season: The Vancouver native was perfect on his lone field goal attempt (from 37 yards) and both extra-point kicks in the Bucs' loss to the Jets. Lindell's three-pointer appeared to be the game-winner, as it gave Tampa a two point lead with just 34 seconds remaining. The Jets made the winning kick, however, with two seconds on the clock.

Travis Long, LB, Philadelphia, 1st year: Did not play; assigned to the Eagles' practice squad.

Ropati Pitoitua, DE, Tennessee, 5th season: The Tacoma native recorded four tackles (3 solo) in the Titans' 16-9 victory against Pittsburgh.

Jeff Tuel, QB, Buffalo, Rookie: No recorded stats from the Bills' 23-21 loss to New England.

Marquess Wilson, WR, Chicago, Rookie: Declared inactive for the Bears' 24-21 win against Cincinnati.

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