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>> Illinois Duo Top Sack Producers in Big Ten

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - When Illinois recruited Whitney Mercilus, the coaches told the young defensive end the sky was the limit.

Mercilus is starting to prove them right and fellow junior Michael Buchanan isn't far behind.

Mercilus leads the nation with 10 sacks and Buchanan has five, helping the Illini put up 26 sacks through seven games. That is tops in the Big Ten and the fifth-best pass rush in the country.

Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning says Buchanan could have four or five more sacks if he were more sound fundamentally.

>>Hester Wins Weekly Award

(New York, NY)  --  Thanks to a couple big plays, Chicago Bears kick returner Devin Hester was named an NFC player of the week on Wednesday.  Hester earned special teams player of the week honors after returning a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown during Sunday's 39-10 victory against Minnesota.  The score was his 16th career kick-return TD, extending his NFL record.  Hester also returned a punt for 27 yards and had 91 yards on five receptions, including a 48-yard TD catch.  The Bears head to London, England to clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

>>Rams' Bradford Misses Practice

(St. Louis, MO)  --  Rams quarterback Sam Bradford missed Wednesday's practice and is a question mark for Sunday's game at Dallas.  He suffered a high ankle sprain late in this past Sunday's loss at Green Bay.  Head coach Steve Spagnuolo said earlier this week that Bradford is wearing a protective boot and is considered day-to-day.  A.J. Feeley will start against the Cowboys if Bradford can't go.

>>Rams Get Some Players Back

(St. Louis, MO)  --  Rams wide receiver Mark Clayton and defensive end Marquis Johnson practiced yesterday for the first time since coming off the physically unable to perform list.  Wideout Brandon Lloyd was also on the field for the first time after his acquisition from Denver.  Banged up offensive tackle Rodger Saffold and running back Cadillac Williams also practiced after having Monday MRIs.

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