An NIU fan's guide to the NFL preseason

Will WR Britt Davis be able to make an impact for the Jets this year?

Training camp for former Huskies has been exciting so far.  Probably the biggest stories have been about how a pair of UFA wide receivers are impressing in Sam Hurd and rookie Britt Davis.

Britt has been doing everything that has been asked of him and has been deemed as Rex Ryan's "Mystery Wide Reciever"

"You say he's flying under the radar because he's not going with the 1s or doing what Jerricho (Cotchery) or (Chansi) Stuckey is doing," quarterback Erik Ainge said. "But he gets talked about a lot in meetings. He just keeps showing up. From the day he got here, he's shown flashes and made plays."

Davis set a Northern Illinois freshman record with 42 receptions for 441 yards before earning all-conference honors as a sophomore. Hampered by an injured right shoulder that required surgery before his senior year, Davis struggled in his final two seasons.

"I never got it fixed until after junior year," Davis said of his bum shoulder. "It was just something I played through and played with. It's just football. You get banged up. Guys get hurt all the time in football."

It's Sam Hurd's 4th year in the league and he is ready to go after undergoing surgery after an ankle injury hampered him towards the end of last year.  Depending on who you ask, Hurd has been one of the better performers throughout Cowboys camp after a strenuous off-season regimen:

"Every day has been a blessing since I got injured," he said. "(God) just letting me know to stop worrying, stop whining, stop crying, stop thinking that you're never going to come back.

"I know I'm about to face a lot more. Anything can happen, but I'm ready. I'm 100 percent ready, much better than last year."

All eyes are on Larry English, who went 16th to the San Diego Chargers in this past NFL Draft, but he just returned from a hamstring injury that hampered him throughout the first few practices.  English was out for the first practice while he was ironing out his 5-year contract worth $13.4 million with $9.9 million guaranteed.

Even the most experienced NIU alum in 340 lb DT Hollis Thomas signed a one-year contract with the St. Louis Rams not too long ago.

These games featuring former Huskies will be televised this preseason.  We all know Larry English and Michael Turner are going to get a good amount of playing time this year, but these games provide a huge tryout for some of the former Northern Illinois players trying to break through and make a name for themselves:

Week 1

Fri, Aug 14

NFL Network: 6:00 PM - St. Louis Rams (#93 DT Hollis Thomas) @ New York Jets (#17 WR Britt Davis)

Sat, Aug 15

NFL Network: 3:00 PM - Atlanta Falcons (#33 RB Michael Turner) @ Detroit Lions (#85 TE Jake Nordin)

NFL Network: 6:00 PM - Chicago Bears (#25 RB Garrett Wolfe) @ Buffalo Bills

NFL Network: 9:00 PM - Seattle Seahawks @ San Diego Chargers (#52 OLB Larry English)

Week 2

Thu, Aug 20

FOX: 7:00 PM - Philadelphia Eagles @ Indianapolis Colts (#71 RT Ryan Diem)

Fri, Aug 21

FOX: 7:00 PM - Tennessee Titans @ Dallas Cowboys (#17 WR Sam Hurd, #68 OT Doug Free)

Mon, Aug 24

ESPN: 7:00 PM - New York Jets (#17 WR Britt Davis) @ Baltimore Ravens

Week 3

Sat, Aug 29

NFL Network: 12:00 PM - Indianapolis Colts (#71 RT Ryan Diem) @ Detroit Lions (#85 TE Jake Nordin)

NFL Network: 3:00 PM - New Orleans Saints (#81 WR Matt Simon) @ Oakland Raiders

CBS: 7:00 PM - San Diego Chargers (#52 OLB Larry English) @ Atlanta Falcons (#33 RB Michael Turner)

Sun, Aug 30

NBC: 7:00 PM - Chicago Bears (#25 RB Garrett Wolfe) @ Denver Broncos

Week 4

Thu, Sep 3

NFL Network: 6:00 PM - Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Jets (#17 WR Britt Davis)

Fri, Sep 4

NFL Network: 7:00 PM - Dallas Cowboys (#17 WR Sam Hurd, #68 OT Doug Free) @ Minnesota Vikings

Did I just read that right?  NIU's greatest offensive player of all-time RB Michael Turner to take on NIU's greatest defensive player of all-time in OLB Larry English?  Can't wait to see the first part of that game primetime on CBS!

I mean, come on what else are you going to do for the next 25 days leading up to the season opener at Wisconsin?

[Note by Mike Breese, 08/12/09 12:32 PM CDT ] Make sure to check out the Huskies in the Pros page to follow all of your former favorite players on the next level.

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