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Jake Butt returns, several former Wolverines shine in NFL Preseason Week 1

Full updates on Michigan alumni in the NFL.

NFL: Denver Broncos-Minicamp Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Butt probably lost hundred of thousands of dollars the moment his ACL snapped in the 2016 Orange Bowl.

Projected by many as a first or second-round NFL draft pick in 2017, the injury saw him stumble to the Denver Broncos in the fifth round. After a year of recovery, he’s finally back, as he said in May that he feels “the strongest I’ve ever been.”

He hit the field for the Broncos 42-28 loss against the Minnesota Vikings in both teams’ first NFL preseason action Saturday night at Mile High. Butt took it easy, getting his feet under him before the rigors of the real season. To be clear, that was a euphemism for he didn’t record a stat.

Two former Michigan teammates — Bronco safety Dymonte Thomas and Vikings starting MIKE Ben Gedeon — joined him on the field. Thomas is fighting for a roster spot, and responded by tying for the team lead in tackles with five. Gedeon chipped in three solo tackles in limited snaps.

Two former quarterbacks delivered solid performances, as well. Jake Rudock completed 12 of 19 passes for 84 yards in the Detroit Lions’ 16-10 Friday night loss to the Oakland Raiders. Perennial backup Chad Henne replaced Kansas City Chief second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Thursday’s 17-10 loss to the Houston Texans, and got into a rhythm after a tipped interception.

He smoothly connected on eight of 14 throws for 91 yards, including this gorgeous fade at the 3:10 mark below.

Pittsburgh running back Fitzgerald Toussaint averaged over four yards a pop, leading all Steeler rushers with 29 yards in their 31-14 victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

Quick notes on other Wolverine alumni:

  • Graham Glasgow continues to start for the Lions at center. He faced former teammate Maurice Hurst, as the 2018 fifth-round selection to the Raiders failed to make the stat sheet in his professional debut.
  • Ben Braden finds himself battling for the the backup left tackle spot on the New York Jets. He stayed on their practice squad last year, and has been tried out at several different positions on the line. His Jets beat the Falcons 17-0 on Friday.
  • Seattle Seahawk safety Delano Hill made the most of his minutes filling in for starter Tedric Thompson on Thursday. He tallied five tackles with two for loss in Seattle’s 19-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
  • Seattle has more Michigan alumni on their roster than any other pro team — funny, since their coach is long-time Harbaugh nemesis Pete Carroll. Amare Darboh and Khalid Hill are tussling for roster spots on a crowded offense, while starting defensive end Frank Clark sat the opener.
  • Taco Charlton and Jourdan Lewis enter their second years for the Dallas Cowboys. While not recording a sack, Charlton was explosive in his one half of a 24-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. According to PFF, Charlton landed a pass rushing productivity rating of 22.5, the highest of any 4-3 defensive end who had a minimum of 10 attempts on Thursday. Lewis, for his part, contributed two tackles.
  • Jacksonville Jaguar safety Jarrod Wilson racked up three tackles in a 24-20 loss to the New Orlean Saints.
  • One of Henne’s targets in Kansas City is Jehu Chesson, who is looking to improve on his two catches for 18 yards in 2017. He mustered a single reception for six yards Thursday. He faced former teammate Matt Godin, a defensive tackle for Houston.
  • The following linemen also saw time in Week One: Tennessee Titan left tackle Taylor Lewan, New York Giant guard Patrick Omameh and Washington Redskins guard Kyle Kalis.
  • Two of Greg Mattison’s linemen from 2015 now line up for his former professional team, the Baltimore Ravens. Willie Henry and Chris Wormley combined for a lone tackle in Baltimore’s 33-7 triumph over the Los Angeles Rams.
  • Other minimal contributions came from former first-round pick Jabrill Peppers — one tackle in the Cleveland Browns’ 20-10 win over the Giants — and starting Carolina Panther wide receiver Devin Funchess — one catch for six yards in a 28-23 victory over the Buffalo Bills.
  • All-Pro’s Tom Brady and Brandon Graham sat in their respective outings.
  • Even Matt Wile is still kicking around — pun intended — as he booted a 56-yard punt for the Steelers Thursday.