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Local NFL watch: 6 notable Week 1 performances

A look at six USC and Clemson products who stood out on the field during Week 1 of the NFL season.

Falcons DE John Abraham (USC)

The ageless wonder registered two sacks, three tackles (one for loss) and two quarterback hurries against the Dolphins. Now in his 11th season and coming off a career-high 16.5 sacks last year, Abraham is obviously benefiting from the Falcons' heavy rotation on the defensive front.

Eagles CB Sheldon Brown (USC)

The eighth-year vet showed he sure knows how to separate business from performance. Brown voiced displeasure about his contract during the offseason, but despite no new deal, intercepted two first-half passes, returning the second one to the Panthers' 9-yard-line to set up a 24-7 lead. Brown, who has now played in 133 consecutive games, helped Philly pick off five passes against the Panthers, the Eagles' single-game best total in 13 years.

Dolphins DE Phillip Merling (Clemson)

Miami coaches had been critical of the second-year pro's work ethic during the preseason, and he lost the starting job to sixth-year pro Randy Starks. But Merling earned back some respect with four tackles against the Falcons in a reserve role, the best total among Miami's linemen.

Panthers CB Captain Munnerlyn (USC)

The seventh-round selection solidified his roster spot as he's earned the role of punt returner, at least for now, and also served as the gunner, leading punt coverage (not so good when Philly's DeSean Jackson takes one back 85 yards). Munnerlyn also saw some snaps at corner.

Jets WR Chansi Stuckey (Clemson)

Stuckey caught four passes for a career-high 64 yards, including the first touchdown pass of Mark Sanchez's pro career. The two connected on a 30-yarder in the second quarter of Sunday's win against the Titans for Stuckey's first touchdown reception since last season's third game.

Chiefs K Ryan Succop (USC)

The final pick in April's draft looked so good this summer that the Chiefs wasted little time in releasing former starter Connor Barth. Succop kept up the momentum in his debut with a 53-yard field goal that was not only the league's longest of the day, but also the longest by a Chiefs rookie since Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud hit a 54-yarder in 1967. Succop also made all three extra points.

- Spartanburg Herald-Journal

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