Not only will the 2013 NFL season get fully under way on Sunday with 13 games, but 20 former Stanford players will be suited up.
One fourth of that group will be at one game when the Indianapolis Colts welcome the the Oakland Raiders. The Colts feature quarterback Andrew Luck, tight end Coby Fleener, defensive back Delano Howell and wide receiver Griff Whalen. Wearing a Raiders' uniform will be ex-Stanford running back Jeremy Stewart.
Speaking of running backs, Stanford will be represented by three of them Sunday. In addition to Stewart, Toby Gerhart will carry the ball for Minnesota at Detroit while rookie Stepfan Taylor will do the same for Arizona against host St. Louis.
Also playing for Arizona will be another former Cardinal in tight end Jim Dray.
Stanford, in fact, has five former tight ends on opening-day rosters. In addition to Dray and Fleener, Alex Smith will play for Cincinnati against host Chicago, Levine Toilolo will begin his rookie year with Atlanta (at New Orleans), Konrad Reuland will play for the New York Jets against visiting Tampa Bay and rookie Zach Ertz will make his debut with Philadelphia (against host Washington) on Monday.
The Tampa Bay (with ex-Stanford fullback Erik Lorig) at New York Jets game is one of three that features former Stanford players on both sides of the field. Along with the Oakland at Indianapolis game, Miami at Cleveland features tackle Jonathan Martin of the Dolphins against cornerback Johnson Bademosi of the Browns.
Elsewhere Sunday, guard David DeCastro and his Pittsburgh Steelers will host Tennessee; ex-Stanford tackle Will Svitek and New England will visit Buffalo; former teammates Doug Baldwin and Richard Sherman will be among Seattle's standouts against host Carolina; and ex-Cardinal Ryan Whalen will suit up at wide receiver for the Bengals.