“I support the Homeless World Cup because I respect and love their mission to help inspire homeless people to change their lives through the sport of football.”
Twenty-five year old linebacker Whitney Mercilus was drafted in 2012 by the NFL’s Houston Texans. Since breaking the team’s rookie sack record with six in 2012, Whitney has become a consistent force on the Texans’ defence. Now entering his fourth season, the Texans rewarded Whitney for being a key piece to their feared front seven – as well as his growing leadership role – with a four-year contract extension.
Whitney left University of Illinois as a junior following a season in which he led the NCAA in sacks, was voted a consensus All-American, and won the Ted Hendricks Award recognizing college football’s top defensive end.
Possessing an easy going demeanour, off the field Whitney has a genuine ability to connect with fans and his community. Son of Haitian immigrant parents, Yvrose and Wilner, from a young age, Whitney was instilled with a strong sense of community and the responsibility to give back to those who are less fortunate. Because of this upbringing, Whitney has enthusiastically pursued charitable causes in many areas. He is an ambassador for the Red Cross of Houston and was named a 2014 Community Player of the Year by Southern burger institution Whataburger.
Whitney’s work both on and off the field will surely receive greater notice as he continues to thrive in the NFL and within greater Houston.
The Texans kick off the 2015 season with a preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday, August 15. The team is also featured this year on the HBO series Hard Knocks. The award-winning show is an all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League and focuses on a new team each pre-season.