Terry Sanford alums swap NFL jerseys after Detroit Lions earn walk-off win against Minnesota Vikings

·2 min read
Mark Gilbert, left, and Oli Udoh played two seasons together at Terry Sanford High School. Now, they're in the NFL.
Mark Gilbert, left, and Oli Udoh played two seasons together at Terry Sanford High School. Now, they're in the NFL.

Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog.

A pair of Terry Sanford High School alums and former teammates reconnected Sunday as NFL players.

Mark Gilbert, a defensive back for the Detroit Lions, and Oli Udoh, an offensive lineman for the Minnesota Vikings, swapped jerseys after Detroit’s 29-27 win at Ford Field.

Udoh gifted his No. 74 jersey to Gilbert, who returned the favor with his No. 40 jersey. Gilbert was a specialist Sunday and Udoh played 100 percent of Minnesota’s offensive snaps as a guard.

Gilbert, a 2016 graduate, and Udoh, a 2014 graduate, played high school football together for two seasons at Terry Sanford.

Udoh, who is in his third NFL season, was an all-conference performer for the Bulldogs before becoming a four-year starter at Elon. The Vikings selected Udoh in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL draft, making him the Phoenix’s highest draft pick in 35 years.

Udoh has started in each of Minnesota’s 12 games this season. In May 2020, he returned to Fayettteville and donated 500 meals to workers at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center as they worked around the clock to treat COVID-19 patients.

More: ‘They’re No. 1 right now’: Terry Sanford grad, Minnesota Vikings lineman Oli Udoh donates meals to workers at Cape Fear Valley in Fayetteville

Gilbert was a four-year starter for the Terry Sanford football team and helped the basketball squad win the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A state title in 2015. He was The Fayetteville Observer’s Cape Fear region Player of the Year that season.

After battling through two season-ending injuries over his last three years at Duke, the former Terry Sanford standout agreed to join the Steelers as an undrafted free agent in May.

Detroit signed Gilbert off the Pittsburgh Steelers’ practice squad in October. In a 16-16 tie against his former team on Nov. 14, Gilbert had three tackles, a forced fumble and a pass breakup.

Staff writer Rodd Baxley can be reached at rbaxley@fayobserver.com.

This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: Terry Sanford graduates Mark Gilbert, Oli Udoh swap NFL jerseys after Detroit's win against Minnesota

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