Whitney Mercilus and Jeff Allen know each other well.
The outside linebacker and offensive lineman locked horns against each other, sparingly, in a pair of games last season between the Texans and Chiefs. Allen signed with the Texans as a free agent on March 10, so he'll practice against Mercilus today in OTAs and in the future.
But that's not the root of their familiarity.
"He was my roommate in college," Allen said in a recent Texans Radio interview. "So we're really good
Teammates at the University of Illinois, Allen was in Champaign from 2008 to 2011, while Mercilus arrived on campus in 2009.
The duo lived with each other for a stint in college.
Both were picked in the 2012 NFL Draft, as Mercilus was a first-rounder with the Texans, while Kansas City selected Allen in the second round.
After his former roommate tallied 12 sacks in 2015, Allen was happy for Mercilus' success.
"It's fun going out there and competing against him," Allen said. "Just seeing how far he's come, even since college. He's one of the hardest working guys and I'm just so happy and proud for him."
The duo and the Texans will practice late this morning and early this afternoon at the Houston Methodist Training Center. It's the first day of OTAs.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 3/1/2021)