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Chase Hansen’s great week: Interception in preseason opener highlights return to the NFL

A look at how every Utah tie performed during the first week of the NFL preseason

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New Orleans Saints linebacker Chase Hansen (40) returns an interception against the Houston Texans.

New Orleans Saints linebacker Chase Hansen (40) returns an interception against the Houston Texans during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Houston.

Eric Christian Smith, Associated Press

It was a busy, fulfilling week for former Utah and Lone Peak High star defender Chase Hansen.

First, after months of not being on an NFL roster, Hansen re-signed with the New Orleans Saints last Monday

Then on Saturday, he made the most of his opportunity to get on the field in the Saints’ preseason opener, intercepting a pass and returning it 44 yards. He also finished the game with six tackles (one on special teams), two tackles for loss and a pass deflection in a 17-13 loss to the Houston Texans.

Hansen, who’s spent a large part of his NFL career on injured reserve or the practice squad and said he underwent hip surgery about six months ago, was an undrafted free-agent signee back in 2019 by New Orleans. 

He has never played anywhere else, though the injuries have limited his ability to make much of an impact thus far in the NFL.

That’s what made Saturday so special, and Hansen’s interception was the highlight of what’s the best game of his pro career.

Midway through the second quarter, Houston quarterback Jeff Driskel threw across the middle, but his pass was tipped, and Hansen hauled in the interception and ran upfield to set up the Saints in Houston territory.

Hansen credited teammate Eric Wilson for tipping the ball into the air to set up his pick.

“I just had my coverage, turned around and the ball was in the air, so I went and snagged it,” he told reporters. “I thought I was going to take it back, big boys moving a lot faster than I realized, cut me off. It was fun getting up and celebrating.”

Hansen earned the preseason start at linebacker for New Orleans, and he paired up with a couple other former Utes defenders who also had good moments for the Saints on Saturday night.

Nephi Sewell, an undrafted rookie who played at Utah and Desert Hills High, tied Hansen for the team lead in tackles with six.

Late in the contest, former Utah cornerback Brian Allen, who signed with the team on Thursday, also made an interception.

For Hansen, getting back on the field after so much frustration was a blessing.

“It’s more that you go out with the mentality where you go play your best football and see what happens,” Hansen said. “… But it was fun, that was the gist of it for me.”

How Utah ties performed during preseason week 1

Here’s a look at how Utah ties performed during the first week of NFL preseason action:

New York Giants 23, New England Patriots 21

Giants players with Utah ties

  • Marcus Kemp, WR, Layton High: No stats.

Patriots players with Utah ties

  • Harvey Langi, LB, BYU, Utah and Bingham High: 7 tackles (4 solo, 1 on special teams).

Baltimore Ravens 23, Tennessee Titans 10

Ravens players with Utah ties

  • Tyler Huntley, QB, Utah: 16 of 18 passing, 109 yards, 1 touchdown; 3 carries, 17 yards.
  • Marcus Williams, FS, Utah: Did not play.

Titans players with Utah ties

  • None.

Atlanta Falcons 27, Detroit Lions 23

Falcons players with Utah ties

  • Tyler Allgeier, RB, BYU: 3 carries, 25 yards.

Lions players with Utah ties

  • Darrin Paulo, OL, Utah: 29 offensive snaps, 2 on special teams.
  • Penei Sewell OT, Desert Hills High: 10 offensive snaps.
  • Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU: 2 carries, 12 yards.

Cleveland Browns 24, Jacksonville Jaguars 13

Browns players with Utah ties

  • Sione Takitaki, LB, BYU: No stats.

Jaguars players with Utah ties

  • Nick Ford, C, Utah: 23 offensive snaps.
  • Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah: Did not play.
  • Jay Tufele, DT, Bingham High: 4 tackles.

Arizona Cardinals 36, Cincinnati Bengals 23

Cardinals players with Utah ties

  • Leki Fotu, DT, Utah and Herriman High: No stats.
  • T.J. Pledger, RB, Utah: 1 carry, 8 yards.
  • Nick Vigil, LB, Utah State and Fremont High: Did not play.

Bengals players with Utah ties

  • Jalen Davis, CB, Utah State: 2 solo tackles, 1 pass deflection.

New York Jets 24, Philadelphia Eagles 21

Jets players with Utah ties

  • Bradlee Anae, DE, Utah: No stats.
  • Javelin Guidry, CB, Utah: 1 solo tackle.
  • Kai Nacua, LB, BYU: 2 solo tackles (1 on special teams), 1 forced fumble.
  • Zach Wilson, QB, BYU and Corner Canyon High: 3 of 5 passing, 23 yards, 1 interception; 1 carry, 7 yards.

Eagles players with Utah ties

  • Britain Covey, WR/ret., Utah and Timpview High: 1 kickoff return, 25 yards; 2 punt returns, 4 yards.
  • Sua Opeta, OL, Weber State and Stansbury High: 36 offensive snaps, 2 on special teams.
  • Noah Togiai, TE, Hunter High: 4 receptions, 29 yards; 2 special teams tackles.

San Francisco 49ers 28, Green Bay Packers 21

Packers players with Utah ties

  • Tipa Galeai, LB, Utah State: 2 solo tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 1 QB hurry.
  • Dallin Leavitt, S, Utah State: 3 solo tackles, 1 forced fumble.
  • Jordan Love, QB, Utah State: 13 of 24 passing, 176 yards, 2 touchdowns, 3 interceptions; 4 carries, 24 yards.

49ers players with Utah ties

  • Tomasi Laulile, DT, BYU: 1 solo tackle.
  • Fred Warner, LB, BYU: Did not play.
  • Mitch Wishnowsky, P, Utah: 4 punts, 41.8 average.

Carolina Panthers 23, Washington Commanders 21

Panthers players with Utah ties

  • Brady Christensen, OT, BYU and Bountiful High: 28 offensive snaps, 2 on special teams.
  • Derek Wright, WR, Utah State: 3 receptions, 46 yards.

Commanders players with Utah ties

  • Tyler Larsen, C, Utah State and Jordan High: Did not play.
  • Dax Milne, WR, BYU and Bingham High: 2 receptions, 30 yards; 1 punt return, 12 yards.

Chicago Bears 19, Kansas City Chiefs 14

Chiefs players with Utah ties

  • Zayne Anderson, S, BYU and Stansbury High: Did not play.
  • Matt Bushman, TE, BYU: No stats.

Bears players with Utah ties

  • Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah: 1 solo tackle.
  • Braxton Jones, OT, Southern Utah and Murray High: 18 offensive snaps.
  • Patrick Scales, LS, Utah State and Weber High: 12 special teams snaps.
  • Khyiris Tonga, DT, BYU and Granger High: 1 tackle.

Buffalo Bills 27, Indianapolis Colts 24

Colts players with Utah ties

  • Julian Blackmon, FS, Utah and Layton High: 2 solo tackles, 1 forced fumble.
  • Samson Nacua, WR, BYU, Utah and Timpview High: 1 reception, 4 yards.
  • Chris Wilcox, CB, BYU: 6 solo tackles (1 on special teams).
  • Ty’Son Williams, RB, BYU: 5 carries, 10 yards; 1 reception, 15 yards, touchdown.

Bills players with Utah ties

  • Taron Johnson, CB, Weber State: Did not play.
  • Zack Moss, RB, Utah: 3 carries, 37 yards; 2 receptions, 5 yards.
  • Neil Pau’u, WR, BYU: 2 receptions, 10 yards; 1 special teams tackle.

Pittsburgh Steelers 32, Seattle Seahawks 25

Seahawks players with Utah ties

  • Cody Barton, LB, Utah and Brighton High: 3 solo tackles, 1 QB hurry.
  • Marquise Blair, S, Utah: 2 tackles (1 solo), 1 forced fumble.
  • Bryan Mone, DT, Highland High: 2 tackles (1 solo).
  • Darwin Thompson, RB, Utah State: 3 carries, 15 yards; 1 carry, 2 yards; 1 kickoff return, 14 yards.

Steelers players with Utah ties

  • Miles Killebrew, S, Southern Utah: Did not play.
  • Jaylen Warren, RB, Utah State, Snow College and East High: 6 carries, 34 yards, 1 fumble; 4 receptions, 30 yards, touchdown; 1 special teams solo tackle.

Miami Dolphins 26, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24

Dolphins players with Utah ties

  • Porter Gustin, DE, Salem Hills High: 1 solo tackle, 1 QB hurry.
  • Eric Rowe, S, Utah: 1 tackle.

Buccaneers players with Utah ties

  • Deven Thompkins, WR, Utah State: 2 receptions, 11 yards; 1 punt return, 5 yards; 1 kickoff return, 17 yards.
  • Troy Warner, S, BYU: 4 solo tackles.

Houston Texans 17, New Orleans Saints 13

Saints players with Utah ties

  • Brian Allen, CB, Utah: 1 interception, 1 pass deflection.
  • Kaden Elliss, LB, Judge Memorial High: 1 solo tackle, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss.
  • Chase Hansen, LB, Utah and Lone Peak High: 6 tackles (4 solo, 1 special teams), 2 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 1 pass deflection.
  • Taysom Hill, TE, BYU: Did not play.
  • Nephi Sewell, LB, Utah and Desert Hills High: 6 tackles (4 solo).
  • Rashid Shaheed, WR/ret., Weber State: Did not play.
  • Daniel Sorensen, S, BYU: 3 solo tackles.

Texans players with Utah ties

  • None.

Denver Broncos 17, Dallas Cowboys 7

Cowboys players with Utah ties

  • James Empey, C, BYU and American Fork High: 22 offensive snaps.
  • Simi Fehoko, WR, Brighton High: 2 receptions, 18 yards, touchdown.
  • Dalton Schultz, TE, Bingham High: Did not play.
  • Mika Tafua, DE, Utah: 1 tackle.

Broncos players with Utah ties

  • Garett Bolles, OT, Utah, Snow College and Westlake High: Did not play.
  • Tim Patrick, WR, Utah: On injured reserve.

Los Angeles Rams 29, Los Angeles Chargers 22

Rams players with Utah ties

  • Terrell Burgess, S, Utah: No stats.
  • Matt Gay, K, Utah and Orem High: Did not play.
  • Bobby Wagner, MLB, Utah State: Did not play.
  • Jonah Williams, DE, Weber State: 1 tackle.

Chargers players with Utah ties

  • Michael Davis, CB, BYU: 2 solo tackles, 1 pass deflection.
  • Alohi Gilman, S, Orem High: 4 tackles (2 solo).
  • Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU: Did not play.

Las Vegas Raiders 26, Minnesota Vikings 20

Vikings players with Utah ties

  • None.

Raiders players with Utah ties

  • Jackson Barton, OT, Utah and Brighton High: Played on offensive line.
  • Kyler Fackrell, LB, Utah State: On injured reserve.
  • Cole Fotheringham, TE, Utah: No stats.
  • Andre James, C, Herriman High: Played on offensive line.
  • Bamidele Olaseni, OL, Utah: Played on offensive line.