Former NFL LB Whitney Mercilus ‘sacked’ by Air Force K-9 unit in USAA partnership

Whitney Mercilus (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Whitney Mercilus (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

Former NFL linebacker Whitney Mercilus made a career out of chasing down and sacking opposing quarterbacks, but he was able to get “a taste of his own medicine,” as he described it, with the help of USAA.

Mercilus partnered with soon-to-be Hall of Fame offensive lineman Joe Thomas and USAA, the Official NFL Salute to Service Partner, to experience a day in the life of a military working dog unit at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX.

The 10-year NFL veteran spent the day learning about the training the dogs and their handlers participate in and was even able to put on a protective suit to take part in a “K-9 forty.”

Mercilus and Thomas suited up in specialized dog training suits and were chased down and tackled by professionally-trained military dogs. It was a surreal experience for both former NFL stars — and their reactions say it all.

Whitney Mercilus got ‘a taste of his own medicine’

“It was such a cool experience,” Mercilus told FanSided. “I’ve always wanted to do this. I’ve seen it in numerous videos.”

Mercilus got to experience firsthand what’s it like to be targeted and chased down by these professionally-trained military dogs. Although Mercilus was in a protective suit, the experience was still daunting.

“As thick as those suits may be, those dog bites are much stronger,” Mercilus said. “You can feel the bites on your skin.”

Despite the intimidation of having an Air Force K-9 unit dog chase you down, the entire practice is pretty safe. The dogs are trained to target the arm and stay there to avoid potential lawsuits in real-life scenarios.

Mercilus explained that the average service time for military dogs is around 8-9 years, after which they are typically adopted following “retirement.”

A first-round pick of the Houston Texans in the 2012 NFL Draft, Mercilus played 10 years in the NFL, racking up 58 career sacks and even earning second-team All-Pro honors in 2016.

Still, even he doesn’t believe he’d be any match for these dogs on the gridiron.

“Guys like me wouldn’t get paid nearly as much in the NFL,” Mercilus joked. “These dogs would be multi-millionaires. The most efficient beings of all time.”

If anything, this experience helped Mercilus put himself in the shoes of the many quarterbacks he sacked over the course of his esteemed career.

“Now I understand what my opponents felt like when I came around the corner and tackled them,” Mercilus remarked.

Whitney Mercilus may have been one of the most feared pass rushers during his time in the NFL, but even he couldn’t compete with the speed and explosiveness of those dogs at Randolph Air Force Base.