The full slate of season openers for the National Football League took place Sunday in the United States, and Estonia's Margus Hunt contributed, albeit lightly, to a 20-16 victory for his team, Cincinnati, over the host Baltimore Ravens.
Hunt, who was named the defensive player of the preseason by the NFL's podcast, fought injury and exhaustion during the game, which was was played in high heat and humidity in M&T Bank Stadium.
The Bengals lost a 15-point lead, but scored a touchdown with 4:58 to play on a 77-yard pass from quarterback Andy Dalton to receiver A.J. Green to give the final margin.
Cincinnati's defense was able to hold the Ravens out of the end zone in the remaining minutes, although Hunt, nicknamed "The Eastern Bloc" by his teammates, went down with a minor injury during the sequence. For the game, Hunt registered only one tackle and a broken-up pass.
Hunt, who is 2.03 meters (6-foot-8) tall and weighs 125 kilos (277 pounds), is also compared in the American media to the fictional Russian Ivan Drago from the Rocky films. He signed a contract before his rookie year last season worth $3,671,102, with a $1,049,892 signing bonus.
He earned international honors as a hurler (discus, shot and hammer) in Estonia before coming to the US on a track and field scholarship to Southern Methodist University in Texas. While in school, he started playing football.