The National Football League playoffs begin this weekend, and three former Eastern Illinois Panthers will be in the action.

Sean Payton, Kamu Grugier-Hill and Brad Childress will all be part of NFL playoff teams this year.

Payton has guided the New Orleans Saints back to the NFL playoffs as the team is making its sixth NFL playoff appearance under Payton. This season the Saints won the NFC South title, finishing the year with an 11-5 record. The Saints are the No. 4 seed in the NFC and will host the Carolina Panthers this Sunday in the NFL wild-card round.

Grugier-Hill is a special teams standout with the Philadelphia Eagles, helping the team earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC. The Eagles won the NFC East Title and will have a bye this weekend before hosting a game in the Divisional Round on Saturday, Jan. 13. This season Grugier-Hill made 22 tackles with one tackle for loss, two forced fumbles and one blocked kick. In November during the Eagles Sunday Night prime time game at Dallas, Grugier-Hill was the emergency kicker for the Eagles with several kickoffs.

Childress is the assistant head coach with the Kansas City Chiefs and helped the team win the AFC West crown this year. The Chiefs finished 10-6 and will host the Tennessee Titans on Saturday afternoon in the Wildcard Round.

Lennox named a semifinalist for Senior CLASS award

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The 2017-18 Senior CLASS committee named women's basketball player Grace Lennox as a semifinalist along with 29 players from across the country for the Senior CLASS Award.

To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

In the classroom, Lennox is seeking a degree in Kinesiology and currently holds a 3.93 cumulative GPA. She was an OVC Medal of Honor award recipient in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

Lennox is also extremely active in the community. Earlier this year, she has participated in three events. In September, Lennox visited a senior home in the Charleston community and played games, colored and shared stories with the residents. At the same senior home during the summer, Lennox joined her team in organizing a carnival for the residents. She also helped run and organize a blood drive with her teammates in July.

Lennox has been a key starter throughout her career as a Panther and was named to the 2017 All-OVC First Team last season. She played in eight games this season for EIU before having season-ending knee surgery in December. Through those eight games, Lennox averaged 15.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game for the Panthers. She also led the team in minutes played, having averaged 37.2 in the first eight games.

For her career, Lennox is just 5 points away from being the 24th player to achieve 1,000 points in women's basketball history at EIU. Lennox is shooting 39.4 percent from the field, 31.7 percent from the arc, and 71.4 percent from the free throw line as she averages 10.6 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, and 4.2 assists per game on her career.

Lennox is joined by Belmont's Sally McCabe and 28 other semifinalists which can be viewed on the Senior CLASS Award's full release. The ten finalists will be released in February.

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