home sitesearch contact fan about
  Submit/Update Profile  

Search the Network:

Football: Spann latest with local ties to reach game


As today’s opening kickoff for Super Bowl XLII sails in the air, New England Patriots cornerback Antwain Spann will be doing everything he can to keep his attention from shifting into the stands at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

"One of my coaches told me the one thing people always remember from every Super Bowl is the first kickoff when all the cameras are flashing," said Spann, a third-year player who was at UL from 2003-04. "I’m looking forward to seeing that."


After the Patriots beat San

Diego, 21-12, on Jan. 20 in the AFC championship game, Spann became the most recent player with Acadiana ties to reach the biggest stage in profess-

ional football. It’s the fifth straight year – and the seventh time in the last eight years – that at least one area native or college graduate made it to the Super Bowl.

Spann and Carencro’s Kevin

Faulk will be chasing the same dream today with the Patriots, who with a win over the New York Giants will become the first NFL team to ever

go 19-0. Faulk has won Super Bowl rings with the Patriots in 2002, ’04 and ’05.

Now Spann, who starts on New England’s kickoff and kick-return teams, is ready to get one himself.

On Tuesday, Spann experienced the craziness that is Super Bowl media day. Reporters from Germany and Mexico wanted to know everything about New England quarterback Tom Brady and receiver Randy Moss.

"Reporters were asking me all these crazy questions about Tom and Randy," Spann said. "They were questions not even worth repeating."

One of Spann’s highlights: Posing for pictures with Miss Nevada and New England teammate Brandon Meriweather.

The media circus has been quite a change of scenery for Spann, who was signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in May 2005 before being released three months later. He was

later signed by New England and made seven tackles in eight games in 2006.

After being released and re-signing with New England last September,

Spann spent most of the regular season on the practice squad while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Two days before the end of the regular season, he was signed to the active roster and had one tackle in New England’s 38-35 comeback win over the New York Giants.

A hamstring injury kept Spann out the last two games, but he is healthy and ready to go today.

Spann joins a lengthy list of former UL players and coaches to make it to a Super Bowl. Last year, Brandon Stokley could not play because of injury, but still won his second Super Bowl ring when Indianapolis beat the Chicago Bears, who had an ex-Cajun in defensive back Charles Tillman.

Stokley also won a Super Bowl with Baltimore in 2001.

In 2006, cornerback Ike Taylor – who played for UL in 2001 and ’02 – had an interception for Pittsburgh when the Steelers beat Seattle, 21-10.

Former Cajun coach David Culley was on the losing end as an assistant for Philadelphia in a 24-21 loss to New England in 2005. That came one year after the Carolina Panthers, led by Breaux Bridge native and former UL quarterback Jake Delhomme, lost a 32-29 heartbreaker to the Patriots in 2004 at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

"My body felt different than it had ever felt in my entire life," Delhomme said last week from Charlotte, N.C., where he is recovering from ligament-replacement surgery on his right elbow. "We’re a very prideful people down in our neck of the woods, and it meant a lot being so close to home, mostly for family reasons.

"It was unbelievable to know that I got to play in a Super Bowl because that’s something people always dream about doing."

Two other former UL players – Brian Mitchell with the Redskins in 1992 and Randy McClanahan with the Raiders in ’81 – have won Super Bowls.

Stokley, who now plays for Denver, is the only former Cajun with two Super Bowl rings.

"That (winning twice) means a great deal to me," said Stokley, who played at UL from 1995-98. "I never believed I would have a chance to go to a Super Bowl."

Despite all his special Super Bowl memories, Stokley might not have time for today’s game.

"I don’t even think I’ll watch it," he said. "It just hurts too much to watch it when you’re not playing because you’ve been there and know how special it is."

That’s something Spann has quickly learned.

"It’s been a great experience," Spann said. "To win a ring would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."