- Jay Morrison Staff Writer
When the New England Patriots face the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4, there will be a number of players with local connections.
Some played for area high schools or colleges, others are former members of the Cincinnati Bengals, and one began his coaching career nearby.
Here is a look at the local flavor in Super Bowl LII:
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Joe Thuney, guard
The 2011 Alter High School grad already has one ring and has started every game at left guard since the Patriots drafted him in the third round last year.
Rex Burkhead, running back
He spent four seasons with the Bengals, who drafted him in the sixth round in 2014, but logged just 87 carries for 375 yards and three touchdowns while catching 34 passes for 288 yards and a score. He signed a one-year contract with New England in March and rushed for 264 yards and five touchdowns while catching 30 passes for 254 yards and three scores in 2017.
James Develin, fullback
After playing in the Arena Football League, Develin joined the Bengals practice squad midway through the 2010 season and stayed with the team until he was part of the final cuts in 2012. New England added him to its practice squad a few days later, and he’s been with the Patriots since, appearing in all 64 games the last four seasons while winning two Super Bowl rings.
Marquis Flowers, linebacker
A sixth-round pick in 2014, Flowers played all 16 games with the Bengals in 2014 and 2016 before being traded to New England in August for a seventh-round pick. He appeared in all 16 games for the Patriots with two starts.
James Harrison, linebacker
After 11 seasons in Pittsburgh, Harrison played with the Bengals in 2013 before returning to play for the Steelers from 2014-17. Pittsburgh cut him Dec. 23, and he signed with the Patriots a few days later.
Nate Ebner, defensive back
A Columbus native who walked on at Ohio State after playing international rugby, Ebner was a sixth-round pick of the Patriots in 2012, and will be trying to win his third Super Bowl ring.
Nicholas Grigsby, linebacker
The Patriots signed the Trotwood-Madison graduate off the Baltimore practice squad on Nov. 28, and Grigsby appeared in the final five regular-season games and both playoff wins, playing primarily on special teams.
Josh Boyer, cornerbacks coach
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant on the University of Dayton staff in 2001.
Jordan Hicks. Linebacker
The Lakota West graduate was a third-round pick in 2015, and started five games before suffering a season-ending pectoral injury. He returned to start all 16 games in 2016 and the first seven this year before a ruptured Achilles ended his season in October.
Jake Elliott, kicker
The Bengals drafted Elliott in the fifth round this year, but he couldn’t beat out incumbent Randy Bullock in training camp and was stashed on the practice squad. The Eagles plucked him after losing kicker Caleb Sturgis in Week 1, and Elliott went on to make 26 of 31 field goals, including a franchise-record 61-yarder to beat the New York Giants.
Brandon Brooks, guard
Prior to signing with Philadelphia in 2016, Brooks played four seasons in Houston after being selected in the third round of the 2012 draft out of Miami University. He started all 12 games as a freshman for the RedHawks on his way to a decorated four-year career.
Brent Celek, tight end
Celek has spent all 11 seasons with Philadelphia, the team that drafted him in the fifth round in 2007. Celek grew up in Cincinnati and played at La Salle High School and the University of Cincinnati.
Jason Kelce, center
A sixth-round pick out of the University of Cincinnati in 2011, Kelce has started 94 games for the Eagles, including the last 59 in a row.
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Malcolm Jenkins, safety
The former Ohio State star was a first-round pick of the Saints in 2009. Jenkins is in his fourth season with the Eagles.
Cameron Johnston, punter
The Ohio State product signed a reserve/future contract with the Eagles on Jan. 4.