Former Ohio State Buckeye Jake McQuaide is ready to suit up for the Rams as a long snapper in Super Bowl LIII.
ATLANTA Life keeps getting better for former Ohio State Buckeye Jake McQuaide.
He has lasted eight seasons in the NFL. He will suit up for the Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
"This is way more than I ever could have imagined," McQuaide said as he soaked in the clamor of Super Bowl LIII's Opening Night in State Farm Arena. "When I was growing up in Cincinnati, it was just a distant dream to play even one game in the NFL. It's such a long shot for any kid.
"To be here in a Super Bowl? That's outrageous."
Never heard of McQuaide? He's the Rams' long snapper. It's an inconspicuous job, but it's great work if you can get it. Prior to the 2017 season, the Rams signed him to a $3.5 million contract that runs through the 2020 season.
McQuaide has spent his entire NFL career with the Rams, first in St. Louis, now in L.A., but his heart is all Ohio.
He follows the Buckeyes very closely.
"I'm a Jim Tressel guy," he said. "I played my entire Ohio State career for him.
"He always treated you with respect. The reputation he had for caring about a person is true. He did. To a man, every single guy who played for him ... you couldn't find a single guy who had a negative thing to say about him.
"I wish Coach (Urban) Meyer well. he was very welcoming when I would come back to Columbus. I am fully behind them on their coaching staff now that he's stepping away."
McQuaide grew up a staunch Bengals fan.
"That's why I was so fired up when we signed Andrew Whitworth," he said of a longtime Bengal who now is the Rams' left tackle."
He is very aware that rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield led the other Ohio team to two wins over Cincinnati in 2018.
"I don't know if the Browns should get too crazy," he said. "I hear the Bengals are hiring a pretty good coach."
Cincinnati is expected to name Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor as head coach after the Super Bowl.
'PERFECT" OR BUST
C.J. Anderson was a December dynamo for the Rams, rushing for 299 of his 403 regular-season rushing yards in two games wrapped around Christmas.
When he led off the playoffs with a 123-yard game against Dallas, he made it clear he is good for more than just garbage time.
"It's nice to have been able to help," said Anderson, who has stolen some of the spotlight that had belonged to Todd Gurley. "But I've been in the league long enough not to get too carried away.
"This will be my eighth time playing against New England. They don't make ANYTHING easy. This is their ninth time in the Super Bowl with Bill Belichick. To beat a team like that ... you have to play a perfect game."
Anderson was undrafted out of Cal in 2013. He laughs when asked if he is energized, just short of his 28th birthday, about being a cog in an offense led by quarterback Jared Goff.
"That's my fellow (Cal) Golden Bear," Anderson said. "Are you kidding me?"
Julian Edelman has give the Patriots 5,390 receiving yards in a nine-year run at wide receiver.
He passed for 4,997 yards in three years as a Kent State quarterback.
The field general mindset has not left him.
"My hero growing up was Joe Montana," Edelman said of the Hall of Fame quarterback during Opening Night interviews. "And at my height, as you can imagine, I loved Doug Flutie.
Edelman is listed at 5-foot-10 on the Patriots' Super Bowl roster. Flutie was listed at the same height during his playing career.
WILLIE AND TOMMY
Willie McGinest, who was Tom Brady's teammate on the latter's first three New England Super Bowl teams, traded some banter with the Patriots' great Monday night.
Brady simply grinned when McGinest alluded to a story that Brady says there is "zero chance" he won't play next season. Brady became a starter in 2001 and is in his ninth Super Bowl.
"Coming back for the NFL's 100th season is a pretty cool thing," Brady said. "It's pretty cool to be part of what the league has become."
The first season began in 1920 after an organizational meeting in Canton.
McGinest jumped from the Patriots to the Browns and finished his career in Cleveland from 2006-08.
- Tom Brady calls Patriots assistant Dante Scarnecchia "the greatest offensive line coach in NFL history.
Scarnecchia, who will turn 71 this month, first coached for New England in 1991. Bill Belichick talked him out of retirement in 2016.
- Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels says the Rams' defense is "the best we've played against all year."
"(Defensive coordinator) Wade Phillips is as good as they come," McDaniels said. "We've gone against him a number of times over the years, and he's gotten the best of us more than once."
- McDaniels is in his ninth Super Bowl as a Patriots assistant.
Reach Steve at 330-580-8347 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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