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2019 Teammates Now Play Special Teams for Bengals, Rams
Photos by Getty Images
A Terp is guaranteed to walk away a winner from Super Bowl LVI on Sunday, after two former University of Maryland teammates reunite on opposite sides of SoFi Stadium outside Los Angeles.
Both Los Angeles Rams running back Jake Funk ’19 and Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Keandre Jones are set to contribute on special teams as the Rams look for their first title since they hailed from St. Louis in 2000, and the Bengals chase their first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.
Funk, who hails from Gaithersburg, Md., spent his entire career with the Terps and is third in program history in single-season rush yards per carry. He was named to the 2020 Third Team All-Big Ten and drafted in the seventh round by the Rams.
“I was on the field for the final kneel-down in the NFC championship game,” he told Maryland Athletics following his team’s 20-17 comeback victory over the San Francisco 49ers. “I was in the huddle with (quarterback Matthew) Stafford, hugging him and everyone else, just telling them how much I loved them.”
Jones, who is from Olney, Md., played the 2019 season with the Terps after transferring from Ohio State. As a team captain, he ranked 27th in the nation with 15 tackles for loss and was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection. Originally drafted by the Chicago Bears, he signed with the Bengals’ practice squad as a free agent and was elevated to the active roster near the end of the regular season.The Bengals, like the Rams, came back from a deficit, 21-3, to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC championship, 27-24.
The Rams waived another Terp, Antoine Brooks, just before the conference championship game, but then re-signed him to their practice squad. The defensive back from Lanham, Md., played for the Terps 2016-19 and made Second Team All-Big Ten his senior year.
"It's great to have players from our school playing in the biggest game, at the highest level in their sport, in the Super Bowl," said Barry P. Gossett Director of Athletics Damon Evans. "It lets our recruits know they can reach their dreams by playing here at the University of Maryland. You can make it to the NFL, and you can have opportunities to play on the largest stage in all of sports. I'm so excited for Jake and Keandre. I look forward to watching both of them play."
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