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Former Illini lineman Ted Karras returns to Super Bowl with New England Patriots

Karras has a chance to win his second title in two years.

Illinois v Penn State

Ted Karras has a pretty special job.

The former Illinois offensive lineman started two games in 2017 (and one game as a rookie in 2016) at center for the New England Patriots in place of David Andrews.

The quarterback Karras gets to snap the ball to? Future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.

Drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round (221st overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft, Karras was put in as a good a situation as anyone. He joined an organization known for its stability with chairman Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick and Brady at QB, and the ‘situation’ has not disappointed.

Divisional Round - Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Karras became the 24th Illini to win a Super Bowl when New England’s historic comeback helped the Patriots topple the Atlanta Falcons in overtime in 2017. Now Karras, who is getting married in two weeks, can become the 31st Fighting Illini Super Bowl champion.

Born in Chicago, Karras made his first start in 2017 in Week 11 when Andrews was out with an illness.

The Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl after knocking off the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship game two weeks ago. Former Illini Carroll Phillips, Dawuane Smoot, Arrelious Benn play for Jacksonville. The Jaguars are owned by University of Illinois alum Shad Khan.

The last four Illinois Super Bowl champions, including Karras, have been New England Patriots players. Michael Buchanan, Michael Hoomanawanui and Tavon Wilson were on the New England’s 2015 championship team.

Super Bowl LII kicks off Sunday night at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Bonus Fun Fact

Illinois baseball will be playing at US Bank Stadium, the site of this year’s Super Bowl, from March 2-4. The three games are against Pac-12 foes UCLA, Arizona and Washington.