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Illini in the NFL: Conference Championship Edition

Don’t root for the Rams.

Wild Card Round - Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Plan on watching the NFL this weekend? Don’t plan on watching it because Cody Parkey? I don’t blame you either way.

If you do want some rooting interests in this weekend’s games, three of the four remaining teams have an Illini on its active roster. We’re not Rams fans.

Justin Hardee (New Orleans Saints)

The former Illini wideout has had a breakout second year for the Saints on special teams and as a defensive back. Hardee finished the 2018 season with 17 tackles and one interception, and earned NFL Special Teams Player of the Week Honors as a rookie back in 2017.

And how can you not love a story about a guy who is just grinding his way into the league.

Go Saints. Beat the Rams.

Jeff Allen (Kansas City Chiefs)

Allen made his return to the Chiefs this season after spending time with the Houston Texans, and he played in 10 regular season games as an offensive tackle.

Yet, Allen made even bigger headlines this week after a homeless Chiefs fan helped him get his car out of the snow. Now that fan will be at the AFC Championship game this week. Go Jeff Allen!

Ted Karras (New England Patriots)

This one isn't even fun. Drafted in 2016, Karras has spent a few games at center, snapping the ball to Tom Brady. He also has been on a team in two Super Bowls, winning one and losing to the Eagles last year in another. Now the former Illini has a chance to go to his third in as many years.

Lucky duck.

Go Illini! At least there’ll be one in the Super Bowl this year!

For vintage inspired, high quality, and well-designed University of Illinois apparel, check out Fourth and Kirby, and look for the TCR Collection while you’re at it!