An Illini football great is receiving some high praise from one of the NFL’s all-time greats.
Former Illinois guard Nick Allegretti is headed to his fourth Super Bowl after the Kansas City Chiefs knocked off the Baltimore Ravens 17-10 on Sunday to punch their ticket to Las Vegas. Allegretti was a big part of it, getting the opportunity to start and play all 81 snaps at left guard.
His teammate, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, went out of his way to shout out Allegretti during the “Stamp of the Week” segment of his popular “New Heights” podcast on Wednesday, even going as far as to call him “one of my favorite teammates of all time.”
“Nick Allegretti stepped in for our Pro Bowl offensive guard Joe Thuney for the AFC Championship,” Kelce said. “Huge shoes to fill and stepped up like a champion.”
Allegretti is in his fifth year in Kansas City, having started 13 career games while primarily serving as a backup since being drafted in the 7th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. His work has not gone unnoticed by the league’s new all-time leader in postseason receptions.
“Nick has been year in, year out Mr. Reliable every single time he gets the opportunity to go in there,” Kelce said. “To play as good as he did and to play as big as he did in that moment, in that game, we couldn’t have did it without you brother.”
Following Sunday’s game, Allegretti shared an emotional moment with reporters on the field, showing appreciation for his Chiefs teammates for helping him get prepared for his huge moment.
An emotional Nick Allegretti afterward, filling in for Joe Thuney today. "They were there for me all week with communication, making sure I was engrained in this offense. God, I'm so proud of this team." #Chiefs pic.twitter.com/O6uBsKL8pD— Harold R. Kuntz (@HaroldRKuntz3) January 29, 2024
“You said it for all of us,” Kelce said. “We’re all in the same boat with you, man, and the feeling’s mutual.”
Allegretti is aiming to become the first Illini to win three Super Bowls when the Chiefs take on the 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11. It’s unclear whether Thuney will be available for that game or if Allegretti will get the chance to make his first Super Bowl start.
You can watch the entire clip from Travis and Jason Kelce’s podcast “New Heights” here (1:28:57):