When the New England Patriots face the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, the state of Georgia will be well-represented.
Here are the players with Georgia connections:
–Deion Branch, WR, Albany: Legend has it that on the day of Super Bowl XXXIX, Branch called a dozen of his former football coaches to thank them for their support. After talking to his coaches, Branch tied the Super Bowl record with 11 receptions and was named MVP of the game. He played at Monroe High.
–Gary Guyton, MLB, Georgia Tech (Hinesville): He was signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent on May 2, 2008. Guyton was the lone undrafted rookie to make the Patriots’ opening day roster in 2008. He went on to play in 14 games with two starts, becoming the first undrafted rookie linebacker to start for the Patriots since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000. Guyton had the fastest time in the 40-yard dash by a linebacker at the 2008 NFL scouting combine.
–Jermaine Cunningham, DE, Stone Mountain (Florida): He was placed on injured reserve in December with a hamstring injury.
–Michael Boley, LB, Former Atlanta Falcon: Was drafted in the fifth round of the 2005 NFL draft by the Falcons. He had a stellar career going, but fell out of favor with the new regime and was allowed to leave in free agency. The Giants snapped him up with a five-year $25 million contract.
–Deon Grant, S, Augusta (Tennessee): Has played with Carolina, Jacksonville, Seattle and with the Giants for the last two seasons. He was on Carolina’s team that reached Super Bowl XXXVIII against the New England Patriots. Here’s a story on Grant that appeared in The August Chronicle.
–D.J. Ware, RB, Rockmart (Georgia): He’s in his fifth season with the Giants. He’s played in all games this season and made one start. He backs up Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog