Mitchell's Super Bowl Trip Was Memorable

February 02, 2012

USF Senior Writer

TAMPA - The last time the New England Patriots were in the Super Bowl, superstar quarterback Tom Brady was being chased around by former USF linebacker Kawika Mitchell in 2008.

This trip to the dance likely will be similar for Brady with two former Bulls itching to make crucial plays on the biggest stage. New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and linebacker Jacquian Williams will try to bring home a Super Bowl ring Sunday just like Mitchell did in Super Bowl XLII.

Mitchell, a retired nine-year pro, remembers just about everything from his week in the spotlight and it started when he walked off the plane in Arizona.

"It was a good feeling just to have that common goal between everybody," Mitchell said Tuesday. "Nobody wanted to go party and do all these things."

The Giants' focus paid off when they rallied to beat New England, 17-14, making Mitchell the second-ever Bull to get a Super Bowl ring. Long snapper Ryan Benjamin won a title with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003.

"I think just going to the Super Bowl is a great experience," Mitchell said. "Just to be able to contribute to winning and to be remembered for that I think it's something I'll always remember."

Mitchell played a key role in making it all happen for New York.  The Bulls' all-time leader in tackles (367) posted three tackles, five assists and registered one of the Giants' five sacks. Mitchell said he was proud to represent USF and still does when he has a chance.

"As far as being there and making a huge contribution it definitely means a lot to me," he said. "I definitely come back to South Florida. I wore my ring a couple times. I think it's important for the future of the program just to be around those guys and show them those kinds of things, just let them know it's possible."

Mitchell said he's close with Pierre-Paul and gave him a simple message during a very busy week of media days, practice and pressure.

"I saw on Twitter just how thankful he was to be there and to be around a bunch of teammates who really enjoy each other. I just told him to take it all in," Mitchell said. "Take as many pictures and videos as you can. Really step back, let everything go around you and just take it in."

NOTE: Pierre-Paul and Williams will be the fourth and fifth USF players to suit up for a Super Bowl. Aside from Mitchell and Benjamin, J.R. Reed was a special teams player for the Philadelphia Eagles in their 24-21 loss to New England in Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.

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