Super Bowl Sunday was on February 7, 2016 – and how super is it to know our own Pirate alum, Sam Brenner (Class of 2008) played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California in the 50th Anniversary of the Super Bowl and won it, Denver 24 – Carolina 10. Making us proud! A RING coming up!
Earlier on December 10, 2015, two Golden Footballs were presented to Oceanside High School from Joe Salave’a, currently Washington State Assistant Head Coach and the late Junior Seau’s family, because both players played in a Super Bowl. This was an honor presented by the NFL recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Super Bowl.
from the Salt Lake Tribune – February 5, 2016
San Jose, Calif. • Sam Brenner once thought that becoming a starting offensive lineman two years ago as a result of a teammate’s bullying incidents would be the weirdest thing that ever happened to him in the NFL.
So a season that the former University of Utah player labels “tumultuous” will end in a big-time setting Sunday, when the Broncos meet the Carolina Panthers at Levi’s Stadium. As Denver’s No. 3 center, Brenner is unlikely to be among the 45 players (of the 53-man roster) who dress for the game, but he’s thrilled to have joined the Broncos and hopes to play his way into a bigger role for the franchise in the coming years.
“Everything they do, from the top down, is first-class,” said Brenner, who’s remembered at Utah for being a key blocker as a guard in 2011 when John White broke the school’s season rushing record.
Brenner’s third season in Miami ended when the Dolphins released him, because former Utah star Koa Misi was injured and the team needed another linebacker. The Dolphins intended to re-sign Brenner to their practice squad, but he hoped another team would claim him off waivers. “I knew I was a better player than that,” he said.
The Broncos grabbed him, and offensive line coach Clancy Barone is eager to keep working with Brenner, who has a made good impression.
Originally signed by the Dolphins as an undrafted player, Brenner appeared in eight games over three seasons in Miami. He started four games as a rookie in 2013, once facing Carolina defensive lineman Star Lotulelei, his former Ute teammate. Brenner was promoted after lineman Jonathan Martin left the team and Richie Incognito was suspended for having bullied Martin, as the team determined.
That episode is among the reasons Brenner describes his NFL career as “a crazy ride.”
Brenner was recruited to Utah from Oceanside, Calif., where he was a high school teammate of Ute quarterback Jordan Wynn. Partly due to Wynn’s season-ending injury in the fourth game of 2011, Brenner’s junior year, the Utes became a run-oriented team that showcased the offensive line — notably Brenner and tackle Tony Bergstrom, who’s now with the Oakland Raiders.
“As an offensive lineman, that’s what you want,” Brenner said. “Put the burden on us, and we’ll carry the team.”
Tim Davis, who coached the Ute line that season, remembers Brenner as a tough, athletic player who supported the other linemen and possessed “FBI” — football intelligence. The well-traveled Davis (he’s now at Northern Arizona) has two other linemen in the Super Bowl, Carolina’s Ryan Kalil of USC and Denver’s Max Garcia of Florida, and they all have similar traits, Davis said.
Even with defenses geared to stop him, White ran for 1,519 yards and the Utes finished 8-5 in 2011. They may have beaten Colorado and advanced to the Pac-12 championship game, but White got hurt in the first half and Brenner experienced a frightening moment when he injured his neck and was taken to a hospital. Brenner returned to play in a Sun Bowl victory over Georgia Tech.
Davis then took a job at Florida and new line coach Dan Finn switched Brenner’s position as a senior, which was “kind of a shock,” Brenner said. The Utes needed their best lineman to play left tackle that year, but Brenner knew his NFL future would be at guard or center.
And after accompanying the Broncos to the Super Bowl, he’s hoping to come back next season and “prove my worth” by contending for a starting job.
Original article: Salt Lake Tribune – Sam Brenner