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New Orleans Saints Head To Super Bowl XLIV With Three CAA Connections
CAA Football continued a strong championship reputation at the collegiate level by recording its fourth NCAA Division I National Championship in the last seven seasons in December. Next weekend, on Feb. 7, in South Florida, three former standouts from the conference will be on the NFL’s grandest stage – leading the New Orleans Saints’ efforts to raise the Vince Lombardi Trophy as winners of Super Bowl XLIV.
Saints offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod, wide receiver Marques Colston and defensive back Darren Sharper all were student-athletes in the CAA Football conference and will be part of the game slated to kickoff at 6:30 p.m., on CBS.
Bushrod is in his third NFL season after playing at Towson from 2003-06. The King George, Va., native has started 14 games for the Saints this season after taking over for Pro-Bowl offensive tackle Jammal Brown (injured reserve) early in the 2009 season. Bushrod, the only player drafted out of Towson since it joined the league in 2004, was a three-time All-League honoree from 2004-06, and earned First Team honors as a senior in 2006.
Colston was taken in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL Draft, after a four-year career at Hofstra which yielded 182 catches, 2,834 yards and 22 touchdowns. The Harrisburg, Pa., native was a First Team All-League honoree as a senior for the Pride in 2005, while his mark of 267 receiving yards against Liberty in 2003 still stands as the sixth-best single-game total in CAA Football history. The fourth-year pro has played in 18 games in 2009 and hauled in 78 catches for a team-best overall total of 1,179 yards. Colston is part of a Saints offense which led the NFL in regular-season scoring (31.9 pts/game) and total offense (403.8 yards/game).
En route to being selected to the NFL Pro Bowl for the fifth time during his career, Sharper played a key role in helping the Saints secure the top seed in the NFC and reach the organization’s first Super Bowl. Sharper, who was selected in the 1997 NFL Draft’s second round by the Green Bay Packers, recorded an NFL-best nine interceptions in 2009. The Richmond, Va., native returned his nine picks for an NFL-record 376 yards this season and set career-high and team-record marks with three interceptions returned for touchdowns. Sharper, a three-time First Team All-League honoree at William and Mary, will be making the second Super Bowl appearance of his career, as he helped the Green Bay Packers reach Super Bowl XXXII as a rookie.
By Colonial Athletic Association Communications