Former Patriot Plays for Winners

James Ihedigbo has a chance to go on as a winner... finally.

 James Ihedigbo has a knack of latching on to a winner.

     In his five seasons after leaving the University of Massachusetts in 2007, Ihedigbo played in four AFC title games and will play in his second Super Bowl in two years Sunday.

     The career special-teamer played in two straight AFC Championship games with the Jets in 2009 and 2010 and then played for the Patriots last season in the Super Bowl.

     "Winning teams just love me, I guess," he said.

     When the Patriots released Ihedigbo after training camp in August, he was sign by the Baltimore Ravens on September 3, 2012. He originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Jets in 2007 where he spent the entire season on injured reserve.

     Ihedigbo had to fight to stay on an NFL roster. He was cut and then eventually made the Jets practice squad in 2008.

     "This league is about adapt or die," Ihedigbo told the media prior to the AFC title game against New England. "That's truly what it's about. So when you have an opportunity, you make the best of it."

     He adapted enough to lead the Jets with a career-high 27 special teams stops and a sack in 2009. He has 92 career tackles (61 solo), 5 sacks, 1 pass defense, 1 forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. He even posted a career-high 72 tackles (50 solo) while with the Patriots in 2011.

     Ihedigbo is a former walk-on turned three-year starter at UMass, who served as the team captain his senior season. During that time, he had 251 total tackles, 12.5 sacks and eight interceptions and 19 passes defended in his college career. He was also named Walter Camp All-American, College Sporting News All-Star and Atlantic-10 First Team defensive back his senior season.

     Ihedigbo started Super Bowl XLVI last season for New England in a loss to the Giants, but now finds himself back in the Super Bowl as a special teamer with the Ravens. He saw action in all 16 games this season, including three starts in his first season with the Ravens. He finished with 19 tackles, one sack, one pass defended and six solo special teams tackles.

     "We had to persevere through a lot of things this season," said Ihedigbo. "We fought together and now we're AFC Champions. We're going to the Super Bowl."

     Always one to make the most of his opportunities, Ihedigbo may even make a play to help the Ravens win a championship.

Kevin Saleeba is a frequent contributor and columnist to Patriots Insider. A former beat writer for local media, Kevin has extensive knowledge of the team and experience covering the Patriots. Share your thoughts on this article, or send your questions to Kevin ( on Facebook ).

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