Three Former Gators To Play In Super Bowl XL

Gainesville - Former University of Florida football players and current Seattle Seahawks Darrell Jackson and Marquand Manuel as well as Pittsburgh Steeler Max Starks are set to appear in Super Bowl XL. Pittsburgh is in the Super Bowl for the sixth time, while Seattle makes its first appearance in the game scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 5 at 6:30 p.m. ET in Detroit.

This season marks the 22nd time at least one former University of Florida player will be in the championship game. All three will be making their first trip bringing UF's total to 26 Gators who have played in the Super Bowl.

Jackson (1997-99) was three-year letterman and one-year starter for the Gators at wide receiver. Jackson is tied with Jabar Gaffney (2000) and Carlos Alvarez (1969) for the UF school record of six consecutive 100-yard receiving games. He was chosen by Seattle in the 2000 NFL Draft and is in his sixth season with the Seahawks. Jackson played a key role in Seattle's 34-14 NFC Championship win over the Carolina Panthers as he led the team with six receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown.

Manuel (1998-01) was a three-year starter at Florida and played in 46 career games, playing mostly at safety but also started twice at outside linebacker. He was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2002 NFL Draft; however, he was picked up in September of 2004 by Seattle. Manuel also helped in Seattle's victory on Sunday over the Panthers as he intercepted a Jake Delhomme pass near the end of the first quarter and returned it 32 yards to the Carolina 17 yard line. Moments later, the Seattle offense converted the turnover into a touchdown to take a 17-0 lead.

Starks (2000-03) started three consecutive years at three different positions for the Gators (RT in 2001, LT in 2002 and RG/LT in 2003). He played in 43 games, with 36 starts and is in his second season with the Steelers after the offensive lineman was chosen by the organization in the 2004 NFL Draft. Starks becomes the eighth former Gator lineman to make it to the Super Bowl. It also marks the fifth time in the last six Super Bowls a former member of the UF offensive line has appeared.

This season marks the 40th anniversary of the Super Bowl, which will be broadcast nationally on ABC.


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