Knights in the NFL: Alex Silvestro

Former Rutgers defensive end Alex Silvestro made headlines in February when he joined the New England Patriots active roster the day of the Super Bowl. Replacing fellow Rutgers alum Tiquan Underwood on the roster, Silvestro spoke about his Super Bowl experience and his reactions to the Rutgers coaching change.

Defensive end Alex Silvestro was one of four Rutgers players to dress for Super Bowl XLVI and three on the New England Patriots.

Silvestro played alongside defensive backs Devin McCourty and Nate Jones for the Patriots and would have come home with a ring if New England won the game.

"I've been asked this like 100 times," Silvestro said while explaining his Super Bowl experience. "It's one of the hardest things to explain. It's really what you dream of your whole life when you're a kid. It was really a dream come true. It was amazing just to run out of the tunnel and see all the people. When we kicked off, all the flashes going off it was crazy."

Silvestro tried to play it cool during the week, keeping things quiet after finding out he was going to dress. But as it got close to kickoff, nerves caught up to him, he said.

"I really didn't know until that Friday," Silvestro said. "Coach (Bill) Belichick had said something to me. He just told me not to say anything, that kind of deal. I just went home and told my dad.

"The night before the game, I was just sitting there nervous. Even when I thought about it during the week I was a little nervous, but this is worse."

The only negative in Silvestro's experience, he said, came when he learned Rutgers teammates Tiquan Underwood would be cut to make space for him.

Underwood, who went through most of the season on the active roster, re-joined the Patriots the next day, but did not get his Super Bowl experience.

"I talked to him after," Silvestro said. "It kind of stunk for him how it worked out. He was cool about it. He's a good dude. We're locker buddies up there. I knew he was going to [resign] the next day."

Silvestro has been back at Rutgers in the offseason to work out and visit former teammates. He did not, however, get to visit with his old coaches. With Greg Schiano and the majority of his staff in Tampa, Kyle Flood and Robb Smith were the only familiar faces for Silvestro when he went to the Hale Center.

"It's definitely weird with a whole new staff," Silvestro said. "... I think Coach Flood's a good coach. I think he'll do a good job bringing the best out of everyone."

Silvestro will be at Rutgers Wednesday for Pro Day to support his former teammates. Going through the process last year, he expects to see Justin Francis find success in the NFL.

"I think J-Fran will do well," Silvestro said. "The kid knows how to play. He's got to be ready to grind. You have to continue going through camp. That's the hardest part. Try to just continue to do your best so they find some reason to keep you around."


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