4 Mormons have chance to participate in Super Bowl

Published: Friday, Jan. 17 2014 9:00 a.m. MST

New England Patriots wide receiver Austin Collie warms up before an AFC divisional NFL playoff football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Foxborough, Mass., on Jan. 11.

Michael Dwyer, Associated Press

Four members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have a shot at the Super Bowl heading into this weekend’s conference championships.

Former BYU standout Austin Collie has had another up-and-down year in his injury-riddled career in 2013. Collie, who suffered three concussions during his time with the Indianapolis Colts, is currently projected to be the fourth wide receiver on the New England Patriots’ depth chart this weekend.

After spending the preseason with the San Francisco 49ers and working out with New England, Tennessee, San Diego and Miami, Collie finally landed a home for the postseason. This is Collie’s third stint with the Patriots this year, after being signed and cut multiple times from October through December. Collie, who is averaging 10.5 yards per catch on six catches this season, was re-signed by New England on Jan. 2.

New England defensive tackle Sealver Siliga has played for each of the four remaining teams in the playoffs during his short NFL career. Siliga, who attended Copper Hills High School and the University of Utah, began his career with San Francisco in 2011 as an undrafted free agent, but was cut and eventually ended up with the Denver practice squad, where he played in one game over two seasons. He was traded to Seattle in August last year, but was cut and ultimately signed by the Patriots in October.

“It’s been great,” Siliga said of his time in New England in an interview with ESPN. “I’ve been treated well. This organization speaks for itself and I’m blessed to be a part of it.”

Siliga has 24 career tackles with three sacks and a fumble recovery.

Darrell Bevell was hired as the offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks in 2011. Bevell postponed his college football career as a quarterback at Wisconsin for an LDS mission to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1993. Now, 20 years later, he has the opportunity to win a championship with another former Wisconsin quarterback, Russell Wilson.

“(Bevell is) a guy that’s so consistent on a daily basis,’’ Wilson told The Seattle Times. “He’s so poised in big situations, whether they’re good or bad. He’s always believing in your guys.’’

Will Tukuafu has embraced a double role for the San Francisco 49ers, alternating between defensive end and fullback. Tukuafu served a mission to Jamaica and rose to prominence as a defensive standout at Oregon before being picked up by Seattle as an undrafted free agent in 2010 but wound up with the 49ers later that season.

Growing up as the 15th of 16 children in an active Mormon family, Tukuafu once joked with Seahawks.com, “We had a good rotation going in the house. While some of the older siblings were moving out, the younger ones were coming in.”

Tukuafu, who recovered a fumble on the first snap of his pro career, has appeared in two games for San Francisco this year. He is currently listed as “day to day,” as reported on Twitter by 49ers beat writer Cam Inman, after a nasty knee injury suffered in last week’s divisional playoff game against the Carolina Panthers.

Email: achristensen@deseretnews.com

Twitter: atownmania

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