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MSU alumni to play in Super Bowl on Sunday

February 4, 2005
Mike Labinjo —

MSU will be well represented this weekend at the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., as three former Spartans are in the Sunshine State preparing for this weekend's battle.

Philadelphia's Mike Labinjo and Ike Reese will be going up against fellow Spartan alumnus Jim Miller from New England on Sunday evening when the Eagles face the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.

Labinjo spent his first 14 weeks with the Eagles on the practice squad, but was brought up to the active squad because of another player's injury mid-December.

"It's been like a roller coaster ride - going as an undrafted rookie, then making the practice squad to getting some time on special teams," he said.

"And then even some time at linebacker the last two games has been a thrill."

Labinjo said his time at MSU has helped him get to the point he is at today. Labinjo played for the Spartans from 2000-2003.

"A lot of my character was built in my time at MSU," Labinjo said. "We had a lot of issues my junior year that we had to deal with, and so that really impacted me."

MSU Associate Athletic Director John Lewandowski said he is excited to have the players in the game.

"It's a positive anytime any of our former players go on to have success at the pro level," he said. "It's great to have those guys out there as the flag bearers for MSU."

Miller, who joined the Patriots as a free agent in July 2004, has been inactive for most of the season. He is currently the third quarterback on the depth chart behind Tom Brady and Rohan Davey.

Miller played for MSU from 1990-1993, and still holds the school record for pass completion percentage at 62.9 percent. He ranks fifth in MSU history in career pass attempts and passing yards, and second in career pass completions.

Reese played for the Spartans from 1994-1997, and was the only two-time team captain in school history when he graduated.

Reese is in his seventh season in the NFL, and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time this year. He led the Eagles in special team tackles with 33.

Labinjo is listed right behind Reese for linebackers on the Eagles' depth chart, and expects to see some time Sunday on the special teams squad.

But the best part for Labinjo, whose family will be in Jacksonville cheering him on, is the opportunity to do something special.

"Just being a part of everything going on, being a part of the NFC champions and a possibility to win it all is special," he said.

Super Bowl XXXIX will start about 6:30 p.m. on Fox.

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