Former Eastern Kentucky University tight end Matt Lengel will try and help the New England Patriots defeat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI on Sunday.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Lengel told WKYT. “I can’t let the moment get too big.”
Lengel joined the Patriots in November after being on the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad for a year and a half.
He played in six games during the regular season for the Patriots and caught two passes for 22 yards. That included his first NFL touchdown catch, an 18-yarder, against the New York Jets on Dec. 24.
“It was pretty wild,” Lengel told Cincinnati.com about his TD catch. “Just perfect timing. Absolute blessing to experience that and hear the crowd. I was pretty speechless. Something like that happens I’m left speechless.”
Lengel, who iss 6-foot-7 and 266 pounds, played on special teams in each of New England’s two playoff games, a 34-16 win over Houston and a 36-17 victory over Pittsburgh in the AFC championship game.
Lengel said he enjoyed his time with the Bengals, but he jumped at the chance to be on an active roster in the NFL.
“I would have gone anywhere, not just New England,” Lengel told Bengals.com. “I just wanted to be active. Just a shot. It wasn’t that I was ungrateful in Cincy. I was just unsatisfied.”
The native of Mechanicsburg, Pa., played tight end for the Colonels from 2010 to 2014. He fought back from season-ending injuries in 2012 and 2013 to play in 12 games as a senior with nine starts. He hauled in a season-high three receptions four times in 2014 and finished fifth on the squad with 16 catches for 139 yards.
Lengel recorded his only two collegiate touchdown catches in 2011, which included a 55-yard scoring play against Chattanooga.
“For me, coming out of EKU with the injuries and stuff I was just always going to be grateful for the opportunity to play,” he told Cincinnati.com. “It’s just such a blessing that I was able to get this opportunity. To take a step at a time, a goal at a time, to be able to check off playing in a game, scoring a touchdown, check it off, it slowly takes a little pressure off and a little self-satisfaction.”