The Ram with the most revenge on his mind

Rob Bradford
January 29, 2019 - 9:52 am

ATLANTA -- Austin Proehl has a unique existence this week.

The former University of North Carolina wideout isn't even listed on the Rams' roster, living life as a practice squad player. But that doesn't mean he isn't of some importance.

"Yes, I'm Edelman," Proehl said during Super Bowl Opening Night Monday.

While he did admit to shaving for the media rush -- eliminating that portion of the Julian Edelman simulation -- Proehl has been tasked by the Rams to simulate the Patriots' slot receiver throughout the days leading up to the big game.

"I enjoyed it to be able to see what he does," Proehl said with the smile. "It was a cool opportunity."

But that's only a portion of this story. Those cuts might be made a little bit harder in practice. The routes a tad cleaner. Why? Not just because it's the Super Bowl but because it is THIS Super Bowl.

"Absolutely," said Proehl when asked if it was satisfying that the Patriots were the Rams' opponent in this Super Bowl. "At the end of the day, you want to play against the best of the best. Brady is the best of the best. Belichick is the best of the best. The Patriots are the best of the best. It’s a blessing to be here. But we’re here to get a win in Atlanta

"It’s an opportunity to get back at what happened. The last time we were and the way it ended."

The last time the Rams were in the Super Bowl, of course, resulted in the Patriots' improbable win. Proehl remembers it like yesterday. For good reason. His father, Ricky Proehl, was wearing the blue and yellow on the other side from younger Bill Belichick and a very young Tom Brady.

"I remember it just being hard," Proehl said. "At that age (6 years old) I didn’t know exactly what this game meant. I knew that we lost and I knew it was a big game. I knew the preparation he put into it and how hard he worked on a day to day basis. So I knew what it meant. I cried from the Superdome all the way back to our hotel. My mom wouldn’t let me see him for a couple of hours. At that point, I knew what was going on and I wanted to see him and wanted to be with him because I just thought it was the coolest thing to be able to watch him. He was my idol. I wanted to grow up to be like him and be in the situation like I am now. I just wanted to be with him. It was hard. I definitely took it hard."

Then came the Super Bowl two year later, when the Proehl family got another crack at the Patriots while playing with the Panthers. Again, no dice. 

Fifteen years later, the son is ready to avenge for the father.

"It’s been hard," Proehl said. "You have all the respect in the world for Tom and for Belichick and for everything else and what they have. Every year you can’t count them out at all at any point in the year. But it’s hard. To see what they’ve done. They beat them that year and they beat them with the Panthers. It’s hard.

'The first thing (his father) told me was, 'Hey you have to go down and win this thing because I promise you, you don’t want to walk off that field with the confetti raining down on you.' I'll remember that."