Ex-Huskies Vea, Mickens All Set to Play in Historic Super Bowl

The former University of Washington players both contributed to Tampa Bay's NFC title game victory.
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Jaydon Mickens touched the ball on the opening kickoff of the NFC championship game, returning it 29 yards. 

Vita Vea showed up on the fifth defensive play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, shoving a Green Bay offensive lineman some 10 yards upfield and creating a sack for Shaq Barrett.

These former University of Washington football players contributed in different ways to Tampa Bay's 31-26 victory over the Packers on Sunday in Green Bay and now will get ready to make NFL history.

They're Super Dawgs.

Mickens and Vea will be part of the first team in league history to play a Super Bowl in its own stadium, with the pro football championship coming on Sunday, Feb. 7, to Tampa's Raymond James Stadium. 

While Mickens has been a season-long presence for the Bucs, returning kickoffs and punts, Vea only this week returned from a near three-month absence caused by a broken foot suffered against the Chicago Bears.

However, the 6-foot-4, 346-pound Vea seemed determined all along to be back on the field in time for the playoffs and even a Tampa Super Bowl, which was plausible playing alongside Tom Brady as the Bucs quarterback.

Age couldn't get in Brady's way either. At 43, he will become the oldest player at any position to play in event.

Vea, who's 18 years younger than his starting quarterback, appeared in just five Bucs games in the regular season before he went down with his broken foot, missing a dozen games.

Against the Packers, he played on situational downs only but was a handful. While he didn't register a tackle, he often drew a double-teams, which helped open up lanes for others to zip through to get to quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

The Tampa Bay following noticed the added push up front.

"Welcome back Big Man!!!" one fan wrote on a Bucs fan site. "Welcome back. What a comeback ... what a game! Vita, Vita, Vita."

Wrote another, "You are the best interior defensive lineman in the league. I can't wait to see you at 100 percent. Thank you Vita!"

The Bucs are going to the Super Bowl -- in Tampa.

Bucs headquarters in Florida.

Mickens, who came from Los Angeles to play at the UW in 2012-15 for Steve Sarkisian and for Chris Peteren, returned seven kickoffs and punts against Green Bay, getting free for a 43-yard runback.

He's continually put the Bucs in good field position with his runbacks.

Mickens and Vea couldn't be in a better football position now — they've got a Super Bowl date.

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