USAWUSA WrestlingCollegeHS_YouthInternationalJack CochraneNick AllegrettiKhalen SaundersCreed HumphreyMarlon TuipulotuRobert QuinnNews
Former wrestlers competing in the Super Bowl: 2023 edition
by Adam Engel, Special to TheMat.com
Nick Allegretti (Kansas City Chiefs) and Robert Quinn (Philadelphia Eagles). Photos courtesy of NFL websites for Kansas City and Philadelphia.
Wrestling translates to life, leadership and sports. Especially football.
Wrestlers can make excellent football players with knowledge of leverage, footwork and strength, in addition to their work ethic.
Several former wrestlers will play in Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Ariz.
Kansas City Chiefs
Rookie Jack Cochrane, an undrafted free agent, earned football All-American honors at South Dakota. He wrestled for Mount Vernon in Iowa and was teammates with Buccaneers All-Pro Tristan Wirfs. Cochrane qualified for the Iowa state tournament in 2016 but did not place.
Check out tweet from Wirfs swapping jerseys with Cochrane after the Chiefs played the Buccaneers in October.
Nick Allegretti’s accolades make him one of the most accomplished wrestlers on the field.
He was a four-year starter at Lincoln Way East High School in Illinois. He placed third in class 3A in his senior season and finished 45-2.
He was part of the Chiefs’ 2020 Super Bowl champion team.
Allegretti still uses stance and motion drills to warm up for games.
Kahlen Saunders earned varsity wrestling letters at Parkway Central High School in Missouri. He also became a state runner-up in shot put. Saunders is expected to start against the Eagles.
Creed Humphrey began wrestling when he was 4 in Shawnee, Oklahoma. His father, Chad, became a three-time All-American at the University of Central of Oklahoma. Humphrey earned a runner-up finish in the Oklahoma state tournament. He played his college ball at Oklahoma and was the Chiefs’ second round pick in 2021. Humphrey is also expected to start in the Super Bowl.
Read more about Humphrey’s wrestling background in these features.
Nate Taylor of The Athletic: Before Chiefs, Creed Humphrey’s ascending path was propelled by years of wrestling
Chris Low of ESPN: “Country strong’ Creed Humphrey a powerful engine at center of Oklahoma offense
Marlon Tuipulotu won an Oregon heavyweight championship at Central High School. He was a top ranked wrestler in the state but opted to play football at Southern California.
Read about Tuipulotu’s state title in this story from Bill Poehler of the Statesman Journal.
Central’s Marlon Tuipulotu wins state wrestling championships
Tuipulotu suffered a season-ending torn meniscus in November.
NFL veteran Robert Quinn won three state wrestling championships for Fort Dorchester in South Carolina (2006, 2007 and 2008).
He recovered from a brain tumor in fall 2008 to win his third state title in the winter. Quinn will appear in his first Super Bowl in his 12th season. He’s a three-time Pro Bowler and played for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Lovato wrestled at Middletown South High School in New Jersey through his junior year, wrestling at 215 pounds. His father Rick Lovato, Sr. was Middletown South’s first New Jersey High School state champion and his uncle Glenn Pritzlaff was a three-time New Jersey state champion. He was a long snapper at Old Dominion. He has been a Pro Bowl player in the NFL and was a member of the Eagles’ 2017 Super Bowl winning team.
Andy Hamilton/TrackWrestling interview: Eagles long snapper Rick Lovato: 'Wrestling pushed me harder than football has'
Upon popular demand, we add Jason Kelce to the list of wrestlers. Numerous media reports have noted wrestling in his background. He wrestled at the middle school level, according to reports. Kelce has talked about having wrestled in a podcast interview. In an interview on the Eagles website, his mother said, "I think Jason even tried wrestling once." Kelce did a variety of sports at Cleveland Heights High School in Ohio (but not wrestling) and played football for Cincinnati in college, where he was All-American Honorable Mention. His career in Philadelphia began in 2011, and he was on the 2017 Super Bowl championship team. He is a six-time Pro Bowl honoree, and a five-time AP first-team All-Pro.
Note: USA Wrestling posts this article each year to celebrate the strong connection between wrestling and football. The idea is to celebrate all the wrestlers who have reached the Super Bowl each year. If we have missed somebody from either the Kansas City Chiefs or Philadelphia Eagles who wrestled, please let us know. We will add them immediately. Please tell us where they wrestled (and any other data), and send an email to email@example.com.