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Baylor Football

Former Bear Clay Johnston on his way to the Super Bowl

January 31, 2022

Regardless of the outcome in Sunday’s thrilling AFC Championship Game, Baylor Football was guaranteed to have at least one rep in Super Bowl LVI. 

If Kansas City had driven in the dagger, former Bears hoops star and National Champion Mark Vital (2017-2021) would have celebrated going from a National Championship appearance to a Super Bowl appearance in less than two years. 

Instead, the lasting memory from Vital on Sunday will be the dejected look on his face during a cameo shot on the KC sideline as the Chiefs — a team familiar with magic at quarterback — were the latest victims in the Bengals’ remarkable rise spearheaded by a supernatural quarterback. 

Additionally, once a Bengals draft pick who ultimately didn’t last under head coach Zac Taylor, former Baylor nose tackle Andrew Billings (2013-2015) would have gone from uncertain future to Super Bowl practice squad with the Chiefs in less than two weeks. 

But it was the Bengals that defeated the Kansas City Cheifs 27-24 in overtime yesterday afternoon to clinch a spot in the biggest game of the season for the first time since 1989. 

It’s now linebacker Clay Johnston (2015-2019), who registered one tackle on Sunday and is experiencing firsthand one of the great team stories in sports, who is the only Baylor Bear standing as the Cinderella ride continues for the Bengals.

The only hurdle standing between the former Green and Gold great and a Super Bowl ring is the team that drafted him in the 7th round less than two years ago, the Los Angeles Rams.

As a 2020 seventh round pick, Johnston lasted only a few months in L.A. before former head coach Matt Rhule and the Panthers scooped him up off waivers in the summer of 2020. He made his official NFL debut in Week 16 last year and then made the Panthers 53-man roster this season, playing in six games before Rhule cut him loose. 

A blessing in disguise. 

Eight career games in the books, Johnston lasted less than 24 hours on waivers before the Bengals signed him up on November 9th. 

Since that moment the Baylor linebacking great has played a lot on special teams, some on defense, and his stop of Tennesee Titan running back Derrick Henry’s two-point conversion attempt in the Wild Card round was a big moment that could live on forever in the Queen City if the glass slipper fits in the end. 

Over in the NFC, former running back JaMycal Hasty (2015-2019) caught one pass for six yards in San Francisco’s soul-crushing loss to the Rams and was easy to spot on several occasions in the backfield for th 49ers.

The Longview Lobo legend will become an exclusive-rights free agent this offseason, meaning the Niners have the right to make the qualifying offer, but if they pass, Hasty can talk with any team. 

Baylor Football could have had up to three former stars vying for the NFL’s top prize in two weeks, but Johnston was the last Bear standing after the dust settled on Sunday. And he’s going to the Super Bowl. 

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Former Bear Clay Johnston on his way to the Super Bowl

9,726 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 2 yr ago by mascudkoray
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Sic 'em Clay!
McCavebear Lives!
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thanks for sharing

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