Football

Former TCU receiver enjoying his Super Bowl moment

Former TCU wide receiver Josh Boyce had nine catches last season, but has been mostly a practice-squad player this season for the New England Patriots.
Former TCU wide receiver Josh Boyce had nine catches last season, but has been mostly a practice-squad player this season for the New England Patriots. AP

Josh Boyce probably won’t play in the Super Bowl. He likely won’t even suit up. For now, just being on the sideline for the big game is enough.

“It’s great,” the former TCU receiver said. “I’ve been to a lot of things. I’ve been to the Rose Bowl. This will be another topping on the cake.”

The New England Patriots called up Boyce from the practice squad before the regular-season finale when Alfonzo Dennard went on injured reserve. Boyce played 10 snaps against Buffalo, getting no targets.

Boyce was inactive in both playoff games.

“The hard work paid off,” Boyce said. “It means a lot to get pulled up, especially right before the playoffs.”

The Patriots made Boyce a fourth-round draft pick in 2013. He played in nine games, with three starts, and made nine catches for 121 yards. His biggest contribution came when he drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone in the waning seconds of a come-from-behind victory over Cleveland last year.

“Of course, the more you play, the more comfortable you’re going to feel,” Boyce said. “The speed of the game slows down. I feel a lot more comfortable now.”

Boyce, 25, spent most of the season on the practice squad after the Patriots waived him out of training camp.

“The practice squad helped me with practice habits and things like that, so it was good,” Boyce said.

In his second season, Boyce could earn a Super Bowl ring.

“A lot of times, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lot of people,” he said. “I’m just trying to take it all in and enjoy the moment.”

Malcolm who?

Who remembers the MVP of Super Bowl XLVIII? Malcolm Smith made nine tackles, recovered a fumble and returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown in Seattle’s 43-8 victory over Denver.

The linebacker gave the truck he won to his mother, Audrey.

After off-season ankle surgery, though, Smith started only five games in 2014 and made 33 tackles and forced two fumbles. A core special teams player, Smith has played only two defensive snaps this postseason.

Linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr., who played with the Dallas Cowboys from 1988-93, was asked if Smith compared to Larry Brown. Brown, a TCU product, became the first cornerback to win Super Bowl MVP honors when he had two interceptions off Pittsburgh quarterback Neil O’Donnell to lead the Cowboys to their third championship in four years.

Brown signed with Oakland that off-season, getting a five-year, $12 million contract, though he ended up starting only one game in two years in Oakland.

“Larry Brown was a starter. Malcolm has not been a starter,” Norton said. “Malcolm was stepping in for the starters, so it’s completely different from that respect. He was available, giving us really good depth. Larry Brown was a starter, and he got the Super Bowl, and he went as a free agent to Oakland and didn’t do as well in that respect.”

Smith becomes a free agent in the off-season. Though he won’t command near the contract that Brown got, Smith could follow Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, set to be the Falcons’ head coach, to Atlanta.

Harvin trade revisited

Percy Harvin returned the second-half kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLVIII. The receiver also had two carries for a game-high 45 yards in the Seahawks’ victory.

But the Seahawks don’t miss Harvin.

They traded the disgruntled player to the New York Jets in October. They were 3-2 with Harvin this season, 11-2 without him. The Jets were 3-6 after dealing for him.

“We made a big statement going after Percy [in a trade with the Vikings in 2013], and he’s an incredible football player and an amazing competitor,” coach Pete Carroll said. “As it turned out, we just thought it was better for our team to move on where we had come from, in a sense. We went back to more of the format that had gotten us here, and it just seemed like the right idea and the right thought. It was a very difficult choice.

“It was an unpopular choice from the outside in, but it was the only choice that we could make at the time to do the right thing for us, and hopefully it’ll work out for him as well.

“There was a big impact of that, but we had to endure that, and since we’ve come out of it, we’ve found what we were looking for really in that decision.”

Harvin played in only eight games with the Seahawks, including two postseason games, catching 27 passes for 176 yards and no touchdowns. He also had 14 rushes for 146 yards and a touchdown.

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @NFLCharean

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