CHICAGO (CBS) — Offensive lineman Nick Allegretti had a big hand in helping the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs punch their ticket to Tampa and back-to-back Super Bowls.

Not bad for a seventh round draft pick, who barely played as a rookie in 2019. On Sunday, Allegretti returns to the Super Bowl in just his second NFL season as a key starter on Kansas City’s offensive line.

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CBS 2’s Ryan Baker caught up with the former Fighting Illini captain and Lincoln-Way East standout, who’s ready to represent the home folks as he tries to win another ring.

It will be his second Super Bowl in only two years in the NFL, when some players spend 10 to 15 years in the league and never get to play in the championship. How does that feel?

“It’s wild. There’s guys I watched my whole career that never had the opportunity to play in one, or win one, or anything like that. There’s guys that commit their whole life to this and never get this opportunity. So just incredibly happy, excited, blessed to have this opportunity,” he said.

As a rookie, Allegretti played five snaps on special teams in Super Bowl LIV, and on Sunday night he’ll be the starting left guard, protecting star quarterback Patrick Mahomes as the Chiefs go for back-to-back titles.

“I don’t know if it has sunk in. … I don’t know if I want it to. I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I can. It’s hard to live in the moment when there’s all the distractions, and the stresses, and worries about it, for sure. I’m just trying to enjoy the fact that I’m living my childhood dream,” Allegretti said.

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Allegretti plays in Kansas City and is headed to Tampa on Sunday, but his heart is still in Illinois, at his alma maters – Lincoln-Way East High School in Frankfort and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“Yeah, absolutely. That’s what made me into the person and the player that I am. So, I miss home. I’ll be home soon. Gonna go take care of this real quick,” he said.

Hopefully, it will be with a second Super Bowl ring.

The whole Allegretti clan – mom Tammy, dad Carl, big brother Joey, and fiancée Christina – will be in Tampa to cheer on Nick in Sunday’s showdown against Tom Brady’s Buccaneers.

You can see Super Bowl LV on CBS 2. Kickoff is Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

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