It’s been quite a year for Joe Vellano. The 28 year-old defensive lineman was preparing for the Patriots’ pre-season finale against the New York Giants in August when he received news that his Attleboro, MA apartment had been totaled by a fire. Vellano was too concerned with the game, which his roster spot depended on, to worry about the fire, and passed it off to his family to take care of until he returned.
When he returned home, he salvaged what he could, although most of his belongings, including gear from the 2014 Super Bowl victory with the Pats, were destroyed. Left temporarily homeless, he was forced to sleep on a friend’s couch until he was cut from the team just two days later in the final round of roster cuts.
Vellano quickly bounced back from his rough week and was signed to the Atlanta Falcons practice squad. He worked his way onto the active roster during the season and is now preparing to face his former teammates in the Super Bowl. Though he was a member of the 2014 Patriots team, he was inactive, so this Sunday will be his first real taste of Super Bowl action, something he has dreamed about since he was a child.
“To get a chance to take live bullets in the Super Bowl is what I’ve been trying to do since I was 4 or 5 years old," Vellano told NESN.
Vellano joined the active roster for the NFC Championship game two weeks ago and is now preparing to face off against his former team in the biggest game of his life.