Super long road for Marquice Cole
NEWARK, N.J. -- It took Marquice Cole a long time to get to the Super Bowl, but now that he's here it all seems oddly familiar.
The Broncos cornerback played in New Jersey for three seasons as a Jet, flying to away games from Liberty Airport in Newark, which is where he found himself again Tuesday for media day at the Prudential Center.
Cole was one of the players behind a barrier on the side of the main interview stages. He took questions from people dressed as superheroes and in other unusual outfits, and said he was soaking it in.
There's been some nostalgia along the way.
"It was funny, talking to the guys, pointing out certain things that I remembered," Cole said. He had to get here the hard way, as an undrafted free agent signed by Oakland in 2007, doing the dirty work as a practice player and on special teams. He's also spent time with the Titans, Saints and Patriots.
"You've just got to be resilient to all adversity and ready to move on and move forward," Cole said. "And I've been able to do that luckily and still able to provide for my family."
When Cole played with the Jets, his son wasn't yet in school. There was flexibility; he and his wife, Rebecca, could go to the local Trader Joe's in Florham Park, where the team practiced, and cook meals with little worry about whether he would play for the same team in a year.
But schools and growing families require more stability. So when it came time to leave New Jersey, an itinerant existence wasn't appealing. Cole bought a house in Hazel Crest, Ill., where he was born. There he, Rebecca and 6-year-old Marquice Jr. were joined by Marli four months ago.
And now here he is, the long shot, revisiting the same halls he used to frequent as a Jet. The Broncos are using the Jets' practice facility as their headquarters all week.
"We're at the Jets facility, that's funny," Cole said. "But I was talking to Kyle, [Jets cornerback] Kyle Wilson is one of my real good friends. So I took a picture of [Broncos safety] Mike Adams' locker and I said, 'It's the real No. 20' and I sent it to him."
The truth is, Cole is in the exact position all his former Titans, Patriots and Raiders teammates wanted to be in: on the brink of winning a Lombardi trophy. It isn't a gimme with a tough defense like Seattle's in store, but there is hope.
Even if he's not the guy with the highest profile on the team, he'll take it.
"I ended up here and in the Super Bowl," Cole said, "and we're ready to get this ring."