Former Florida WR Van Jefferson wins Super Bowl ring with Rams, welcomes newborn baby in same night

By Adam Silverstein
February 14, 2022
Former Florida WR Van Jefferson wins Super Bowl ring with Rams, welcomes newborn baby in same night

Image Credit: Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images

It wasn’t yet Valentine’s Day on Sunday night in Los Angeles, but former Florida Gators wide receiver Van Jefferson no doubt felt his heart swell with as cosmic a combination of life-changing events as a football player might experience. Just moments after Jefferson and the Los Angeles Rams won Super Bowl LVI 23-20 over the Cincinnati Bengals, Jefferson skipped the Lombardi Trophy ceremony and ran out of SoFi Stadium.

Jefferson, 25, learned after the final whistle that his wife, Samaria, had been stretchered out of the stadium midgame and was nearby at a local hospital prepared to give birth to their child. Samaria, who made the concerted decision to attend her husband’s big game despite the potential complications, told The Athletic that she instructed team personnel not to tell Jefferson if she went into labor during the game so as not to distract him.

“Just like any other game, I’m going to be there this Sunday, and I’m going to stay calm … and pray to God my water doesn’t break,” she said. “I am 100% going to be there. I would not miss this moment for anything. I will be 40 weeks pregnant at the Super Bowl, supporting my husband 100%.”

It did not take long for Jefferson to grab his daughter and sprint out of the stadium to the medical facility where he soon posted a social media message with his newborn baby in his arms. Less than two hours after catching four passes for 23 yards in the biggest game of his career (while wearing gloves with Gators logos on them), he had a moment that surpassed that experience.

“It was a great day, bro,” Jefferson said on Instagram. “I got three prizes today — my wife, my son and the Super Bowl.”

He and his now-wife are former high school sweethearts who previously had a child together but ultimately broke up only to recently reconnect and marry. Their relationship has blossomed, and Sunday’s special moment was a capper for them.

Jefferson was considered a high-upside player when he was selected No. 57 overall in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He made significant strides in his second season, finishing with 59 receptions for 904 yards and six touchdowns through the regular season and NFL Playoffs. The emergence of Odell Beckham Jr. late in the season limited what had been a breakout campaign for Jefferson as he only compiled 102 yards in four playoff games.

Former Gators running back and kick returner Brandon Powell also earned a Super Bowl ring on Sunday night with the Rams. It marked the 11th time in 13 seasons that a Florida player won a Super Bowl ring after the 20th consecutive year in which at least one player was rostered on a team in the big game. Overall, UF has 36 total rings won by 29 players across 24 Super Bowls.

Meanwhile, the Bengals had three former Florida players on the sideline. Kicker Evan McPherson was 2 of 2 on field goals in the game and finished his rookie season by going an astounding 14 of 14 on field goals (3 of 3 from 50+ yards) in the NFL Playoffs. He was also featured coming out of halftime when he was shown having stayed on the field for the incredible performance featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige and 50 Cent. Offensive lineman Fred Johnson saw action in the game as well, while cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III made headlines despite being inactive.

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