By AARON BRENNER
AUBURN, Ala – Good thing Josh Bynes has two hands. Because now he needs more than five fingers to flash all that bling he’s won as a college and professional football player.
More than 2,000 men have earned a football letter at Auburn. Only those who played in 1957 or 2010 have won a collegiate national title, and just 16 have lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl champion.
Behold the list of guys who have done both: Josh Bynes, linebacker for Auburn (2007-10) and the Baltimore Ravens (2011-12).
“It means a lot to me,” Bynes told the Ledger-Enquirer Friday in a phone interview Friday, his head still spinning five days after the Ravens’ 34-31 win over 2004 Jim Thorpe Trophy winner Carlos Rogers and the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans.
“It’s crazy to be marked in Auburn history as the first player to win the Super Bowl and a national championship. It is unbelievable – it’s just a blessing.”
Elevated from the practice squad midseason when Ray Lewis missed games with a torn triceps injury, Bynes played mostly special teams for Baltimore. He tackled 49ers returner Ted Ginn Jr. after time expired to seal the victory.
Bynes remembered back to preseason media days in Baltimore, when he showed off his five rings from college: the 2007 Chick-Fil-A Bowl, 2010 Outback Bowl, 2010 SEC Championship, and two national title rings – one from the BCS, one from Auburn.
“The guys had been asking me for a long time, ‘show me the rings, show me the rings’,” Bynes said. “A lot of the guys, they’d never been to a big bowl or even a bowl game at all, definitely never been to a national championship.
“They said, ‘I wish I could get one of these.’ Now, everybody on the team’s gonna get one.”
Bynes was the Tigers’ leading tackler his junior and senior years, capped by 73 takedowns in 2010 when Auburn went 14-0 and won its second national title.
“I love Auburn to death,” Bynes said, “and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Pretty high praise for a kid out of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. who didn’t know much about the school – “I thought Auburn was in Georgia”, he admitted – until his official visit his senior year of high school, in mid-October 2006.
“I was a state of Florida guy – growing up I was all about the University of Miami,” Bynes said. “But I went to one of their summer camps, and then I came on a visit during the Florida game in Auburn (which Auburn won 27-17), and it was just amazing. I knew I was going there after the game.”