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St. Croix’s Juwan Thompson Looks To Bring Home The Virgin Islands Second Super Bowl Ring

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Juwan Thompson of St. Croix could play today

SAN FRANCISCO – If you’re from the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico you might have feelings for Super Bowl 50 based on your roots today.

That’s because the Denver Broncos third option at running back is someone who was born on St. Croix – Juwan Thompson No. 40.

A Broncos spokesman confirmed for the Virgin Islands Free Press that the 23-year-old Thompson is currently on the Broncos’ 53-man roster for today’s big game and could very well play.

But as per NFL policy, both teams will only announce their 46-man squad 90 minutes before Sunday evening’s clash at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., so fans will have to wait to see if Thompson will make it on to the field and get some play time.

The Duke University alumnus was signed by the Broncos as an undrafted free agent on May 12, 2014. He became the first undrafted rookie since 2006 to record multiple rushing touchdowns in a game with his two-touchdown performance against San Diego on Oct. 23, 2014.

He played 15 regular-season games as a rookie in 2014 and rushed for 272 yards on 54 carries. In a game against the Arizona Cardinals, Thompson scored his first career touchdown on an 8 yard run.

Thompson’s Twitter bio references Galatians 6:9 which says: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

On the Carolina Panthers’ side, Coach Ron “Riverboat Ron” Rivera has roots are from Puerto Rico.

Rivera was born to a Puerto Rican dad and a Mexican mom in Fort Ord, California in 1962. His father was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War era.

“The biggest thing, and I get this from my father, is to stick to your core values,” he said. “Don’t ever forget where you came from.”

Rivera has led the Carolina Panthers to only its second Super Bowl championship and he was a starting linebacker for the World Champion Chicago Bears in 1985.

Rivera’s father’s family still calls Puerto Rico home. He is only the fourth Latino ever to serve as head coach in the National Football League, (NFL).

Rivera has already made history as the first Latino coach to win the AP NFL Coach of the Year Award.

“Something that I’ve also learned and believe is that if you want something in life, go get it – because they are not going to send a limo,” Rivera said. “And finally, I know this much: you truly don’t have all the answers. You have to communicate, collaborate, listen and discuss.”

St. Croix’s Linval Joseph, then playing for the New York Giants, brought home the first-ever Super Bowl ring to the territory when the Giants defeated the New England Patriots at Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis in 2012.

Thompson was part of the backfield platoon that helped Duke capture the 2013 ACC Coastal Division title. Thompson rushed 64 times for 346 yards—not the eye-popping numbers that immediately capture the attention of NFL scouts.

But Thompson saw Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning work up close in Durham when he was working out with college coach David Cutcliffe, and got the chance to prove himself then.

The Broncos did not use a draft choice on Thompson, but picked him up as an undrafted free agent. He got 54 carries as a rookie in 2014 and found the end zone three times, and though his touches have been limited this season,

Thompson has been part of Denver’s special teams unit, showcasing the versatility that Cutcliffe said has become a trademark characteristic of players to come out of his program of late.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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