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Super Bowl notebook

This time, Rams are glad that Sony Michel is in the Super Bowl

Sony Michel finished this season as the Rams’ leading rusher (845 yards).Doug Benc/Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — The last time Sony Michel played in the Super Bowl, he was playing against the Los Angeles Rams, scoring the only touchdown in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever as the Patriots topped the Rams, 13-3, three years ago.

This time, Michel will be running the ball for the Rams, not against them, as he suits up for Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium, the Rams’ home field.

The Rams are hoping Michel can reprise some of his Super Bowl heroics for them.

“Not too many teammates have given me grief,” said Michel, who rushed for 94 yards on 18 carries and a 2-yard TD run that broke a 3-3 tie in the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LIII. “I get a lot of ‘I’m glad that you’re on this side this time.’ It’s always awesome to be on a great team. A team that loves to compete and a team that’s getting ready to try to hoist a Lombardi Trophy.”

Michel finished this season as the Rams’ leading rusher (845 yards). He shared rushing duties with Darrell Henderson, whom the Rams activated off injured reserve Friday. The duo filled in admirably for starter Cam Akers, who missed all but one game of the regular season with a torn Achilles’ tendon.


Akers has reclaimed the primary role this postseason, rushing 54 times for 151 yards with Michel carrying the ball 24 times for 78 yards. LA hasn’t done much on the ground. The only Rams rusher to score a rushing touchdown this postseason is quarterback Matthew Stafford with two.

The Patriots, stocked in the backfield with Damien Harris and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson, traded Michel to the Rams in August for a 2022 sixth-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick.

Michel, a 2018 first-round pick of the Patriots who dealt with injuries during his time in New England, says he harbors no ill will toward the team or coach Bill Belichick.


“Being coached by Coach Belichick made me a better player in terms of he taught me to be a professional,” said Michel, who set an NFL rookie postseason record for rushing touchdowns in 2018 with six while leading all NFL rushers that postseason with 336 yards.

“Me coming into this league young and not really knowing much, being put into that system of doing your job and being a professional it takes you a long way.”

O’Connell ripe for the picking

Former Patriots quarterback Kevin O’Connell is the latest branch of the Sean McVay coaching tree. O’Connell, the Rams offensive coordinator, was hired to be the Vikings’ head coach.

O’Connell, 36, has benefitted from spending time around two of the best coaches in the NFL, Belichick and Rams coach Sean McVay.

“[McVay’s] a special human being. There’s a reason that he has been able to enhance the coaches and players, everybody, that comes through this building because of who he is,” said O’Connell.

“If it’s a tree, whatever it is, I’m honored to be a part of it. It’s a special, special thing to have coached for him and had the opportunity to learn from him over these last two years.”

However, O’Connell, a 2008 third-round pick of the Patriots out of San Diego State, said that his brief stint in New England playing for Belichick also left an impression that has molded his coaching career.


“I always tell people although I felt like I was thrown into the deep end of the pool a little bit as a player going into that football culture, it was an unbelievable learning experience for me,” said O’Connell, who was released at the end of training camp in 2009.

“At that moment, mentally, I felt myself finding that love of getting into the other side of it and potentially getting into coaching after I was done playing.

“Just the process, the detail, the unbelievable focus of our team and our coaching staff, and it all starts at the top with Coach Belichick . . . I just have so much admiration and respect for what Coach Belichick has been able to do there over such a long period of time.”

Christopher L. Gasper is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at christopher.gasper@globe.com. Follow him @cgasper and on Instagram @cgaspersports.