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WIU Alum Khalen Saunders preparing for third Super Bowl

Former Western Illinois football star Khalen Saunders is headed to Super Bowl LVII, his third Super Bowl appearance since being drafted in 2019!
Credit: AP
Kansas City Chiefs' Khalen Saunders (99) reacts after the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Kansas City Chiefs won 31-20. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

MOLINE, Ill. — Former Wester Illinois football star Khalen Saunders is headed to Super Bowl LVII, where his Kansas City Chiefs will meet the Philadelphia Eagles.

Drafted in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Leatherneck is preparing for his third Super Bowl appearance in just four seasons. The Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV 31-20, in which Saunders contributed with a solo tackle.

So far this season, Saunders played in 16 regular season games in 2022, logging 48 combined tackles, three-and-a-half sacks, three tackles-for-loss and eight quarterback hits.

In four seasons with the Chiefs, the St. Louis native has accrued 81 tackles, four-and-a-half sacks and 10 quarterback hits.

Saunders made waves in the sports world in 2019 when ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted a video of him performing flips in his 320-pound frame.

Saunders' elite athleticism earned him a rushing touchdown, passing touchdown and a blocked field goal during his WIU career.

In four seasons at Western Illinois, the St. Louis native emerged as an FCS All-American, racking up 205 total tackles, 34.5 tackles-for-loss, 18 sacks and four forced fumbles.

Selected with the 84th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Saunders became just the first Leatherneck to be drafted by the Chiefs since Jack Atcheson in 1960.

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