SAN JOSE, Calif. – If it's possible to be the luckiest and unluckiest player in Super Bowl 50, Mike Remmers is your guy.
Lucky because, well, he's Mike Remmers. He had to walk on at Oregon State. He wasn't invited to the NFL scouting combine. He wasn't drafted and he's on his fifth team in four years, including a brief stint with the Vikings.
Unlucky because, well, he plays right tackle, which means he will be blocking outside linebacker Von Miller, who lines up on that side roughly 75 percent of the time, according to Pro Football Focus. Miller, according to anyone's eyeball test, is the baddest dude on Denver's No. 1-ranked defense.
"I always feel I can't be stopped," said Miller, whose last outing was a 2½-sack, one-interception domination of the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
But if you're looking for Remmers to shake beneath his Grizzly Adams playoff beard, well, it's not going to happen.
"Von's a great player; very athletic, physical, strong, and he's got more moves than your average pass rusher," Remmers said. "It's going to be a challenge. But my whole career has been a challenge."
Remmers had no Division I offers coming out of Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore. But he became a four-year starter at Oregon State.
The Broncos signed Remmers as a rookie free agent. They cut him a month later.
The Buccaneers signed him to their practice squad. He didn't play for two years.
The Chargers signed him off Tampa Bay's practice squad in October 2013. He made his NFL debut and was released.
Two days later, the Vikings signed him for depth to finish out the dead-man-walking portion of coach Leslie Frazier's stint. He didn't play, but was brought to Mankato for Mike Zimmer's first training camp in 2014.
"I worked as hard as I could, but it just didn't work out in Minnesota," Remmers said. "They went a different direction."
Remmers was cut. That same day, he was signed to the Rams practice squad. Late that season, Carolina signed him off the Rams' practice squad.
This time, he started five games in 2014 and all 18 games for the league-best Panthers this season.
"It's tough throughout the years always getting cut and bouncing around from team to team," Remmers said. "It's easier to just give up on football, quit and find a different route in life. Find a job. But I knew deep down that I was capable of playing in this league. I wanted to prove it to myself and everyone else that I can do it."
Although Pro Football Focus ranked Carolina's offensive line No. 2 in the NFL this season, the website hasn't been a huge believer in Remmers. It ranked him 41st among tackles.
However, in two playoff games, PFF has pointed out that neither Remmers nor Panthers left tackle Michael Oher has given up a sack, a hit or a hurry while protecting presumed league MVP Cam Newton.
The Panthers also are six-point favorites in large part because of an offensive line that's far superior to the one in New England that allowed 17 hits on Tom Brady in the AFC title game. Carolina allowed only 61 hits on Newton this season — third fewest in the league — and only three in two playoff games.
Carolina also is a run-oriented team, which creates more problems for Denver. The Broncos led the league in fewest yards allowed per carry (3.28), but Carolina ranked No. 2 in rushing (142.6 yards per game) and has averaged even more (148) in the playoffs.
"The key to the game?" Broncos safety Darian Stewart asked. "Stopping the run. Definitely."
The Panthers have the league's most versatile running attack. They have the basic two-back isolation power game, a scary zone-read attack and, of course, a huge, athletic, fast and apparently invincible quarterback who can simply take the ball and sweep either way or plow up the middle for big gains.
Center Ryan Kalil, a second-round draft pick in 2007, is the leader up front. The best run blocker is right guard Trai Turner, a third-round pick in 2014. Left guard Andrew Norwell was undrafted in 2014. And Oher was a first-round pick of the Ravens in 2009.
"Being physical is just who we are," said 243-pound fullback Mike Tolbert. "We're built around a freak of an athlete in Cam Newton. Myself and [running back] Jonathan Stewart are both 240-plus pounds. We run downhill. And our offensive line is built around monsters who like to play dirty."
Upon further review, perhaps Remmers is a lot more lucky than unlucky.