Cincinnati Native and Former NFL Linebacker Set To Make History at Super Bowl 58

Terry Killens played in a Super Bowl in his fourth NFL season. On Sunday, he will work Super Bowl 58 in his fifth season as an official.

CINCINNATI — Former Tennessee Titans linebacker and Cincinnati native Terry Killens is set to make history Sunday at Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.

Killens will become the first person to have played and officiated in a Super Bowl.

A third-round pick of the Houston Oilers in 1996, Killens played eight seasons for the Oilers/Titans, 49ers, and Seahawks.

Terry Killens Will Be First To Play In, Officiate Super Bowl

In 1999, Killens helped lead the Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV, where they fell to the St. Louis Rams 23-16 when Tennessee wide receiver Kevin Dyson was tackled at the 1-yard line by Mike Jones on the final play of the game.

Twenty-four years after that game, Killens will be part of referee Bill Vinovich’s team calling Super Bowl 58 in Las Vegas.

“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Killens said in a press release from the Titans. “It’s basically a culmination of all the hard work and dedication I have put in. It is a reward, not only to me, but to my crew. And a big thank you to all the people who have helped me along the way, and given me opportunities.”

Killens worked his way through the college ranks before joining the NFL in the 2019 season as an umpire on Ron Torbert’s crew.

MORE: Bill Vinovich Set To Head Super Bowl Crew After Heart Condition in 2007 Led to His Retirement

During that first season, Killens had the opportunity to work a game in his hometown of Cincinnati when the Bengals played the New York Jets in what was head coach Zac Taylor’s first NFL victory.

Killens also worked the 2020 season opener in Cincinnati, which was quarterback Joe Burrow’s NFL debut. And, in 2022, he also got a chance to work the season opener in his hometown when the Bengals lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime.

This year, working with Vinovich’s crew for the first time, Killens called two games at Paycor Stadium — Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens and Week 14 against the Indianapolis Colts.

I interviewed Killens prior to working his first NFL game in 2019. He told a story about how he nearly joined the Bengals at the end of his career after they invited him in for a workout. He said he received great feedback from head coach Marvin Lewis and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.

“But there was a ‘but,’” Killens said. “Marvin told me, ‘We could actually get two rookies to do what you do and still save money.’ I asked him if that was kind of what was going on in the league at that time, and he said, ‘Yep.’

“Everything changed when Marvin gave me that news,” Killens continued. “I told him I appreciated his honesty and telling me that upfront. I had more workouts scheduled with other teams, but right at that point, I decided, ‘You know what? It’s probably a good time for me to step away from the game.’”

Sixteen years later, Killens was back in the NFL. On Sunday, he’ll be back in the Super Bowl.

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