Rams' Puka Nacua is super excited to be at Super Bowl but can he win rookie award?



As he navigated the sprawling aisles of audio and video setups in the Super Bowl media center’s Radio Row, Puka Nacua moved as if he was exploring a new pass route for the Rams.

Nacua, a finalist for NFL’s rookie offensive player of the year award, spent much of Wednesday doing interviews, making promotional appearances and participating in a panel discussion about football and player tracking and Next Gen stats.

“It’s been crazy,” Nacua said, grinning. “I just met Cam Newton over there. It’s been super cool to meet these people.

“I guess with the season being over, like people are aware, I guess, of who I am. But I still want my moment to be a fan to them, like ‘Hey, I need to introduce myself to you.’”

Nacua, a fifth-round draft pick, raised his profile with a record-setting season. He caught 105 passes for 1,486 yards and six touchdowns for a Rams team that defied expectations by finishing 10-7 and earning a playoff berth.

Nacua has been on the go since the Rams suffered a 24-23 season-ending defeat to the Detroit Lions.

Last week, he participated in the Pro Bowl games in Florida.

“It was blast to be out there with all those guys, everybody being the best of the best,” Nacua said. “I haven’t been doing too much working out since the end of our season, so it was nice to get some movement. Like, ‘OK, I still remember how to play football. I can remember how to catch a ball.’

“It was super fun and it felt like a vacation as well.”

On Thursday night, Nacua will attend NFL Honors. The program will include the announcement of the Hall of Fame class, the most valuable player and other awards.

Nacua, Houston quarterback C.J. Stroud, Atlanta running back Bijan Robinson, Detroit tight end Sam LaPorta and Detroit running back Jahmyr Gibbs are finalists for offensive rookie of the year.

Rams nose tackle Kobie Turner, Houston lineman Will Anderson, Philadelphia tackle Jalen Carter, Pittsburgh cornerback Joey Porter Jr. and Seattle cornerback Devon Witherspoon are finalists for defensive rookie of the year.

“I know C.J., so we’re super close,” Nacua said. “So it will be super cool to be a part of those rookies. … I got to know every single one at the Pro Bowl. It’s crazy for all of us to have such great rookie years.

“I’ll be excited for whoever wins.”

Nacua said he would like to return to the Super Bowl, but as a player in the game.

“I’m imagining that very strongly this week,” he said. “That would be more than anything.”



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