MINNEAPOLIS — A Philadelphia fan favorite who didn't even suit up for Super Bowl LII was in the locker room euphoria on Sunday night, wearing an Eagles towel around his shoulders and a broad smile across his face.

Jon Dorenbos got to celebrate this Super Bowl victory after all.

Dorenbos, a long snapper who spent 11 years in Philadelphia before a trade to New Orleans and the subsequent physical revealed an aortic aneurysm that required immediate surgery, arrived in the Twin Cities on Friday afternoon at the invite of Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie. 

"Had I played, I'd die. If you can't play in it, this is the next best way to enjoy it," Dorenbos said. "Mr. Lurie called me and said he wants me to be a part of it, said I was here a long time, and he said 'We're going to win this, and you're going to get a ring.'"

Dorenbos had stayed away for most of the season. 

For months, he was under the influence of the medication he was given after surgery, and the recovery made it hard to pay attention to any NFL team.

Once he emerged, he saw the Eagles on a roll, but Dorenbos wanted to let this Philadelphia group have its own moment, and he declined any chances to speak.

Lurie wasn't about to let him get out of the Super Bowl. Dorenbos wasn't in the locker room, but Lurie made sure he still got a Super Bowl-worthy experience out of his trip to Minnesota. 

"I got to experience it from a fan perspective," Dorenbos said. "Jeff's like, hey, we've got this event, it's like 100, 150 people, just trust me, come, so we went. Next thing I know, there's Sheryl Crow."

Then Dorenbos got to celebrate with longtime teammates like former LSU punter Donnie Jones, a close friend for more than a decade who was happy to see his friend get a chance to enjoy the spoils of all his work. 

Dorenbos and Jones had already talked about the long snapper's bad luck last week. He hooked on with the Eagles a year after their last Super Bowl and was traded at the start of this one.

"He's been through so much," Jones said. "To have him here to celebrate with us, it's special."

Dorenbos obviously would have liked to have played in Super Bowl 52, an exhilarating 41-33 win over the New England Patriots for Philly's first NFL title since 1960. 

But he has no regrets about the trade. The deal, thanks to a Saints doctor, saved his life, and he's plenty excited about the way things worked out in the end.

"My fate was what it was," Dorenbos said. "I'm just happy to be around guys I played with for so long."

Follow Joel A. Erickson on Twitter, @JoelAErickson.

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