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Dwight Freeney preps for Super Bowl, 10 years after beating Bears

Dwight Freeney will play in his third Super Bowl on Sunday. (Getty Images)

HOUSTON — Every Bears starter from their Super Bowl XLI appearance — except for kicker Robbie Gould — has since retired.

One of the Colts’ starters will play Sunday: Falcons defensive end Dwight Freeney, who turns 37 two weeks after the Super Bowl.

His Colts beat the Bears in 2007 and lost to the Saints three years later.

‘‘The first one’s always the special one,” said Freeney, who didn’t practice because he was monitoring a calf injury Thursday.

“It was like, ‘All right, we’re in the Super Bowl, we finally beat the Patriots, thank God,’ ’’ he said. “We felt like we were unstoppable at that point. Once we beat them, it was like, ‘We don’t care who we face.’

“Then we got the Bears. We didn’t care. We’re like, ‘Look, man, good luck trying to stop us because we finally got that gorilla off our back.’ ”

And the Bears didn’t stop them. They lost 29-17 despite Devin Hester’s game-opening kickoff return for a touchdown.