Hometown heroes: Former coach, teammate talk Ray Lewis & Albert McClellan | News
LAKELAND, Florida - As the Baltimore Ravens celebrate their victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, a former coach and teammate remember two players' time in Lakeland.
Both men attended Kathleen High School during separate years, Ray Lewis during the 1990s and Albert McClellan during the mid 2000s.
"You've got Ray. I had the great pleasure of being his high school coach the first year he was in high school," said Gary Lineberger, now athletic director at Kathleen High School.
Lewis was also remembered fondly by former teammate Irving Strickland, who is now the head football coach at the alma mater.
"It was just something about him, his energy and enthusiasm, running around on the field and just being in the right place at the right time," said Strickland.
Strickland said that even back then it was evident Lewis would one day make it to the pros.
"As the season went on, you could tell his will to make everybody else around him better."
Strickland returned to Kathleen's athletic department, and also encountered another future Super Bowl winner, Albert McClellan.
"I remember when his mom died ... and that was his biggest inspiration. And to see him just become even more focused and more determined to be successful brings tears to your eyes."
Former coach Gary Lineberger believes that as Lewis retires from the game after 17 years on Super Bowl night, McClellan will pick up where he left off because the duo display the same qualities.
"Albert's got the drive and the energy and the passion to stay there."
The Baltimore Ravens topped the San Francisco 49ers 34-31.