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Thursday, March 3, 2011
Neal reflects on top memories

By Mike Reiss

Offensive lineman Stephen Neal, who announced his retirement Wednesday, held a conference call with reporters today. Neal was asked what he views as the top memories of his career, and he picked two.

"In 2002, the first game I started, against Green Bay, I get into the huddle. I feel like I'm a pretty good judge of people and I saw Tom Brady, the returning Super Bowl MVP, and the confidence that he was showing to everyone in the huddle. I'm thinking 'Why does he believe in me? I'm just some wrestler.' The confidence he showed in me, I think that shows the leadership qualities he possesses. That moment made me feel, 'This is really happening. It's the start of something really cool.'"

"Then in [the 2004 season], winning the Super Bowl over Philly. That's something I'll never forget, playing in the Super Bowl. Winning a championship by yourself is great, but winning with your teammates, coaches, the training staff, it's even better. We all had the same feeling."

Neal, who resides in Calfornia, explained that his retirement was a result of his injured shoulder. He was told that if it was injured again, the "next step would be extreme."

One of Neal's hopes in retirement is to help the sport of wrestling.

"I have so much passion for it, I don't want to see [the sport] die," he said, adding that he wants to see it change people's lives like it did for him.