Friday, March 04, 2011
By Assorted Sources
March 2, 2011
The New England Patriots have announced that offensive guard Stephen Neal has retired from professional football.
Neal was a 1999 World champion in freestyle wrestling for the United States, and a 1999 Pan American Games champion. He was also a U.S. Nationals champion and a runner-up at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. In college, he was a two-time NCAA Division I national champion and four-time All-American for Cal-State Bakersfield, winning titles in 1998 and 1999. He won the 1999 Dan Hodge Trophy as the nation’s top collegiate wrestler. Neal also finished second at the 1997 NCAA Division I Championships and fourth at the 1996 NCAA Division I Championships.
Neal did not play football in college.
He has remained active in wrestling, helping lead the effort to raise funds to save the wrestling program at his alma-mater Cal-State Bakersfield last year. He served as honorary captain at the Big Ten vs. Big 12 dual meet at the 2010 NCAA Wrestling Championships. He also helped coach Cal-State Bakersfield wrestlers during the off-season from football