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Friday, March 04, 2011

World wrestling champion Stephen Neal retires from pro football after 10 seasons with Patriots



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

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