Former great was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999. On Thursday, he was honored as a “Hometown Hall of Famer™” at his alma mater Colbert County High School in Leighton, Ala. The tribute, presented by the Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company, took place in front of a crowd of more than 500 students, faculty, former teammates and family.
Inside the packed gymnasium, Newsome was welcomed by a performance from the high school band and cheerleading squad. Allstate representative Ken Needham addressed the crowd and shared Allstate’s excitement to continue its partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the “Hometown Hall of Famers™” program. Following Needham’s speech, George Veras, president and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises warmly recognized Colbert County High School as an extension of Canton, Ohio, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Newsome was introduced by Assistant Principal Lee Craft who spoke about Newsome’s outstanding career accomplishments both on and off the field. As Newsome took the stage, he spoke directly to the students about the importance of a fruitful and comprehensive education in high school and college. He attributed his lifelong success to his family and his own education at Colbert and University of Alabama.
"I held 15 records when I retired from the NFL and 13 have been broken since. You can always lose those. But the one thing that you can do for yourself and your life that no one can take away from you is getting your education" said Newsome "No one can ever take away from me my Colbert County High School diploma or my University of Alabama diploma."
Newsome was a three-sport star in football, baseball and basketball, at Colbert County High School. He won high school All-America honors in football and basketball. In 1972, Newsome led the Colbert Indians football team, as a wide receiver and defensive back, to a 13-0 season and a 3A state title.
Newsome went on to star as a wide receiver for the University of Alabama under legendary college coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Newsome started in 48 consecutive games and led his team to a 42-6 record and three SEC championships.
Selected by the in the first round of the 1978 NFL Draft, Newsome became the first rookie in 25 years to be named the Browns’ Offensive Player of the Year. A longtime Browns offensive captain, Newsome played in 198 consecutive games and led the Browns to three AFC championship games. Considered by many as one of the greatest tight ends of all time, his 662 receptions for 7,980 yards and 47 touchdowns stood as NFL records until 2001. Throughout his career, he was voted into three Pro Bowls and named first- or second-team All-Pro seven times.
In 2002, Newsome made history when he was named the general manager of the as he became the first African American general manager
in NFL history. Today, he serves as the club’s general manager & executive vice president.
Newsome is the final “Hometown Hall of Famer™” plaque recipient for the spring of 2012. The program will continue in the fall with as many as 30 Hall of Famers including Raymond Berry, Eric Dickerson, Dan Dierdorf, and Alan Page, among many others.
Hometown Hall of Famer™ program>>>
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