Super Bowl champ Neal promotes wrestling at Gable outing - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Super Bowl champ Neal promotes wrestling at Gable outing

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For Steven Neal promoting the sport of wrestling is a big deal.

“This community cares about the sport because it means so much,” Neal said Friday, when he was honored as the featured celebrity at the annual Dan Gable Golf Tournament at Waverly's Prairie Links Country Club.

Neal won two national wrestling titles at Cal State-Bakersfield in the late 1990's. That ultimately catapulted him to the NFL where he won three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots, despite the fact he never played college football.

“I went to a wrestling camp and Matt Ghaffari who was a Greco Roman competitor, he said 'Hey, are you serious about playing football? I know an agent,'” Neal recalled, “So, we drove to Cleveland from Edinboro, Pennsylvania, to meet this agent who was Belichick's agent. He made a phone call, I worked out, and the next thing I know, I'm playing for the Patriots for 10 years.”

The leap came as no surprise to Dan Gable, who in 1999 coached Neal to a Wrestling World Championship in Turkey.

“In the last minute he scored, then he scored again (to win the final),” said Gable, “He was tough enough to do that. It doesn't surprise me that he could go in to another sport and do well because of his wrestling training.”

That training is something Neal said he'd like to see for others. The benefits from Friday's tournament benefit area youth wrestling programs,which Neal believes is sorely needed .

“The way America's going, it seems everyone gets a trophy, no one learns how to work hard,” he said, “You work hard, you get what you get, and if it's not good enough, you go back and you work harder. I think that's one of the things the sport of wrestling brings, and I think it's pretty cool.

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