ROCKINGHAM — Thanks to the Philadelphia Eagles’ win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII four months ago, Richmond Senior High School recently added some new hardware to its trophy case.
A golden football came in last week that reads — below the school’s name and location — “Dannell Ellerbe. Part of Super Bowl History. XLVII • LII” in recognition of Ellerbe’s contribution to Philadelphia’s first-ever championship.
Ellerbe, a native of Richmond County and former standout on the football field for the Raiders, signed with the Eagles back on November 12, 2017 and started at middle linebacker in February’s title game.
“There are trophies already up there, but this one is huge because (the Super Bowl) just happened. This makes it real for the kids in our program right now,” said Bryan Till, Richmond’s head football coach. “You just don’t see that very often.”
Three years ago, the NFL launched its Super Bowl High School Honor Roll initiative that provides schools across the nation with “a commemorative Wilson Golden Football for every player or head coach who graduated from their school and was on an active Super Bowl roster,” according to NFL.com.
It was the fifth golden football Richmond received and the second with Ellerbe’s name on it.
Ellerbe also won Super Bowl XLVII as a member of the Baltimore Ravens, becoming only the second Richmond alumni to win two Super Bowl championships; the other being former New York Giant Perry Williams (Super Bowl XXI, XXV).
Both of Williams’ victories are labeled on one of the other four golden balls, Ellerbe has one with just the Ravens’ win, county native Louis Breeden’s trip to Super Bowl XVI with the Cincinnati Bengals is etched into another, and Tony Horne has one dedicated to him in honor of his triumph in Super Bowl XXIV with the St. Louis Rams.
Hamlet native Oscar Sturgis was a member of the Dallas Cowboys when they escaped Super Bowl XXX but was marked inactive during the playoffs, therefore keeping the school from receiving a golden ball with is name on it.
“It’s not just the tradition of producing great athletes, but it’s the tradition of (the athletes) continuing to compete at a high level,” Till added. “These guys are actually winning Super Bowls.”
It also helps, Till says, that guys like Ellerbe and Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram — who also played at Richmond — continue to come back and show their faces to the community.
Ingram is having his fifth annual Family Fun Day at Hamlet Memorial Park next Saturday, June 9. Ellerbe will be hosting his seventh annual football camp next month, July 19, on the school’s practice football fields. Both events are free.
Ellerbe was also the grand marshal for last fall’s Homecoming parade.
“The fact that those guys want to come back to this community and give back to these guys is huge,” Till said. “It wouldn’t be as tangible for these kids if those guys weren’t willing to come back and be in their lives. It’s just a blessing.”
As the Richmond football team prepares for the upcoming summer months — which includes workouts, practices, camps, 7-on-7s and more — Till hopes the reminder of Ellerbe’s recent Super Bowl can add a little more fuel to his players’ fire.
“You hope these guys are already pretty motivated, but hopefully it’s just one more thing that builds momentum,” Till said. “We’ve had a great spring, we received the golden football, Melvin’s (Fun Day) is about to happen and then Dannell’s (camp) … so you just want that momentum to continue.”
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at [email protected] For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.