Former NFL Superbowl player returns to high school for special presentation


NFL Player Ray Crockett presents principal Carlos Meekins with a golden football from the NFL and lets him wear one of his Superbowl rings. (photo by: Cynthia Rangel)

As part of an NFL initiative to celebrate players who have played in the last 49 Super Bowls, Duncanville High School  received a commemorative golden football as they were inducted into the Super Bowl Honor Roll community for producing a player who won a Super Bowl. The honor comes as a result of Duncanville alumnus Ray Crockett’s Super Bowl wins with the Broncos in 1997  and 1998.

Crockett attended the award’s presentation where he was introduced by current head coach Reginald Samples.

“Ray’s NFL career spans over 14 years,” Samples said. “He’s known as one of the most physical cornerbacks in the NFL. Ray is also a big advocate in the community for charities. He owns several companies. He is a successful Duncanville graduate.”

Some of Crockett’s other honors include: an induction to the Baylor Hall of Fame, reception of the 1991 John Mackey award and three nominations for the Pro Bowl.  Crockett said he owes a lot of his success to his time in Duncanville’s Class of 1984.

“It was a real blessing to be at Duncanville,” Crockett said. “I met my high school sweetheart and my wife here. It also gave me the opportunity to get a great education. But before all of that, what Duncanville really gave me, was an opportunity. A better place to shine and a better place to be successful. And that’s all you can ask for.”

Crockett said that Duncanville gave him something even greater than that because it inspired his greatest aspiration, something he deems even more important than his success as an athlete.

“This is your opportunity to start a life to become successful,” Crockett said. “I know you guys think of success on many different levels. I say being a success is really being a positive citizen in society, and that’s what you should have aspirations to do. So, I want to thank Duncanville for giving me that opportunity.”

One coach was particularly instrumental in Crockett’s development as a player and as a person.

“[At Duncanville] I had a coach named Dan Gandy, and this coach really gave me the start of my thinking positive and thinking of being a success,” Crockett said. “He said, ‘If you don’t have a plan to be successful, and you don’t write a plan down to be successful, then ultimately, you have a plan to fail. You can’t get anywhere in life without a plan and without going through the steps of your plan.”

Crockett said it was this conversation that caused him to determine his aspirations in life.

“My plan was not to be a professional athlete,” Crockett said. “My plan was to get an education and to somehow become a successful citizen in society.”

Crockett said that he has learned that he cannot always control what the critics will say about him as an athlete. Naysayers said he was too short and too slow to make it to the NFL, but he brushed those comments off. He was instead to determine to make it known what kind of individual he was.

“I was going to make sure that they did not say I didn’t have a positive attitude,” Crockett said. “I was going to make sure that they could not say I didn’t respect authorities, or that I was un-coachable. I was going to make sure that they did not say I was not a leader.”

Crockett encouraged the students in the audience to set their own goals and begin preparing for their futures now by repeating the words of his former coach.

“This is the time to start thinking about what is your plan,” Crockett said. “Because remember, if you don’t have a plan to succeed, you ultimately have a plan to fail.”

Crockett provided the students with his own formula for success, but he also reminded them that success is not any set result.

“So if you control what you can control, work as hard you can on the things that you can control, and you keep God first, and you pray, God will take care of the things that you can’t control,” Crockett said. “That is the key. If you do those things, I can’t guarantee that you’ll be a profession or successful athlete, but I can guarantee you that you’ll definitely have success in life. You’ll be a successful citizen in society.”

Crockett knows that the chances of any of the audience members becoming professional athletes is slim, but he hopes that he inspired at least one of them to try, and that if they are successful, they remember that they owe part of that success to their high school.

“Making it to the NFL is kind of like winning the lotto,” Crockett said. “It’s a one-in-a-million [chance]. So if by the grace of God, that you are fortunate enough to win the ‘lotto’, like I did, and become a successful athlete, I pray that one day you will have the opportunity to come back and give your school one of these [golden footballs].”