Stephen Neal, the Patriots’ former right guard who retired a little more than a year ago, will be honored this weekend – though not for his play on the football field.
The former wrestling champion is one of four men being inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Oklahoma during ceremonies Friday and Saturday.
Prior to signing with the Patriots in 2001 as an undrafted free agent who hadn’t played football in college, the 6-foot-4 Neal was a two-time NCAA wrestling champion at Cal-Bakersfield and was a four-time All-American.
In 1999, he won the US Freestyle, Pan-American games and World Championship in his weight class, earning him recognition from the sport’s governing body as the best wrestler in the world that year.
Neal played in 86 games with 81 starts for New England.