Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

January 31, 2008

Super dream

NFL fame rekindled for Gravely

ATHENS — The memories of 17 years ago have come flooding back for Tracy Gravely, and sometimes it still seems like it was all a dream.

The reality is, the native of the McDowell hamlet of Kimball made it to the Super Bowl as a rookie with the New York Giants.

That similarity with current Giant Ahmad Bradshaw has brought the media to his door on the eve of Super Bowl XLII, and rekindled memories.

“Sometimes they say it’s 15 minutes of fame, and then you’re forgotten,” Gravely said on Tuesday in the football office at Concord University, where he’s the defensive backs coach. “Not that I think that I’m totally forgotten, but I need to thank Ahmad for giving me 15 more minutes of fame, for real.”

The two took different paths to their pro football destinies. As a Concord College defensive back, Gravely was defensive player of the year in the West Virginia Conference in 1989.

He arrived at the Giants’ camp in 1990 as an undrafted free agent, and was on the playing roster until the final cut before the regular season. He spent the year on the practice squad. That season, he said, “I did everything that everybody else did.”

Everything, that is, except suiting up for games — including Super Bowl XXV on January 27, 1991.

He traveled with the team, and observed the excesses of Super Bowl week. “It was a circus — just so many people, and so much going on that week,” he said.

He remembered the advice of his coaches and veteran teammates. “Just don’t do anything to embarrass yourself or your family and the team,” he said he was told. “No matter where you are, or where you go, that’s the thing. Don’t do anything to embarrass anyone you love.”

In fact, to this day he is quick to credit his father and mother for his upbringing that saw him through his many growing experiences.

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