In Seattle, Byron Maxwell was the quiet one, overshadowed during the Seahawks’ Super Bowl runs by the always quotable Richard Sherman and the always unquotable Marshawn Lynch.
So it took some by surprise when Maxwell, recently signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, reportedly “guaranteed” that the Eagles would make the Super Bowl this season.
Had Maxwell, perhaps the least likely of Fort Dorchester High School’s trio of NFL stars, gone Ocho Cinco on us?
“No, that’s just confidence in my team,” Maxwell said Saturday morning at his old school as more than 300 kids took part in a football camp sponsored by Maxwell and fellow Fort Dorchester products Carlos Dunlap of the Cincinnati Bengals and Robert Quinn of the St. Louis Rams. “Every team has to start that way, believing they can get to the Super Bowl. We’ve got a great organization, leadership and a team, so we can definitely do it.”
Fort Dorchester’s three NFL stars make it a habit to give back to their community and school, all of them returning each year for the camp first begun by Dunlap. In recent years, the three have signed contracts totaling $168.5 million, including the six-year, $63 million deal that Maxwell signed as a free agent cornerback with the Eagles in March.
But it’s not money or fame or even last season’s Sports Illustrated cover that makes Maxwell the envy of his Patriot peers Dunlap and Quinn. It’s the Super Bowl ring he earned in 2014, backed up by another trip to the Super Bowl last season.
“Absolutely,” Dunlap said when asked if he’s envious of Maxwell’s ring. “Byron was the first one of us to get one, and you know that’s on me and Robert’s bucket list of things to do, and goals that we have. For him to get it first, I’m happy for him, but now I have to go get one, because we compete with each other.
“We’ve got to all get one so that when we do the fist bump, we’ve all got rings in the middle.”
Of course, Maxwell might have two rings if not for the baffling play call at the end of the Super Bowl XLIX last February. Like the rest of the nation, Maxwell expected Lynch to get the ball on the goal line at the game’s end; instead, Seattle coaches called for a pass by quarterback Russell Wilson. It was intercepted by Malcolm Butler, preserving New England’s 28-24 win.
“I don’t know, bro, I don’t think I’m over it yet,” Maxwell said. “It will take some time. I just remember being shocked, just like everybody was. The whole world saw it. You obviously expected Lynch to get the ball, and you know what he would have done with it.”
Despite his success in Seattle, Maxwell said it could get a bit lonely on the West Coast. The move to Philadelphia should make it much easier for friends and family to come see him play.
“Being out there in Seattle, you do get lonely without your family to support you,” he said. “That love and support, it’s going to be big for me now.”
As the crowd of kids and parents at Saturday’s camp showed, there’s no lack of love and support for Fort Dorchester’s big three when they come home.
“I ordered 300 T-shirts, and I ran out,” said Dunlap. “I’ve never ordered that many before. I’ll have to remember that for next year.”
Said Quinn, “This is the dirt we grew up in, where we got our careers started. Every time I come back here, the memories start flashing back — good, bad, ugly, pretty. Those are the memories that made us who we are today, and we can’t ever forget that.”