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UA, Dolphins standout to speak at FDA

A former player for the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant and Miami Dolphins defensive back will be speaking to the students of Fort Dale Academy.

Atmore native Don McNeal is slated to speak at FDA at 10:15 a.m., Wednesday, March 3.

McNeal, a football standout at his high school alma mater, Escambia County High School, played cornerback on two National Championship teams in 1978 and 1979 at UA, where he received All-American Honors and was named to the All-American Strength Team. In 1992, he was named to the University of Alabama All-Centennial Team.

A first-round draft pick in 1980 by the Miami Dolphins, McNeal played in two Super Bowls with the team and was named Player of the Year in 1982 and 1984. Retiring in 1989 after 10 years with the Dolphins, he was named to the Dolphins’ 25th Silver Anniversary Team in 1996. In May 2008, he was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. McNeal was also involved in one of the most famous plays in the history of professional football during Super Bowl XVII, when McNeal was unable to bring down Washington Redskins’ running back John Riggins, who ran 43 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

Today, McNeal and his wife Rhonda live in Coral Gables, Fla., where his community involvement is extensive. He has served as a drug rehabilitation counselor, a coach lay pastor, board member, and is a frequent public speaker for several causes. The pastor of New Testament Baptist Church in south Florida, McNeal is also a speaker for Power Talent. He penned details of his life story in his autobiography “Home Team Advantage: From the Fields of Rural Alabama to the Pro Football Fields of the Miami Dolphins.”