LANNIE SEYMOUR, my football coach at Sherwood High in Sandy Spring, Md., was always giving me advice. I'd be walking down a hallway, and he'd stroll past just to say something profound. He had one phrase that still sticks with me today: 'Don't let Mary Schoolhouse get you in trouble.' I didn't know what that one meant for a long time, but it hit me one day while I was at Penn State. I suddenly realized he was warning me that chasing girls could keep me from taking care of my business.
Coach Seymour made me realize I could be somebody, even though there weren't many successful people coming out of my neighborhood. He even talked me out of transferring from Sherwood after my sophomore year. I wanted to go to a different school because nobody else had succeeded there, so I didn't expect to be any different. Coach came to my house and told me, 'It's not where you go; it's what you do that matters.' I decided to stay at Sherwood, and it was the right move. I was an All-America as a senior. Then I went to Penn State and was drafted in the sixth round by the Jets in 1993. Looking back on my career has made me realize that the most important moment in my life was the day Coach Seymour walked into it.