LUSBY, Md. - As the Super Bowl approaches, one Maryland native is looking to make a huge impact on the big game.
Carolina Panthers cornerback Robert McClain grew up in Lusby, Maryland and attended Patuxent High School. He will be the first player from the school to play in the Super Bowl.
He spent most of the season looking for a job in the NFL. He was eventually signed by the Panthers in December, and now, he is out in San Francisco with his teammates preparing for the showdown against the Denver Broncos.
For McClain, the road to the Super Bowl is paved with gratitude.
“He is definitely happy that this has happened to him,” said McClain’s father, Bob. “He doesn't take those accolades like I'm the first guy or whoever made it. He is really low-key about that and I’m happy he is humble.”
McClain’s season began in New England where he was cut in September by the Patriots. He then reconnected with the team that drafted him – the Carolina Panthers.
But it was playing for the Patuxent Panthers in high school that really got him on the path to the NFL.
“It's surreal really,” said Patuxent head coach Steve Crounse. “It is not something even coaches talk about because it doesn't really happen to anybody. For Robert to make that leap and be at the pinnacle of his profession and of all sports, it's just incredible. An incredible feeling.”
Imagine being a father and getting a chance to see your own son in the biggest game of the year. Bob McClain said this is a moment to share with everyone.
“I have a lot of co-workers that talk to me every day about it and I'm just happy that the attention is about this entire area and my son going to the Super Bowl,” he said.
It was a big year for the school. For the first time, Patuxent High School hoisted a football title of its own by winning the Maryland 2A championship.
All eyes on Sunday will be focused out west for a game in which McClain faces off against Peyton Manning. That coincidence is not lost on his father.
“His first career interception came against Manning on a Monday Night Football game – September 18, 2012 – the day after my daughter's birthday and we hope that we can get at least two or three more this coming Sunday,” said the proud father.
“If he gets an opportunity, the town of Lusby might catch on fire,” said Crounse. “If he gets an opportunity like that, we're all going to go crazy.”