Hello everybody! I strongly believe that Sean Locklear, who is near 6 feet 4 inches and around 310lb, is first LUMBEE Tribe person ever to play in Super Bowl this Sunday... I think Seattle Seahawk will win over Pittsburg Steeler by between 3 to 7 points because both teams are good teams... Therefore, it will have an exciting game and we wish Sean Locklear and his team, Seattle Seahawk have a good hap this Sunday! :-? :-) ;-} Roosevelt D. Odom, Jr.
LUMBERTON — Sean Locklear had a big head long before he made it big in the National Football League. In the seventh grade, no helmets would fit him at Magnolia School. From those humble beginnings, Locklear began a career that by late Sunday could put him at the pinnacle of the professional football world. (Read More)
|Sean Locklear earned his nickname ‘Cornbread’ from former Lumberton Junior High School assistant coach Billy Taylor, who noticed Locklear slowing down at practice one day.|
LUMBERTON — Sean Locklear had a big head long before he made it big in the National Football League.
That’s not a big head, as in conceited. But Locklear was so large as a seventh-grade football player in 1993 that none of the helmets at Magnolia School fit him.
“I didn’t think we’d ever get him to practice because we couldn’t put any of the helmets on his head,’’ said Jeff Fipps, Magnolia’s head coach at the time. “None of the middle school helmets fit him. We had a sporting goods store send us three or four helmets, but none of those fit him, either. We finally found an old helmet they had used when Littlefield was a high school. We painted it and he used it for two years at Magnolia.
“They had the same problem when he went to the (Lumberton) junior high, so I had to run over to Magnolia and borrow that helmet again.’’
From those humble beginnings, Locklear began a career that by late Sunday could put him at the pinnacle of the professional football world.
Locklear is in his second season with the Seattle Seahawks, who will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL at Detroit’s Ford Field. The 24-year-old will start at right tackle, a spot he’s occupied since Floyd “Porkchop” Womack suffered an arm injury during training camp.
Many will be watching the Super Bowl telecast with special interest in and around Lumberton, where Locklear grew up.
The Locklear family — mother Effie and younger brother Ian — lived simply in the Saddletree community just northwest of Lumberton. Saddletree is one of the oldest Lumbee Indian communities in Robeson County.
Sean Locklear has since moved his mother into a new home in the Raft Swamp community.
“Sean didn’t come from much,’’ Fipps said. “The family lived in a 12-by-55 double-wide trailer, but they were good people. Both Ian and Sean were mamma’s boys, and mamma ran a tight ship.’’
Effie Locklear was en route to Detroit on Thursday along with Ian and other family members and couldn’t be reached for comment.
But Fipps and others who crossed paths with Sean Locklear over the years remember the positive influence Effie had on her sons.
“If they got out of line, she put a thumb on them,’’ Fipps said. “She wanted them to have as much as they could have, and she did all she could to ensure they had it. She was determined they were going to get an education.’’
“She’s no joke,’’ said Sharon Hunt, a family friend. “She sacrificed and worked very hard to give those boys what they needed. She was a single mom and I guess she was determined they were going to better themselves by getting a good education.’’
Mom takes charge
Locklear’s aunt, Dr. Josephine Locklear, said her sister would keep the boys in line by any means necessary.
“Sean is big and tall, but his mom is big also,’’ Dr. Locklear said. “She told me when he was in high school, if he started messing around, she’d use that broom handle on him to let him know, ‘Are you focused again now?’ She didn’t put up with any nonsense.’’
The discipline established by his mother kept Sean on a quiet path to success.
He left Magnolia for Lumberton Junior High in 1995, where he acquired the nickname that has stuck with him since.
Bill Taylor, who was then an assistant coach for the Lumberton Junior High team, noticed Locklear slowing down during wind sprints at the end of practice.
“Bill said something in the context of, ‘You need to go home and get some cornbread and biscuits so you’ll have some energy,’’’ Fipps said. “From then on, everyone started calling him ‘Cornbread.’ I think they even call him that out there in Seattle now.’’
Locklear was in much better shape three years later when then-Lumberton Senior High coach Knocky Thorndyke decided it was time for a change.
Three games into his senior year, Locklear was moved from the offensive line to tight end by Thorndyke. It would be the first in a long line of position changes for Locklear during his football career.
“He was in great shape, especially for a big kid,’’ Thorndyke said. “And he had great hands. He really helped us when we moved him, and I think it helped prepare him for what he’d face in the future.’’
Locklear would eventually change positions twice more after making the N.C. State team as a walk-on. He started out as a defensive lineman, moved to offensive guard and then tackle for the Wolfpack.
Making it big time
Although Locklear showed great promise at Lumberton, Thorndyke said he never expected to see his former pupil playing in the Super Bowl.
“Never in a million years,’’ Thorndyke said. “But one thing I always remember about Sean, when you told him something, he remembered it. He had a real good football sense.’’
Dr. Locklear said she’ll gather with family members Sunday to watch her nephew in the Super Bowl.
“We’ll get home early from church and get around the television,’’ she Locklear said. “We just hope Sean plays well and the Seahawks win it.’’
Hunt, who is a member of the Lumbee Tribal Council, said she plans to propose some way to honor Locklear through that organization. She also hopes the city of Lumberton will figure out an appropriate way to show its support for Locklear.
“I hope the city will be able to do something, and I’d like to think the tribe will also,’’ Hunt said. “I don’t know (if) they (city) will. I’m just speaking about what I’d like to see. But I am a member of the tribal council, so I’ll push for that.
“We should all be proud of what Sean has accomplished.’’
Staff writer Sammy Batten can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 486-3534.
"History is a lie agreed upon" Napoleon Bonaparte