In the Super Bowl Steve Nelson was a linebacker, but on Wednesday he was just back.
Back at Anoka High School, where he laid the foundation for his successful pro football career. Nelson returned to his alma mater bearing a golden football.
As the Super Bowl turns 50, the NFL is paying tribute to the high schools that produced those who made it to the big game. Altogether, the Super Bowl High School Honor Roll will honor more than 2,000 high schools, the league says.
On Wednesday, it was time for Nelson and Anoka to celebrate each other.
Nelson played in Super Bowl XX during a 14-year career with the New England Patriots that ultimately saw him enshrined in the team's Hall of Fame and his jersey number 57 retired.
Nelson graduated from Anoka in 1969 and was a two-time All American at North Dakota State University before heading to the Patriots.
KARE 11 reports he told supporters "It's great to be back at Anoka High School."
Nelson's jersey hangs in the weight room used by the Tornadoes football team, which won only three of their nine games this season. But team captain Dalton Miller tells KARE Nelson's visit provides some inspiration: " I mean we got an NFL player come from our school. It's pretty cool and big role model for me," Miller said.
There may be another golden football headed to Minnesota. In announcing its High School program, the NFL mentioned that those taking part would include Larry Fitzgerald, who went to school at the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield.
In the meantime, here are some highlights to bring those who are too young to remember Steve Nelson up to speed: