April 29, 2009 Edition

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NFL's Terrence Metcalf visits
Walnut Ridge High School

Larry Treadway, WRHS head football coach and athletic director, presents a Bobcat football jersey to Terrence Metcalf. Bobcat team members signed the jersey.
John Bland

Walnut Ridge High School athletes had a special guest April 15, when they were visited by veteran offensive guard Terrence Metcalf, who has played seven seasons in the National Football League with the Chicago Bears. Metcalf, who is a Mississippi native, stressed to the student athletes to start developing good habits while in high school.

By good habits, Metcalf meant developing good study habits, while not developing the bad habits of drinking, smoking and clubbing. "If you develop those bad habits, they're going to stick with you."

His wife, Tonya, accompanied him to Walnut Ridge. He and his wife have a son and three daughters. They have been spending half of the year in Mississippi and the other half in Chicago.

Matt Morse, a WRHS graduate, accompanied the Metcalfs to WRHS. Morse is a friend of the Metcalfs.

While on campus, Metcalf spoke to the students, signed autographs and had photos made with the WRHS athletes. He also demonstrated his weightlifting abilities at the bench press, and Coach Larry Treadway presented him with a Bobcat football jersey autographed by members of the team.

"The Lord is first in my life," Metcalf said to the students. It is also important to take care of your family and team, he added.

"Without my grades, I wouldn't have been able to play football," he said. "Your grades are the number one thing right now. If you don't know how to study you'll be the first one gone in the NFL." Metcalf explained that an NFL player spends as much or more time in the classroom as on the playing field. "Classroom work is the main thing in NFL ... NFL is a business. Any professional sport is a business."

"Your smarts counts, your attitude counts and your character is what follows you," he said. "You have to learn how to function and get along with people."

"Student athletes are the top dogs," Metcalf told the students. "Everybody's watching you."

Metcalf said that he first started lifting weights in the ninth grade and then went out for football because of a cousin. "It turned out this football thing was something I could really do," he said. "Football was a hobby; it helped me cope with school. In turn, it made me a better student."

From Clarksdale, Miss., Metcalf went on to play football for four years at Ole Miss. He was drafted in the NFL in the third round.

After seven seasons with the Chicago Bears, Metcalf is now a free agent.

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