TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t the only ones playing a home Super Bowl.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver/kick returner Byron Pringle is also coming home.
“Obviously you saw the 102-yard kickoff return which was real special this year,” Pringle’s high school coach Mike DePue said. “I was bouncing off the walls.”
Pringle got his start at Robinson High School under DePue and receivers coach Craig Everhart.
“My first day that he showed up at practice, Coach DePue pulled me aside and told me you’re all of a sudden going to be the best receivers coach in the county just because he showed up,” Everhart said.
“By (Pringle’s) senior year he was really entrenched as a big D-1 guy,” DePue said. “He ended up going to a JUCO then to Kansas State. He was a steal as far as I am concerned for Kansas State.
Since leaving Robinson High School after his senior season in 2011, Pringle is playing in his second straight Super Bowl. But he’s not forgotten his Tampa roots.
“He came back my first year as a head coach, came in and talked to the kids,” Everhart said. “He’s been good about that. Whenever he’s around the neighborhood he shows up. Pops in and out.”
“The big thing with Byron, he’s humble. You look at his ‘Spacebook’ page, he doesn’t go out there and talk trash,” DePue said. “We told him early on, you score a touchdown act like you’ve been there before.”
Now fans have to make a difficult choice: pull for the hometown Buccaneers or pull for the hometown kid who grew up on this field just seven miles away from Raymond James Stadium.
“I’ve been a Bucs guy for a long time,” DePue, also a longtime season-ticket holder, said. “I got to root for the Bucs. I just hope Byron scores a touchdown, has a kickoff return. I hope he has a special day in front of his family and friends.”
“We’d like to see him do well, but we’re still rooting for Tampa Bay,” Everhart said. “We’re rooting for Byron as well for sure.”