MADERA, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A local sports icon gave a speech to the student body of a high school in Madera on Wednesday.

Lorenzo Neal spoke to a crowded gym inside Matilda Torres High School on topics including personal responsibility, the importance of leadership, and leaving a legacy in their school community.

“It’s just great to be able to help and empower people because it’s not about entitlement it’s about empowerment,” Neal said following speaking to the students.

As a Central Valley native, school leadership felt Neal’s message would resonate with the student body.

“We were looking to bring in a guest speaker that students could relate to, and also someone who could inspire our students to be the best versions of themselves on campus and in the community,” said Activities Director Bryan Speed. 

Neal was an All-American at Fresno State, and went on to have a 16-year NFL career with the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, the then-San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, and Oakland Raiders.

Over the span of his career, Neal was a 4-time Pro Bowl selection, and a 3-time All-Pro.