PASS CHRISTIAN-- Gene Lang returned to Pass Christian High Wednesday to rededicate his high school jersey and the helmet he wore in Super Bowl XXI.
Members of Pass High's current football team, coaches, teachers, school board members, family members and former teammates were on hand to celebrate Lang's return.
"When they told me this was going to happen, it brought a little tear to my eye," said Lang. "When you get older, you think about what legacy you're going to leave. For them to do this for me, so that I will always be remembered here at Pass High, is just a great honor."
Lang ran for more than 2,000 yards during his junior season at Pass High. Injuries limited his senior season, but Lang still signed with LSU. He earned All SEC honors as a freshman.
Lang played seven NFL seasons, four for the Denver Broncos (1984-87) and three with the Atlanta Falcons (1988-90). He scored 20 touchdowns during his career - 11 rushing and nine receiving. Denver lost to Washington in the Super Bowl after the 1987 season.
"Reaching the Super Bowl is the highlight of my career," Lang said. "We went to two consecutive Super Bowls. That feeling of the whole world watching you is the climax. It didn't end well for us, we got beat down. "Doug Williams got my Super Bowl ring," he joked. "I know Doug. Doug's a gracious guy. It was a sad thing for us."
Lang challenged Pass High's current football team to reach greatness.
"There have been a lot of great athletes who came from here - before me," Lang said. "A lot of people don't know that."
Michael Hall, who played tight end with Lang at Pass Christian, appreciated his former teammate.
"We found out early that we had a player like Gene," Hall said. "He was a superior talent and he had a genuine personality that everybody could relate to. One tackler couldn't bring him down. All he needed was a little space and he was gone for 70 or 80 yards."
Pass Christian football coach Casey Wittman admired Lang overcoming adversity, including a move from tailback to fullback after his freshman season at LSU.
"He didn't let that stop him," Wittman said. "He still made it to the pros and did well."
Lang lives in Denver, Colorado and owns a mortgage lending business.
"I've always tried to keep my nose clean and do the right thing," said Lang. "I've tried to be a good role model for the kids coming up."