Pro Football Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff made a trip back home for a groundbreaking event in his honor.
The Erie, Pennsylvania, native, with the award for best receiver in college football already named after him, also has a high school football stadium bearing his name – which is set to undergo renovations following the ceremony which featured a speech from the receiver. Biletnikoff was a multi-sport sensation at what was then known as Technical Memorial High School (currently Erie High School), before committing to play football at Florida State University.
The Raiders legend picked up a shovel to participate in the groundbreaking, and expressed how honored he was with this latest achievement at 80 years old. He took the time to thank local Erie media, his family and friends, and the Raiders organization for supporting him and the school administration in making the new field come together.
"I'm so happy that the school board finally got this through, and they got some money to build a facility that's really going to help so many kids – young men and women – to make them feel like they're special, which they are special," said Biletnikoff. "Give them some place special to perform on. That's what I'm happy about.
"Being able to start at the old Tech High School, being up here at Tech Memorial when it first opened and being a part of sports history here. ... It means a lot to me. My name is on this field, but like we all want to do, we all really want to make a point in life. We got to create something for these young kids."
The stadium upgrades include installing a turf field, stadium seating, a concession stand and an eight-lane track, according to the city of Erie. Renovations are expected to be completed by Fall 2023.