NATCHITOCHES – Marcus Spears waited more than a quarter of a century for his Northwestern No.76 football to retire.
After the COVID-19 pandemic forced the double All-American to stretch that time a bit more, Spears will have his moment in the sun on October 23 when the Demons host Southeastern at the annual NSU homecoming game. That date is just over a year after the original date of October 17, 2020, when NSU hoped to honor Spears.
Northwestern State Athletics Director Greg burke informed Spears of his impending number retirement in June 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic shut down NSU athletics until November 2020, and Spears was given the option to hold his ceremony during the football season of six-game spring, but chose to wait until the fall.
Spears’ issue is the second retreat under the new NSU Sports Department policy, which has incorporated contributions from various sources to compile a list of criteria for the honor. He joins former big baseball Demon Danny Bob Turner in that group, and Spears 76 now sits alongside Bobby Hebert’s 12, Gary Reasons’ 34, Al Dodd 41, Joe Delaney’s 44, and Jackie Smith’s 80 in as retired NSU football numbers.
“It was so amazing and surreal that Northwestern took my number down, and I still can’t believe it,” Spears said. “There have been five shirts taken out and being next is something I can’t really explain.”
A 6-foot-4, 320-pound Baton Rouge player, Spears won All-American honors in 1992 and 1993, becoming the second FCS-level player to make the Football Writers Association All-American team. with his selection in 1993. He was one of 10 semi-finalists for the Outland Trophy, awarded to the country’s best lineman, and would be the only FCS player to win this honor.
Selected three times by the All-Southland Conference and winner of the All-Louisiana, Spears was drafted in the second round (39e overall) by the Chicago Bears. He spent three seasons with Chicago before playing most of his career for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1997 to 2003. Spears concluded his NFL career with a one-season hiatus in Houston in 2004.
Inducted into the N-Club Hall of Fame in 2011, Spears has remained close to Northwestern State since the end of his career.
“This penultimate recognition of Marcus’ career with the NSU is fitting as he was one of the largest and most skilled offensive linemen to ever play at the FCS level,” said Burke, who recalled that Spears was in Auburn Hills, Michigan in 2006 for the NSU opener. – Iowa’s utter upheaval in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament as an example of the pride he always had in his alma mater.
“The caliber of his game in the trenches as a college kid was further exemplified by his long tenure in the NFL. He played passionately and lived his life the same. We all at NSU are grateful for his’ passion. demonic “immortal. and congratulate him on this well-deserved honor.”
Spears made several trips from Houston to Natchitoches in the fall of 2020, partnering with the Central Louisiana Food Bank to provide food to those affected by Hurricanes Laura and Delta. Spears’ initial gift helped 322 families in central Louisiana.
“It was an amazing experience, not just for me,” said Spears. “We were able to show the young athletes on campus that we have a responsibility to serve the community and to come back and do our part. We have helped a lot of people and I am glad I had the opportunity to do so. “