Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Hewitt's Leap of Faith

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Hewitt's Leap of Faith

Article excerpt

NEW ORLEANS - Chris Hewitt always believed he would make this happen.

But as the Englewood native looked around the crowded Hilton New Orleans Riverside ballroom Wednesday morning, some incredulity remained in the reality that, as a rookie member of the Baltimore Ravens' coaching staff, he actually did.

"Coaching's definitely a leap of faith," said Hewitt, the appreciation for his journey from Bergen County to Super Bowl XLVII and the satisfaction of a dream realized plenty evident in the smile on his face.

That leap has landed Hewitt a Sunday date with destiny when the Ravens meet the 49ers with the Vince Lombardi Trophy to the winner on the biggest stage in sports.

Hewitt played three seasons in the NFL, all with the Saints, and now he will step inside the Superdome as an assistant special teams coach with the prize he has been eyeing since childhood finally within reach.

"I always thought it was going to happen for me," said Hewitt, 38. "I don't know why I felt like that, guess it was one of those things where I thought I was a good enough coach and I build enough good relationships in the NFL that I thought it would happen."

The fact that Hewitt is a part of this remarkable run with the Ravens has left those who know him best reveling in the pomp and circumstance of the moment.

The pride stretches from his thrilled family and friends back home in North Jersey to one of the most prominent figures at the center of the Super spectacle that awaits us.

"I was a 30-year-old coach at [the University of] Cincinnati and Chris came in as a 17-year-old freshman and started for us right away," said Ravens coach John Harbaugh, responsible for bringing Hewitt on staff after he spent the last eight seasons coaching under Greg Schiano at Rutgers. "He ended up being second in the nation in kickoff returns right out of the gates. So that will bond a coach and a player really fast. And we've just had a great friendship all these years. Chris is one of the great young coaches in this league ... and I think the sky is the limit for Chris' career."

When the Ravens beat the Patriots for the AFC championship, punching their ticket to the French Quarter, Hewitt had 150 voicemails waiting for him on his cellphone.

Nearly 100 were not just congratulatory messages, but Super Bowl ticket requests.

Magdalene Hewitt works as a patient care associate at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, and an intimate group of family and friends will watch her son's team compete in the big game on television at her Englewood home.

"Oh my gosh, I'm on cloud nine. This was always his dream. Football's always had his heart and he started from the ground up," Magdalene Hewitt said in a phone interview Thursday. "I did say to him when the Giants did not make the playoffs, 'You know what, Chris, it's the Ravens' turn. …

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