The honors keep rolling in.
Pete Chryplewicz, a high school football star at Sterling Heights Stevenson and the state’s top recruit in 1991, will be recognized at the Free Press All-State Dream Team banquet Wednesday at the Dearborn Inn.
He was the Dream Team captain 25 years ago.
“Overall, high school was a great experience,” said Chryplewicz, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound tight end. “I wasn’t just a football player (at Stevenson); they actually made you think about life. They helped me become a good human being.”
Chryplewicz, who played at Notre Dame and was a fifth-round pick of the Lions in 1997, also was honored by his former high school with a jersey ceremony last month. Stevenson recognized Chryplewicz and five other alums who played in the NFL.
“It’s fun to have those things back-to-back,” he said of the Dream Team banquet. “It’s special because you’re an All-Star. I reflect back, and I’m very lucky to do what I did in my life.”
Other guest speakers at the event will be Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton, Central Michigan coach John Bonamego and new Western Michigan coach Tim Lester. Karen Sadler, mother of late Michigan State punter Mike Sadler, and retired Free Press prep sports writer Mick McCabe also will speak.
The Free Press is honoring members of the 2016 Dream Team, many of whom are expected to attend.
“Everyone has a responsibility when you’re in the spotlight,” Chryplewicz said of being a role model. “You have to pay attention to your surroundings, and know that people are watching you. If you do the right thing, then everything else takes care of itself. Little kids need role models and need to aspire to be something better.”
Chryplewicz played 36 games for the Lions in 1997-99, catching nine passes for 65 yards and three touchdowns. His rookie season, Lions great Barry Sanders finished with 2,053 yards rushing.
“I’ll see pictures or watch film and forget I played in these games,” Chryplewicz said of the 1997 season. “I see newspaper clippings where I’m in the background cheering as Barry runs down the field. It was a fun year, not only because I was in the NFL, but also playing with one of the best football players ever.”
Despite being a rookie, Chryplewicz got to know Sanders well.
“It’s a brotherhood, but at the same time, you’re still learning the ropes, just trying to survive,” Chryplewicz said. “Barry was a very approachable guy. He was very humble, down to earth. He would sit next to me sometimes and give me advice. You don’t read or hear about those things.”
At last month’s ceremony at Stevenson, Chryplewicz was joined by former Titans Carl Davis, Jim Szymanski and Frank Zombo, all of whom played or currently play in the NFL. Chris Liwienski, who could not attend, and Dan Jilek, who died in 2002, also were recognized.
Football awards banquet
What: National Football Foundation and Free Press event honoring the 2016 All-State Dream Team.
Who: 23 high school players and coach of the year Elliot Uzelac of Benton Harbor.
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday (reception starts at 5:45).
Where: Dearborn Inn, Dearborn.
Tickets: $40, can be purchased through Lori Deel with the National Football Foundation at 248-528-2860, extension 222, or in person at 4897 Rochester Road in Troy.