HOUSTON — Gerry Raymond knows what his 96-year-old mother Jeannette will be doing Sunday in Lewiston – watching the New England Patriots play the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium.

And for the first time, he’ll be on the same side as her.

The 57-year-old Raymond, who won the James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy (given annually to the top senior high school football player in Maine) in 1977, now lives in Houston with his wife Carrigan. He’s not a fan of either team playing but he would like to see Tom Brady get some redemption for what Raymond said was a bad deal regarding Deflategate and his four-game suspension to start this season.

“I hope Tom Brady gets the chance to win it and stand before all those people,” said Raymond in a phone interview Friday. “It would put an exclamation point on his career.”

And it’s not often that Raymond wants to see the Patriots win, especially against a team led by a fellow Boston College alum, Matt Ryan. “Yeah, he’s a BC guy,” said Raymond. “Got to root for him right? He’s had a great year and is such a good guy.”

Raymond grew up in Lewiston rooting for whoever was playing the Patriots, he said. His family is die-hard Patriots and, to be rebellious, he tended to root for whomever his family was against. Nowadays, he said he likes rooting against the Dallas Cowboys, simply because he’s surrounded by Cowboys fans.

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Raymond left Maine for Boston College and was drafted in the fourth round by the New York Giants – who had a young linebackers coach at the time named Bill Belichick – in 1982. He was one of New York’s final cuts, got picked up by the Baltimore Colts and lasted there for most of the season.

He was 6-foot-3, 265 pounds and played in the long-gone USFL for three years. A knee injury ended his time there. He was ready to give up football, but the New Orleans Saints offered him a contract.

“In the first practice, I suffered an injury to the other knee,” he said. Thus ended his playing career. Seventeen years ago, his job took him to Dallas. Seven years ago, he settled in north Houston.

Raymond loves living in Texas, where football truly is king in the fall. He still watches, preferring the college game.

He is the vice president of sales for Rooms To Go, a furniture company with over 150 stores nationally.

Raymond said he’s always rooted for players, rather than teams. It was Brett Favre, then Peyton Manning (and he rooted hard for him to win a title last year) and now Aaron Rodgers.

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Told that he is still the only lineman to win the Fitzy, Raymond responded with surprise and pride.

“I find that amazing,” he said. “But I also find that pretty cool. As you get older, you look back and can say that’s pretty cool.”

CHRIS BROCKMAN, a 1998 graduate of Thornton Academy, found himself in Houston this week, not just because his favorite team, the Patriots, was in the Super Bowl.

Brockman, a former sports writer and sports editor at the Journal Tribune in Biddeford, is the producer of the Rich Eisen Show, formerly on the NFL Network, now on Direct TV’s Audience.

While he now lives in Los Angeles, he looks back fondly on his print media days in Maine. “I’m thankful for all the support I got there,” he said. “Everyone there did a great job helping me find my voice and learn how to be a journalist.”

A graduate of Syracuse University, this is the type of job he always wanted. But he still finds it amazing sometimes.

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“I worked hard to get here,” he said. “But still … Dan Patrick, a guy I really looked up to, knows who I am. Snoop Dog sees me and says, ‘Hi.’ ”

He left Biddeford in 2009 for an internship at the NFL Network, which turned into this full-time gig. For four years the show was on the NFL Network. He has developed a great rapport with Eisen. The show isn’t just about sports, said Brockman.

“It’s not just football, it’s not just sports,” he said. “We get some of the biggest stars in Hollywood to come on. And it’s not just a couple of quick questions. We let them talk about their teams. We connect everything.”

Brockman, 36, did get a bad bit of news recently from his home state. His 19-year-old record for most 3-pointers in a basketball game at Thornton Academy (nine) was broken on Jan. 10 by Austin Boudreau, who hit 10.

“I was at the gym when I got a text message about it,” he said. “That was the last thing I needed to hear. Kind of like a punch to the gut.”

But the next day, they had Boudreau on the Rich Eisen Show. “That was a lot of fun,” said Brockman.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH


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