When the stadium lights flood the field at on Friday night, they're sure to also flood former Hornets player Chris Reis with memories of gridiron dreams that turned into an NFL reality.
Having played in the NFL for five seasons from 2006 through 2011, Reis will return to his alma mater, Friday, Aug. 31, as the likely hero of every young man outfitted in green and black on the field. After all, sharing team colors with a Super Bowl champion is quite an honor - especially when that champion was the one to recover a historic onside kick and change the course of a game that helped lead the New Orleans Saints to their first ever league championship during Super Bowl XLIV in 2009.
As a wide receiver and safety during his time in the "Hornet's Nest" from 1998 through 2001, Reis remembers being in the high school players' cleats.
"Roswell High School was where I developed a strong foundation, not only as a football player but also as a man," he told Roswell Patch. "It is what carried me through college [at Georgia Institute of Technology], my NFL career, and now into my family and my business."
Reis credits the Roswell coaching staff - then and now - with helping to shape the futures of high school players.
They "didn't just care about winning football games," he says. "That means more to me than football and I want to continue to be a part of that legacy."
These days Reis, whose mom still lives in Roswell, can be found off the field partnering with his stepmother, Celia Reis, in Reis Properties Team, a full service residential and commercial real estate company serving North Fulton and South Forsyth counties. He also travels the country for speaking engagements at churches, organizations and corporations, "sharing my story of how to live for more than what this world has to offer," he says.
Reis - who lives in Cumming with his wife, Michelle, one-year-old daughter, Piper, and two dogs - is also collaborating with his dad, Mike, on a soon-to-be-published book dubbed, "Recovery of a Lifetime." The book examines how Reis' positive beliefs and accomplishments inspired his father to suddenly reign in 35 years of addictive behaviors to become sober and selfless.
If the high school players take away something other than an autograph during the meet-and-greet event prior to the Roswell Hornets versus Centennial Knights football game Friday evening, Reis hopes it's an understanding "that there is more to life than just football. It's great to have a dream and a goal to pursue, but the most important thing is to be passionate at whatever you do."
To meet Reis, get an autograph or enter for a chance to win an authentic game jersey and other prizes, stop by the Reis Properties Team tent at the Roswell High School stadium beginning at 6:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 31. Roswell High School is located at 11595 King Road.