At City Hall, Freeman receives praise

March 06, 1997|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,SUN STAFF

After his memorable play on the biggest stage in American sports, Antonio Freeman was asked what he would do next.

Go home to Baltimore, he said.

Yesterday, Freeman, the Green Bay Packers receiver whose 81-yard touchdown reception was the longest play from scrimmage in Super Bowl history, enjoyed a hero's welcome in his hometown.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke arranged a tribute at City Hall and declared it "Antonio Freeman Day."

Cheerleaders from Poly, where Freeman's football jersey is retired, chanted, "Yeah, Buttons!" his childhood nickname. City workers jostled with TV crews crowded around the marble rotunda festooned with green and gold balloons.

Schmoke kicked off the festivities by playing a videotape of Freeman's historic touchdown catch, which helped the Packers beat the New England Patriots in January.

"This young man has done so many remarkable things and made all of us proud," Schmoke said, turning to give Freeman an Orioles jacket.

Freeman, 24, kept his remarks short and simple, but he struck a chord with the crowd.

"After the Super Bowl, everyone was asking me, 'Where are you going?' " he said. "I told them it was simple. I'm going back to Baltimore -- that's my home."

Pub Date: 3/06/97

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