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Subject: Nate Hobgood-Chittick, Football player (Rams)

Dead at 42
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Date Posted: Sunday, November 12, 01:29:39pm

ate Hobgood-Chittick, an Allen High graduate who went on to win Super Bowl XXXIV with the St. Louis Rams, died Saturday night at the age of 42.

According to friends, he died of a heart attack while with his family and friends.

Even though he lived in Southern California where he was a financial advisor, Hobgood-Chittick loved the Allentown area and loved coming back to see his friends and former classmates and teammates as much as possible.

Just this past week, he was interviewed for a Morning Call story on the back-to-back championships in November of 1992 between Allen and Dieruff. He was a senior on the Canaries team that year and gushed about those times and the special relationships that he forged with guys at both schools.

Chittick, who would have turned 43 on Nov. 30, said that playing in those special games for Allen ranked near the top of a football career that included four bowl games while at the University of North Carolina and a six-year stay in the NFL that was highlighted by being a member of the Rams 1999 championship team.

Like many of his friends, Rich Sniscak, the Parkland School District superintendent who was Hobgood-Chittick’s head coach at Allen, was stunned by the news.

“My whole family is just crushed by this news,” Sniscak said. “It leaves a big hole in my heart.”

On one of his visits to the Lehigh Valley, Dick Vermeil, who was the Rams coach during the Super Bowl season, was asked about Hobgood-Chittick and said he was one of the hardest-working members of the championship team.

Hobgood-Chittick was a defensive tackle.

“He worked his way to being apart of that team,” Vermeil said. “He was a great guy to have on that team.”

And that’s because Hobgood-Chittick was a “team first” guy.

“As talented as he was, it was never about him,” Sniscak said. “It was about uplifting others around him. He had that special drive that champions have. He had an innate ability to want to be his best all the time. He was never satisfied. He was one that was always critical of himself and felt he was never good enough at this or good enough at that.

“But in the end, he enjoyed being one of the guys. That group of kids from 1991 and 1992 at Allen, those football teams, they’re very tight-knit to this day.”

At Allen, Hobgood-Chittick helped the Canaries win District 11 titles in both football and basketball as a senior.

He earned a full ride to North Carolina where he played defensive tackle for the Tar Heels and helped UNC to four bowl game appearances. He was also a Dean's List student and named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll.

After graduating from UNC, he played in the NFL for six seasons with stops with the Giants, Colts, 49ers and Chiefs in addition to the Rams.

While in the NFL, he volunteered for many community programs, and was a crisis and suicide interview counselor in Indianapolis, a home mentor for the Evangelical Children's Home in St. Louis, a spinal cord injury counselor at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York and a life skills and youth camp organizer.

He received a master's degree in social work from Cal State-Long Beach.

Sniscak, who attended the Rams’ Super Bowl win with his family and many Allen football teammates, said his heart breaks for Hobgood-Chittick’s wife Kelsey and their two children.

In last week’s interview, Hobgood-Chittick talked about how much Allentown, Allen High School, his friends and his coaches, especially, Sniscak, meant to him.

“Those were some of the most special times of my life,” he said. “I’ll never forget them.”

And those who knew him will never forget Hobgood-Chittick either.


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Pic.Sunday, November 12, 01:38:11pm

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