(CBS Local)– 4x Super Bowl champion and San Francisco 49ers great Ronnie Lott is still making a positive impact in San Francisco decades after his NFL career ended.
The Hall of Famer and 10x Pro Bowl defensive back recently teamed up with Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry on a cash match charitable program tied to the jeweler’s remote buying program. 10 cents for every dollar of secondhand jewelry bought will go to support Eat Real and East Side College Preparatory School, two charities that serve underprivileged kids in the Bay Area.
“I wanted to make sure we could give back to the community in a way that we could give back to East Side Prep and give back to Eat Real,” said Lott in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “I’m always willing to find a way to see how we can lift people up. So far, it’s been really amazing. To me it’s a win, win, win and I like doing things that are going to be significant for young people.”
The campaign goal is to raise $100,000 in the first 30 days. Lott says it’s his responsibility to give back to the area that gave so much to him when he was an NFL player for the 49ers. While Lott hasn’t played professional football since the 1990s, the 8x First Team All-Pro player has been able to build a successful life after football.
“When you step away, you’re going to be a rookie with anything that you do,” said Lott. “One of the great things about being a rookie that I’ve learned is when I first came to the 49ers, Ray Rhodes said to me that I have to study. The point is that you always have to find ways to better yourself as a rookie. I’ve always been one of those guys to take that motto. There are a lot of people who are really successful and you have to find a way to learn from them. I’m always one of those guys who has always felt if I learn and get better, I will be a better person. Most athletes that I know who have taken that approach have been very successful with it.”
Lott’s football journey began as a young kid when he was a Washington Redskins fan. While the former San Francisco 49er won a national championship at USC and four titles in the NFL, he still remembers losing to the Skins in the 1983 NFC Championship.
“Even though it was the worst moment in my football career, playing against the Redskins in the championship game at RFK Stadium was a dream come true,” said Lott. “It was bigger than life because there were a lot of things that made that day special and it was humbling. When you walk off the field crying and thinking you could have possibly had that, it was devastating. The losses remind you of the pain in life. Everybody is trying to gain in life and get ahead. You got to wake up, find a way to shake it off and find a new path. I’m most proud of being associated with champions. When you’re associated with champions, it makes you understand the sacrifices associated with being a champion.”
Watch all of DJ Sixsmith’s interviews from “The Sit-Down” series here.