Chris Hope: 'I still think (NFL) will play'

bbyers@heraldonline.comMay 10, 2011 

— It's early May, and Chris Hope expected to be working with his Tennessee Titans teammates getting ready for the 2011 NFL season.

There are question marks at every turn. Who will be the quarterback. What will it be like playing for coach Mike Munchak, who replaced Jeff Fisher, the head man in Nashville for the past 16 seasons.

But the biggest question of all is if there will be a 2011 season. The owners and players are in a bitter labor dispute and the players are locked out, with no resolution in sight.

"I still think we will play,'' said Hope, home in Rock Hill this week preparing for his second annual Chris Hope Celebrity Basketball Game at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Northwestern High School.

Hope lifts weights and runs daily. He's been splitting his time between Rock Hill, Nashville and Miami since the 2010 season ended. On April 30, he married his college sweetheart, Linda DeLacruz, in Miami, and he's been busy moving them into their house in Nashville.

DeLacruz will be at Hope's side most of this week. He has autograph sessions scheduled starting tonight, and the former Rock Hill Bearcats star will give a motivation talk to the students at Dutchman Creek Middle School on Friday morning.

Hope will be in Charlotte at 6 tonight to do a live radio show at Nix Burger & Brew, 201 N. Tryon St., next to Capital Grille.

He will be at Donato's Pizza in Rock Hill from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday. On Thursday, he will be at the Pizza Man in Clover from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and at Rock Hill's Wing King from 7:30 to 8:30. Hope will give away one signed action photo, and extras will be on sale for $1 each. T-shirts and celebrity basketball game tickets will be on sale for $7. They'll cost $10 at the door. And $50 VIP passes will be on sale.

This year's game is dedicated to Chelsea Mossburg, who will receive all proceeds to help with her medical bills. Mossburg was paralyzed in an auto accident last year. She will attend the autograph session at Donato's.

"We want to get the word out and hope this event grows,'' Hope said. "Everything we raise goes to Chelsea and her family for their medical expenses. My foundation, IC Hope, doesn't get a cent. It's all about giving back because the people in Rock Hill supported me while I was growing up.''

To enhance the proceeds, Hope will conduct a silent auction Saturday night. The list of donations are growing and includes signed game jerseys donated by NFL players Troy Polamalu, Ben Watson, Reggie Wayne, Michael Griffin, Cortland Finnegan, Alge Crumpler, Jon Beason, Thomas Davis, Chris Johnson, Jonathan Joseph, Sheldon Brown and Greg Jones.

Charlotte Bobcat DJ Augustine donated a signed basketball and items include a framed poster-sized, autographed action-sized photo of Hope.

COACHES: Former Rock Hill High, South Carolina and NFL linebacker Gerald Dixon will coach one team at the celebrity basketball game. Former Northwestern High, Notre Dame and NFL defensive back Jeff Burris will coach the other team

Dixon's team: Hope, Lavar Hemphill, Vincent Fuller, Jason McCourty, Michael Griffin, Jonathan Hefney, Cortland Finnegan, Antwaan Randle-El, Thomas Davis, Stephon Gilmore, Tori Gurley, Bryant McFadden, Deshea Townsend and Ike Taylor.

Burris' team: Ben Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Arkee Whitlock, Alex Barron, Anthony Smith, Jon Beason, Tyrone Carter. Myron Rolle, Greg Jones, Travis Johnson, Willie Parker, Walter McFadden, Patrick Peterson and Devin McCourty.

TICKETS: Tickets can be purchased at Rock Hill YMCA, Lamar Thompson, contact person; S.C. Bank and Trust (Main Street location), Teresa Davis, contact; Wing King, Jessie Gilbert, contact; Honda Cars of Rock Hill, Joel Suggs and Cam Stewart, contacts; Rock Hill High athletic department; Northwestern athletic department; Platinum Barbershop, Adrian McCrorey, contact. VIP passes are on sale at both high schools.

MORE TICKETS: Hope said that $400 and 32 VIP passes were stolen on Monday. Hope said the tickets well be reprinted and that those wishing to attend should purchase tickets only at the locations above.

The tickets he said, are numbers 48 through 80 and persons holding those tickets will not be admitted. For questions, please call 704-964-2031.

Barry Byers 803-329-4099

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