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NFL Veteran & Rome Native Ken Irvin to Speak at NAIA National Championship Festivities

Rome, Ga. - Having experienced life in the NFL for 12 years, Rome native Ken Irvin will share his story with the two teams vying for the NAIA Football National title. Irvin will be the featured speaker at the team luncheon to be held in conjunction with the 54th annual Russell Athletic/NAIA Football National Championship game.

On Friday, Dec. 18, Irvin will address the two teams at Shorter College as part of the pre-game activities.

"We are excited and honored to have Ken Irvin, a hometown hero who made it big in the NFL, to come and speak at our luncheon for the teams," Rome attorney Bob Berry, co-chair of the NAIA Host Committee, said about the former NFL cornerback who played for the Buffalo Bills, the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings.

"He is a noted speaker and will bring a wonderful message to all the players and coaches," Berry added.

Irvin graduated from Pepperell High School, where he was a three-sport star and earned All-State honors after leading the Dragons to the 1991 state championship. He became a four-year starter at the University of Memphis and set an NCAA record for most blocked punts in a game (4) in 1992.

After developing a reputation as being one of the top corners on the college level, Irvin was selected in the fourth round of the 1995 NFL Draft when the Buffalo Bills made him the 109th overall pick.

Irvin played seven seasons with the Bills, becoming a starter in his second season and developing into one of the NFL's top coverage players. In 2002, he signed as a free agent with the New Orleans Saints; he then closed out his career playing four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.

Irvin finished with 10 career interceptions and 299 tackles

While he distinguished himself on the field, Irvin is most proud of his work off the field through his participation with a number of community organizations and causes. He was selected to receive the Athletes in Action Award in 2002 and the Byron Wizzard Humanitarian Award in 2004. Earlier this year, Irvin was inducted into the Rome-Floyd Sports Hall of Fame.

The 2009 Russell Athletic/NAIA National Championship game will be played Saturday, Dec. 19, with kickoff slated for 12 noon in Rome's Historic Barron Stadium. Tickets to the championship game are $25 and available for purchase by contacting The Forum Civic Center Box Office at 706-233-7288, 1-800-858-7601 or by visiting www.forumevents.org. Fans may also purchase tickets at the gate on game day.

Tickets are also available for other championship events, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Champions of Character Breakfast on Thursday, Dec. 17, and the NAIA Banquet of Champions on Friday, Dec. 18. Both functions will be held at The Forum. Tickets to championship events may be purchased through the Forum Civic Center Box Office.

For a complete list of events visit the championship website at www.naianationalchampionship.com