Jon Kitna thinks it is a day long overdue.
Kitna and Lawyer Milloy grew up together. They played football together at Lincoln High School until the early 1990s. They were in the NFL for roughly the same time (both played 15 seasons). They have stayed friends ever since.
And now that Kitna has taken over the reins of the Lincoln football program as a first-year coach, he wasted no time saving the biggest splash for the Abes’ home opener Friday night against North Thurston in Lincoln Bowl.
It will be the night the 38-year-old Milloy has his No. 26 Lincoln football jersey retired.
“In my opinion, I think Lawyer is the greatest athlete to ever come out of Tacoma,” Kitna said.
And yet, between the time Milloy left Lincoln to play at the University of Washington in 1993 until now, the former four-time Pro Bowl safety who played for New England, Buffalo, Atlanta and Seattle has had very little to do with his alma mater.
Kitna wants that to change.
“It is sad, to me, that Lawyer does not feel welcomed or accepted in his own hometown,” Kitna said. “He needs to be honored. Our players need to know who he is. This student body should know who he is.”
The celebration is twofold: First, before the game Friday, Kitna is expected to show Milloy around the school’s new weight room, which has been named after him. It will be called, “The Law Office,” and will feature all of Milloy’s college and NFL jerseys (No. 36 in NFL) hanging on the walls, as well as a big photo of the ex-star and a list of his career achievements.
Then at halftime of the game, Milloy and his family (wife, Chudine; two children) will be brought to midfield. Former athletic director John McCrossin and Kitna will have remarks planned, then present Milloy with a framed Lincoln jersey.
“I don’t think anybody should ever wear his number again at this school,” Kitna said. “He is excited about it. We are excited about it.”