Stephen Neal is a starting right guard in the National Football League who re-signed with the New England Patriots after testing the free-agency market following the 2005 season. Born in San Diego on October 9, 1976, he attended Cal State-Bakersfield before being signed by the New England Patriots on July 23, 2001. He didn't play at all that year, or in 2003, but due to injuries on the offensive line, he was thrust into the starting lineup for the 2004 season. He became a great run blocker and a good pass protector. He figures to retain his starting job with little competition for the upcoming 2006 season.
The San Diego native did not play football in college and instead was a Championship wrestler at Cal State-Bakersfield. As a wrestler, he compiled a 156-10 record and won two NCAA Division I titles. In 1999, Neal won the Dan Hodge Award - known as the Heisman Trophy of wrestling - following a year in which he won the U.S. Freestyle Championship, the Pan-American Games title and the World Championships.