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Montana Football Hall of Famers never dreamed of NFL success

Posted at 6:44 PM, Mar 25, 2018

BILLINGS – Saturday night was one to remember at the Billings Hotel, as eight new members were enshrined into the Montana Football Hall of Fame.

The room was a who’s who of Treasure State gridiron royalty, honoring some of the greatest college and pro players Montana has ever known. The 2018 class featured former Grizzlies like Guy Bingham and Rocky Klever; former Bobcats like Sam McCullum; and even Carroll College’s Casey Fitzsimmons, who played tight end for the Detroit Lions for seven seasons. All had huge success – but most agreed they never dreamed it would happen.

“You know, I didn’t really realize what was going to happen until my junior or senior year (at Carroll) when the scouts started coming out and watching me,” said Fitzsimmons. “I think my teammates got a bigger kick out of it than I did. It was kind of nerve-wracking for me because at that stage, being a guy like me, you have to make every play count. You have to make sure everything’s right, so it was kind of a game-day within a practice every time they came out. And all the teams came out, so it was a little stressful at times.”

Fitzsimmons was a standout at Chester High School, but McCullum’s sporting life started even later.

“My first year of organized sports period was my sophomore year in high school,” said the former Bobcat wide receiver. “I was playing intramural in the gym, and the basketball coach saw and said, ‘You should come out and play basketball.’ So that’s when I first started to think I could even play sports.

“I had no skills, I had no talent, I had no training. Prior to my junior year in high school, I had never even put on a football pad, never put on a helmet, never even caught a football, and here I was six years later playing in the NFL. Never would have thought about it.”