When we think of Super Bowl XXVII, we remember 5-foot-11, 185-pound wide receiver Don Beebe chasing relentlessly after hulking Cowboys defensive tackle Leon Lett for the football. We remember Beebe never giving up, catching up with Lett and popping the ball out of Lett’s hands just before the goal line.
“With about four or five minutes left in the game, we were doing a no huddle and trying to save face,” said Beebe. “Frank Reich was in the game and fumbled the football. I was 30 or 40 yards down field, and when the ball was fumbled, I saw Leon pick it up. I started running as fast as I could, and didn’t stop.”
We all remember Beebe’s hustle during that fateful Super Bowl play, but where is he now, and how has he used that legacy to impact the lives of others?
After six total Super Bowl appearances – four with the Bills and two more, including a title, with the Packers - Beebe wanted to pass on his trademark speed to help other athletes succeed.
“After my career, I knew I wanted to do one of two things: be around and impact kids and be involved with athletics. That was my calling and my passion,” Beebe said.
Beebe, now 48, has found a way to do both.
He founded Don Beebe’s House of Speed, an athletics facility designed to train and motivate individuals of all ages. The nationally-recognized House of Speed works to help athletes perform better by enhancing their speed and character. Beebe, who registered some of the league’s fastest 40-yard dash times on record during his playing days, has personally trained over 100,000 athletes. With a client list that includes Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, Falcons running back Michael Turner and a host of Olympic and collegiate athletes, the word on Beebe’s House of Speed spread faster than even Beebe could have imagined.
“After starting the business, it flourished very quickly,” said Beebe on his speed training programs. “Here we are 15 years later and we have 17 franchises across the country.”
Despite being removed from the rigors of an NFL schedule, Beebe’s days are jam-packed with activity. He gets up each day at 5:30 a.m. to train high school football players at their schools or at the House of Speed facility before the day begins.
During the day, Beebe manages the business side of House of Speed, scheduling camps, working with his various franchises and overseeing a considerable stable of athletes in various staging of training.
After school hours, he again visits a school or House of Speed facility to train more athletes. There’s no doubt that Beebe is a hands on mentor.
“Personally, I love to train,” Beebe told Buffalobills.com. “I love to be around these kids and impact them. If I had no part in my business and just put my name on the door letting other people do the work, what kind of business is that? I’m hands on, because that’s when you can really impact a kid.”
Although his days of running routes in the NFL are over, he still shares his tips with high school football players.
“I volunteered myself as the head football coach at Aurora Christian high school 10 years ago, and I have continued mentoring students and athletes through coaching.”
Beebe never thought about sharing his NFL story of faith, hope and triumph on paper until recently, when he was presented the opportunity to write a book. Beebe’s 6 Rings from Nowhere was published earlier this year, partly with an eye on the impact his story could have on the lives of others.
“Obviously, the Leon Lett storyline is a big part of this book,” said Beebe, who’s developed a friendship with Lett over the last 20 years. “It takes people through the story that against all odds, if you don’t give up you can do miraculous things. That’s the reason why I coach, and the reason why I started House of Speed. I want kids to fulfill their dreams.”
“I never gave up on my dream to play. I kept plugging at it, and kept walking through doors that were opened for me.”
Beebe is still a big Bills fan. He keeps in touch with a number of former teammates, including Jim Kelly, Frank Reich, Steve Tasker and Pete Metzelaars, among others. One of just 24 players to play in Buffalo’s four consecutive Super Bowls, Beebe has fond memories of his time in the Queen City.
“What made it special was the organization. Mr. Ralph Wilson is hands down the best owner in the National Football League. Marv Levy at the time was the greatest coach I’ve ever been around. Bill Polian and John Butler were some of the classiest men you’d ever want to shake a hand with. They understood what chemistry was. Chemistry wins. They got the community in Buffalo involved, and what better a community to play for than for the people of Buffalo. The combination of all that made it the most special time we all had. If you ask any of the 24 guys who went to all four Super Bowls, they’ll tell you it was the best time of their lives.”