Sunday's editions of The Sun included an article on Ravens rookie defensive end Pernell McPhee, the team's second pick in the fifth round of the NFL draft in April.
Due to space constraints, one storyline that could not be included was the role of Glenda Segars had and continues to have in McPhee's life.
Segars is the director of library services at Itawamba Community College in Fulton, Miss., and her husband James teaches Bible and Western Civilization courses at the college.
In the fall of 2007, James Segars approached his wife about tutoring one of his students. Segars had never mentored a student before, but after meeting McPhee, she agreed to do it.
"We talked about lots of things," said Segars, who refers to McPhee as her fourth child. "We talked about family, and we talked about school. We talked about school an awful lot, and how important it was. I just wanted him to know and I kept enforcing that not only did he have to graduate from ICC to be able to go onto a Division I school to play college football, but I kept telling him that he must have his degree. I told him, 'You've got to stay with it and get your degree. You will never get to the NFL if you don't pass your college work at ICC.' That was the main thing that I tried to drill into his head."McPhee took and passed 19 hours of credits in the fall of 2008 to successfully get his degree and move onto Mississippi State. Even though he moved to the school's Starkville campus, McPhee frequently left tickets for Segars and her family at the stadium's will-call ticket booth. For Christmas in 2009, Segars' children gave her a Mississippi State jersey with the number 90 on front and the name McPhee on back, which she wore to Bulldogs games.
For Segars, rooting for Mississippi State wasn't easy. A graduate of both Alabama and Ole Miss, Segars calls herself a "die-hard" Alabama fan.
"But I went to as many games as possible to cheer for Pernell," she said. "And I loved every minute of it."
At Mississippi State media days, she approached some of the defensive players to get their autographs.
"They said, 'We know who you are. You're Pernell's mom. He's got pictures of you all over his room,'" Segars recalled. "... That was great."
McPhee, who recently learned that he passed his final course in the summer to graduate from Mississippi State, said he views Segars as his second mother.
"I love Mrs. Segars," said McPhee, who calls her periodically. "… She helped me stay focused. Whenever I felt like I was tired of school, she made sure I stayed on the right track. She kept my head on right. I looked at her the way I looked at my grandmom. I didn't want to make her upset, I wanted to keep a smile on her face."
Segars said she has tracked McPhee's football development and was ecstatic to learn that he had been selected by the Ravens. But she is even prouder of his academic progress.
"Words cannot describe how proud I was," Segars said, adding that she will support the Ravens. "I want him to go to the NFL, but I want him so much to get that degree because that's going to mean so much for him."