Former UCF standout Josh Sitton received his Super Bowl championship ring earlier this summer at a private ceremony for the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
Sitton, who starred at UCF from 2004-07, knows now that getting a chance to wear a championship ring likely wouldn’t have been possible without learning the game of football under Knights’ coach George O’Leary.
Sitton, a starter guard for the Packers all 20 games this past season, credits O’Leary with helping him become one of the NFL’s premier offensive linemen. Sitton was lauded throughout the Packers’ playoff run and the 31-25 Super Bowl defeat of the Pittsburgh Steelers for his stout blocking and pass protection. Sitton said none of it would have been possible without learning what he did while playing for the Knights.
“This is where it all started for me. This college game, and coach O’Leary, he’s the main reason that I’m doing what I’m doing right now,” Sitton said recently.
Sitton, a 6-foot-3, 318-pounder, said he got an early indication from NFL scouts that he could successfully make the transition from college to the pros because of the work he put in at UCF. Sitton said O’Leary taught him toughness, discipline and accountability.
“Scouts told me when I was going to the NFL that if I had played for coach O’Leary that I could play for anybody in the NFL,” Sitton said. “You don’t really appreciate it as much at the time when you are in the (UCF) program, but I certainly do now. (O’Leary) taught me so much, made me tougher and helped me become the man that I am today.”
The man he is today is one that is coming off a season in which he started all 20 games for the Packers. He’s become entrenched along the Packers offensive line, playing in 43 games the past three seasons, while starting 34 of them. The 25-year-old Pensacola native said defeating the rival Chicago Bears 21-14 in the NFC title game provided him almost as much joy as beating the Steelers in the Super Bowl in Dallas.
“The whole season was fun. Really, winning the NFC Championship, that was a great feeling too,” he said. “There were a lot of ups and downs with us fighting injuries all season, but we fought through it and won when we had to. It was one of the most fun seasons I’ve ever been a part of.”
Sitton has said that unlike some players who tuck their Super Bowl rings away in safe deposit boxes, he plans to wear his most every day. He’s hoping to return to UCF’s campus someday soon to show off his new hardware. After all, UCF is where Sitton’s football career started and he wouldn’t be where he is today without his time with the Knights.
“It was crazy winning it all so early in my career,” he said. “I’ve told a lot of the guys that the moment when you win it, it’s just a huge moment in your life and it feels surreal. It’s almost hard to describe because you work your whole life and when it happens it’s amazing.”
John Denton’s Knights Insider appears on UCFAthletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at email@example.com.