Yesterday, Super Bowl LVI, Feb. 13, 2022, featured the Los Angeles Rams against the Cincinnati Bengals, marking the second time the Bengals made a Super Bowl appearance since Super Bowl XVI on Jan. 24, 1982 — and a Richmond County native was on the team!
Hamlet native Louis Breeden was born on Oct. 26, 1953 and attended Hamlet schools.
After graduating from Hamlet High, he attended North Carolina Central University, where he received All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference mention three times, was second-team honors in 1974, and first-time in 1975 and 1976.
Breeden was drafted by the Bengals in 1977 in the seventh round (187th overall) and wore the number 34 jersey on the team until his retirement in 1987. In 1981, Breeden set a Bengals record in a game against the San Diego Chargers by intercepting a pass from Chargers future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts and returning it 102 yards for a touchdown, helping his team win the game 40-17. To this day, it is the longest play in franchise history, although it has been tied by Eric Bieniemy’s 102-yard kickoff return in 1997 against the New York Giants, and Artrell Hawkins’ 102-yard interception return in 2002 against the Houston Texans. Breeden finished the season with four interceptions, 145 return yards, one touchdown, and a fumble recovery, assisting the Bengals to a 12-4 regular season record. In his 10 NFL seasons, Breeden recorded 33 interceptions for 558 yards and two touchdowns, while also recovering two fumbles. His interceptions and return yards are both the second-most in Bengals history behind Ken Riley.
Breeden had the longest play in Bengals history for 39 years until safety Brandon Wilson’s 103-yard kick return that beat Breeden’s record by a yard in 2020.
After retiring, Breeden was the owner of Louis Breeden Promotions, an advertising company in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he continued to reside.
The North Carolina portion of Highway 38 that runs from South Carolina into Hamlet was renamed “Louis Breeden Boulevard” to commemorate Breeden’s remarkable NFL career.
Join us today in celebrating our own Richmond County native Bengal!
(Correction This post has been edited to note that it was the second time the Bengals have played in the Super Bowl since 1982. 2-15-22 12:38 p.m.)
Meghann Lambeth is executive director of the Richmond County Tourism Development Authority.
(Editor’s Note: Visit Richmond County is highlighting prominent local African Americans each day in February in honor of Black History Month. Previous individuals featured include late Richmond County sheriff James E. Clemmons Jr., late state representative Harrison Ingram Quick, dancer and makeup artist Ciarra Kelley, Ellerbe Mayor Brenda Capel, two-time Super Bowl champion Perry Williams, Bishop Arlester Simpson of Ellerbe, Richmond County School Board member Ronald Tillman, and educator Melvin Ingram. See the Visit Richmond County Facebook page for more on these outstanding individuals.)