VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - It seems when Malcolm Mitchell looks himself in the mirror, he sees a kid from Valdosta who loves playing football and wants to help people.
"I just try to encourage people. If it's from me being on the field, great. If it's from what I do, awesome," he says.
"But I'm definitely not a celebrity," he adds, laughing.
You wouldn't know it from the reception he received in his hometown Monday.
Hundreds of people made their way to Bazemore-Hyder Stadium for Malcolm Mitchell Day, where the Super Bowl LI champion was honored for his on-field success and his off-field work.
"I'm just happy that I'm able to come back and share all of the experience I've had with my hometown," he says. "I don't get to come home often because I'm moving around so much but having this opportunity means a lot to me."
Mitchell capped off his rookie season with six catches for 70 yards in New England's win over Atlanta in Super Bowl LI. The former Wildcat and Georgia Bulldog star has also continued his work with his Read with Malcolm foundation, and tours schools all over the country to deliver copies of his children's book, The Magician's Hat.
Valdosta Mayor John Gayle presented Mitchell with a key to the city, while Valdosta City Schools announced Mitchell's #26 Valdosta jersey and #19 Patriots jersey will hang in the new high school.
There were plenty of those #19 jerseys in the crowd. From kids to adults, replicas of Mitchell's pro jersey were easy to spot Monday evening. That was something that surprised even Malcolm.
"It's not something you'd expect to see in Georgia," he laughs.
Despite the adoration of the folks in Winnersville, it seems the celebrity is still something Mitchell is getting used to. But he's taking it in stride.
"It's definitely not something I would have foreshadowed," he says. "Having this opportunity to bring something back to my hometown that they'll enjoy just as much as I will, there's no better feeling."