Former New England Patriots lineman Max Lane brought an inspirational message to the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School football team Monday.

“I know there’s some challenges going on, I know you’re trying to build the program back up to what it was,” he told wide-eyed players kneeling on the high school field after practice. “I know there’s a lot of tradition and a lot of history here. Coach Herman is trying to help bring that back. But he can’t do it without you guys.”

Sharing stories and inspiration from the big time. — Mark Alan Lovewell

The former offensive lineman played seven seasons for the Patriots after playing college football at the U.S. Naval Academy. He started in the 1992 Super Bowl when the Patriots were defeated by the Green Bay Packers.

Mr. Lane has a roundabout connection to Vineyarders football. His son Hunter plays for Georgetown High School, where his coach is former Vineyard standout Eric McCarthy.

He was on the Vineyard Monday to play in a charity golf tournament benefiting Martha’s Vineyard Community Services.

With coaches looking on, including head coach Don Herman who returned this year to help rescue the faltering football program, Mr. Lane talked to the team about playing in a small program, He said he was part of the second smallest team in the state of Missouri during his high school playing days.

One Vineyard player asked the six-foot-five-inch former lineman about strategies for playing against a much bigger opponent.

Mr. Lane responded that he always preferred going up against someone his own size because it was more challenging to play smaller players with cat-like quickness.

Hanging on every word. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“If you’re a smaller guy, use that speed,” he said. “They don’t want to see it.”

He regaled the players with stories about playing NFL Hall of Famers Warren Sapp and Reggie White, at one point crouching down in his lineman’s stance to demonstrate a point.

“It may not seem important now what you’re doing out here on this field, but you’ll understand when you get older,” Mr. Lane said. “Trust that when you hear it from older guys, your coaches. What you’re doing out here makes a difference in your lives.”