Deion Sanders heads 2011 H.O.F. Inductees
Deion Sanders was joined by Marshall Faulk, Shannon Sharpe, Richard Dent, Chris Hanburger, Les Richter and Ed Sabol at the 2011 H.O.F. Induction Ceremony on Saturday. All the players gave long speeches. Deion Sanders rocking a gold suit and gold shoes went ‘preacher man’, and Shannon Sharpe’s gave the most heartfelt speech. Shannon Sharpe’s older brother, Sterling Sharpe, was a better Tight End, but left the game early with a back-breaking injury. Check out Deion’s ‘preacher man’ speech above, and Sharpe’s brilliant H.O.F. speech below!
“This game,” Sanders repeated dozens of times, “this game taught me how to be a man. This game taught me if I get knocked down, I got to get my butt back up.
“I always had a rule in life that I would never love anything that couldn’t love me back. It taught me how to be a man, how to get up, how to live in pain. Taught me so much about people, timing, focus, dedication, submitting oneself, sacrificing.
“If your dream ain’t bigger than you, there’s a problem with your dream.” – espn
Shannon Sharpe: a low seventh round draft pick out of Savannah State, made his mark as the best Tight End of his era. He got three rings, two with the Denver Broncos, and one with the Baltimore Ravens. He retired in 2003, with NFL records (for a TE): 815 career receptions, 10,060 yards and 62 TDs. Three times he went over a 1,000 yards in a season, which is unheard of for that position. Check out his full speech on video below!
“When people told me I’d never make it, I listened to the one person who said I could: me,” Sharpe said.
In a captivating acceptance speech, Sharpe passionately made a pitch to get his brother, Sterling, who played seven years with the Packers, considered for election to the shrine. Sterling, who introduced his younger brother for induction, wept as Shannon praised him.
“I am the only player who has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and am the second-best player in my family,” Sharpe said.
“I am so honored. You don’t know what this means for me. This is the fraternity of all fraternities.”
Marshall Faulk: Besides Sanders, Faulk was the only other inductee of the 2011 class elected in on his first attempt. He was #2 pick in the 1994 Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He was the premier RB at the turn of the century. He played his first five seasons with the Colts, and his final seven with the St. Louis Rams leading them to a 1999 Super Bowl Championship. Faulk was named top offensive player three years in a row: 1999, 2000, 2001, and was named NFL MVP in the 2000 season. He rushed for over 2,000 yards in four consecutive seasons, made seven Pro-Bowls, and was the league’s scoring leader in 2000 and 2001.
Through tears, Faulk said, “Boy this is pretty special. … I am glad to be a part of it. This is football heaven.
“I am a football fan just like all of you,” Faulk told the crowd. “I have always, always been a fan and had an abiding passion and love and respect for this game of football, even when I was a kid selling popcorn in the Superdome because I couldn’t afford a ticket.
“It’s tough going from the projects to the penthouse.”
Richard Dent: One of the best pass-rushers when sacks just became a stat in the 1980’s. He was the 1985 Super-Bowl MVP with of course the Chicago Bears! He retired third on the all-time sacks list with 137.5 career sacks.
“Richard was like a guided missile,” Joe Gilliam, Dent’s college coach, said during his introduction.
“You must dream and you must be dedicated to something in your life,” added Dent, who asked everyone in the audience to rise in applause for Gilliam, then thanked dozens of people, including many from the ’85 Bears who also were in the stadium. He saved his highest praise for the late Walter Payton.
“When you have dreams, it is very tough to say you can do everything by yourself,” Dent said. “It’s all about other people.”
Pete Sabol: An aspiring filmmaker who paid double for the rights ($3,000) to the 1962 NFL Championship game between the 1962 “Lombardi” Packers and Giants. He established a good relationship with then commissioner Pete Rozelle, and continued a long career of NFL documentary. He is now 94 years old, and is still in good shape.
Seated in a wheelchair, the 94-year-old Sabol said he “dreamt the impossible dream, and I’m living it right at this minute.”
“This honor tonight really goes to NFL Films, I just happen to be accepting all the accolades,” Sabol added.
Chris Hanburger: Hanburger was nicknamed “The Hangman” for his signature (now outlawed) clothesline tackle. He was the signal caller for the Washington Redskins D(efense) and went to nine Pro-Bowls in his 14 seasons. He retired in 1978 with a league best (for linebacker position) 19 interceptions, and three forced fumbles for TD’s.
Hanburger called his induction “one of the greatest moments in my life and I mean that from my heart. I am just overwhelmed by this.”
Les Richter: Unfortunately, father time caught up with Richter as he passed away one year ago. He was a marquee center (and place-kicker) in the 1950’s and 60’s. The LA Rams acquired Richter for 11 players in 1954. After two years of military service, he went on to eight consecutive Pr0-Bowls. He retired in 1962, and continued a successful career in motor sports.
(info, quotes courtesy espn)