The 2010 NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame class was inducted in Canton, Ohio August 7th, 2010. The following are highlights of all seven inductees speeches. From the inspiration of Jerry Rice speaking of his fear of failure to Dick LeBeau paying tribute to his former college head at Ohio State, Woody Hayes, each speech spoke from the heart and added something to night of tributes.
Wide Receiver Jerry Rice“Bill (Walsh) is the reason I played in the NFL. He was like a father to me.”
Jerry Rice honored his former head and coach and friend the late Bill Walsh. Walsh draft Rice and was one of his biggest supporters through the years, not only in football but in life. Rice looked above for his most touching acknowledgment as he entered the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Bill is the reason I played in the NFL. He was like a father to me, someone I could talk to about relationships and business or professional football. I never wanted to let my father down, and I was afraid to let Bill Walsh down. He taught us to be perfect. If you failed to be perfect, then excellence would be within your grasp. He had every gift but length of years.”
Running Back Emmitt Smith “I wanted to become the all-time leading rusher.”
Emmitt Smith spoke of his determination to emulate the life of and achievements of Walter Payton. Smith spoke of Payton with fondness and respect for the late great Chicago running back.
“At the age of 21, I already knew what I needed to do in order to make my mark. I wanted to become the all-time leading rusher. I knew Walter Payton was one of the best to have ever played the game, and I wanted to achieve that level of greatness. “
Offensive Guard Russ Grimm “I’m not asking.”
Russ Grimm’s NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame speech highlighted his path to becoming an NFL Pro Bowl offensive lineman. Grimm visited college football head coaching legend Jackie Sherrill and participated in a one sided conversation.
“I played quarterback and linebacker in high school, I went to the University of Pitt as a linebacker. After my sophomore year, Jackie Sherrill called me into his office and told me that we had a lot of seniors graduating on the offensive line and he thought it would be an opportunity for me to switch over and play center. I told him I never had my hand in the dirt, that I’d just stay at linebacker. He lifted his eyes up and looked at me and he said, son, I’m not asking.”
Defensive Tackle John Randle “I am so humbled by this incredible honor.”
John Randle, the most boisterous of the Minnesota Vikings during a time when the Vikings defense was not always their strong suit. Randel’s NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech was surprisingly quick and to the point.
John Randel closed his short NFL Hall of Fame induction with genuine humility. “I also am so humbled by this incredible honor which I never thought was possible. Thank you to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, everyone who played a part in electing me for making this small-town kid’s dream come true.”
Linebacker Rickey Jackson “Football has Always Been My Life”
Rickey Jackson appeared taken aback as to what he accomplished. Looking back on his fellow NFL Hall of Fame inductees, Jackson paused and said, “Football has always been my life. I see that in these guys here, man. These Hall of Famers here, I just seeing how these guys carry themselves, the love they had for football.”
Dick LeBeau“I Played for Woody Hayes, the great Woody Hayes.”
Dick LeBeau is the defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers but in his formative years, he had to deal with a hard nosed coach that was committed to the game of football, Woody Hayes. LeBeau spoke of Hayes with reverence and the current head coach of Ohio State, Jim Tressel.
“When I was at Ohio State, I played for Woody Hayes, the great Woody Hayes. I still learned something almost daily from the current head coach of the Ohio State University, Jim Tressel. Coach Tressel is a textbook on how to conduct yourself at a major college level with integrity.”
Floyd Little “No One Travels This Road Alone.”
Floyd Little chose to speak of a man he met later in life that took up the cause to get Floyd Little inducted into the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame. Little spoke of Tom Mackie with heart felt gratitude for being instrumental in Little’s appearance at the Hall of Fame podium.
“No one travels this road alone. I can never have imagined the impact of a phone call I got from Tom Mackie’s wife Emily. She called asking if I would consider meeting Tom for his 40th birthday, because I was Tom’s hero. Not only did Tom and I meet, but he became the co-author of my first book, Tales from the Bronco Sideline. My biggest advocate for my NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame consideration. Now Tom is my hero. Thank you, Tom Mackie, for all you’ve done. I truly appreciate it. “
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