Shannon Sharpe has never been short on words. During his 14 year career he had just as many moments off the field - in front of the microphone - as he did on the field. As the Greatest tight end to ever play the game spoke tonight at his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction, Sharpe saved his best for last.
In a speech that centered on the tough life that built the fire that burned inside him, Sharpe was gracious and showed a human side of himself that many didn't see during his career.
"The persona liked to have fun, the person knew when it was time to get to work."
That was the truth about Sharpe, he knew when the cameras turned off it was time to get it done on the field. Boy did he ever.
We all know the numbers and accolades over his career. Over 10,000 yards receiving, 3 Super Bowl championships and, of course, a Denver Broncos Legend. What many of us didn't know was the life that that led him to Canton.
There were many teary-eyed moments. As he thanks his older brother, former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Sterling Sharpe, Shannon spoke what I consider to be the greatest quote of any induction speech I have ever heard.
"I am the only person in the Hall of Fame that can say I was the 2nd best player in my own family." Despite trying, Sterling couldn't help but let the tears flow - several Broncos fans as well, I'm sure.
Sharpe thanked Dan Reeves for "remembering to draft me but forgetting to cut me". He thanked Wade Phillips, who was the first to actually play Sharpe. He thanked Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and of course, his quarterback, John Elway. One name left off the list was former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan.
Sharpe's speech spent a lot of time focusing on his 'Granny', who raised him from the time he was 3 months old. Sharpe shared a story of how, once he made it, he asked his Granny what she wanted. Her answer was 'a decent house'. Sharpe then asked what she considered a decent house.
"I want to go to sleep one night and let God have it rain as hard as it possibly can and when I wake up the house isn't wet."
That is the life Shannon Sharpe came from. That is what started the fire in Shannon to become a Hall of Famer.
I am proud to be a member of Broncos Country tonight, and would like to congratulate Shannon Sharpe for finally ending up where he belongs - in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.