I was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014—and it pretty much meant the world to me. To be formally acknowledged as one of the best who’s ever played the game of football, well, not a whole lot can top that (okay, maybe the births of my kids, but I might have to call it a tie). The honor marked the accumulation of a 15-year career and the people who helped me along the way, because I sure didn’t do it alone. I owe it to my family and my teammates because without them I definitely wouldn’t have the career I have now or even had the chance to play football.
The very talented Blair Buswell is the sculptor who created my Hall of Fame bust, and that whole experience was really, really cool. The word on the street was that the longer you sat with the artist, the better the bust would come out. So I spent a lot of time with Blair, and I’m sure at some point he was wondering when I was going to stop talking and leave already. I also got some advice that smiling during your sitting was a no-no, because smiling doesn’t come out well in bronze. What I told them was, if I don’t smile, nobody’s gonna know who it is … and that thing is going to live forever in the Hall of Fame. So, I sat patiently while they measured the gap between my front teeth every which way it could be measured, and at the end of the day, I think the sculpture came out great and looks like me.
Of course, I keep the sculpture at Strayland, in my man cave, and in a place of real honor: right at the bar. So, if anybody gets any ideas about trying to drink any of the good stuff without my permission, there I am, looking and watching!