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Chris Hanburger Hall of Fame Speech


The following is a transcript of Chris Hanburger's Hall of Fame induction speech on Aug. 6, 2011 in Canton, Ohio:

"I tell you one thing, I brought that boy, (son, Chris Hanburger, his presenter) up right. That's for sure. Before I get started, it's hard for me to see at my age, up close and far away, but there are some guys that I played with out there, I think. I can see one of them because he's got a full head of gray hair that attracted my attention. That's Billy Kilmer. There he goes.

"Ron McDole, the dancing bear, defensive end, and I think Brig Owens might be out there. There he is. And I'm not sure about Pat Fischer, I think Pat was coming. And Larry Brown, I don't know if he made it. There he is. Thank you, guys.

"This is something that I never gave a thought to, and I'm most appreciative of it. When it all got going, we were told that we had six to eight minutes, and I don't think anybody's going to tell Richard Dent not to exceed that.

"But I got to thinking about this when I realized where my finances were bringing my children, their families, my grandkids and everybody else up here. I thought, well, you know what? I think I'll try to sell some of my time.

"I knew Richard Dent was out, because if I upset him, I was dead. Marshall Faulk was out because he walks around with his phone texting and Twittering and whatever else all day long, and I realized that there were two other guys that do a lot of talking on TV and everything else. I figured Shannon Sharpe would be the easiest guy to start with. I closed him real quick, put a wad of cash in my pocket.

"I went to the last guy, Primetime, he told me I had to go talk to his agent (laughing). And I told him I don't talk to agents. The next thing I know he's doing all this stuff and trying to get a discount. I'm only kidding, but I congratulate all of the inductees for this year. These are great guys. These guys down here are wonderful.

"It's been a tremendous thrill for me. I've known a lot of these guys. I've played with some of them, but I've known the names. I've never had a chance to meet guys in the Hall of Fame before like this. For me it's a tremendous honor, just a great honor.

"There is another guy out there, I believe he's here, Joe Mark. I don't know where you are, Joe, but if you're out there please stand. There he is. This is a guy at the University of North Carolina where I went to college, back when I was in college you could only substitute a couple of players when the ball turned over, other than that you just stayed on the field and played offense and defense, and I used to go in as a sophomore and for the All-American receiver we had.

"After that year Coach Mark grabbed me and said, Son, you better learn how to snap the ball. You're going to play center, and not only do you have to get it to the quarterback, but you have to get it back to the punter and for extra points.

"All summer I'd worked on that and never did get it down very well. But that's how I got to play linebacker, because the center became linebacker on defense. I think they were just running out of folks to grab when I got drafted. It was like throwing darts at a board and somebody hit my name and the Redskins got stuck with me.

"But I want to thank all you folks for being here. I think it's fantastic. It's overwhelming for me. I had a blast in the parade today. The folks of Canton, you all are tremendous. I think the support is just great. I thank all the volunteers. For those of you who don't know, there are over 4,000 people that volunteer their time to help put this whole week together for all of us, and I thank them. I thank the folks from the Hall of Fame itself. They have been most helpful for all of us.

"I know it's been very confusing for me. To be honest with you, I try to stay out of it and I dump it on everybody else. I don't understand the process to get in here at all. I don't know who is involved in the voting, the nominations, et cetera. But I can tell you one thing, I thank those folks very much. This is one of the greatest moments in my life, and I mean that from my heart.

"I will tell you that I respect this so much because when I think that there were so many players that played before I did. There are men that I played with and against, and there's guys playing now. Unfortunately nominations aren't going to come their way, an election is not going to come their way.

"But it's a system. It is what it is. That's why I'm just so fortunate. It's not so much what I did by any means. I look at it as what the people around me did on the field that let me kind of try to be somewhat of a loose cannon out there or just run around like a chicken with his head cut off not knowing exactly what I was doing.

"I don't think folks here that are Hall of Famers are sitting here, I don't consider myself a true Hall of Famer. I say that because to me, I'm an Army brat. I spent two years in the Army right out of high school before I went to college to me the real Hall of Fame people are all the men and women of our armed forces, all the men and women in law enforcement, and all the firefighters, men and women. These people, to me, go over and beyond making a tackle or a blitz or doing anything, completing a pass. They're wonderful people.

"I just ask you when you get a chance, just thank them. Two words, thank you. That means the world to them. I appreciate so much my family. You've met my son. I have two daughters, and my wife Evelyn out there. They keep wanting me to smile more. They keep wanting me to change. All I can tell you is it isn't going to happen. I am what I am, and nothing's changing.

"But I tell you what, I am just overwhelmed by this. It's just a great time in my life. People ask me, what is the greatest thing before this happened? And I would say getting elected to the first Pro Bowl, because back then the people you played against voted you in, and to me that was just the ultimate honor. But this takes the cake.

"Thank you so much for being here. Thank you. It's the greatest thing in my life right now."

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