Ohio State Football: Why Chris Spielman Is My All-Time Favorite Buckeye

Chip MinnichCorrespondent INovember 20, 2009

20 Oct 1991:  Detroit Lions linebacker Chris Spielman stands on the sidelines during game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.  The 49ers won the game 35-3. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule Jr.  /Allsport
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Ohio State football fans admire and respect players for various reasons. Attend any Ohio State game and you will see fans wearing the jersey numbers of current players such as Terrelle Pryor and Dane Sanzenbacher, as well as former players such as Archie Griffin or James Laurinaitis.

My favorite Ohio State player, past or present, is Chris Spielman. Spielman played linebacker for Ohio State from 1984-1987, and is arguably the best linebacker in the history of Ohio State football.

Chris Spielman's passion and intensity on the football field were something to behold. Even though Spielman was not the biggest or fastest linebacker, few had Spielman's natural football instincts to find the ball and make the play.

While Chris Spielman's football talents are something to continue to admire, my respect for Chris Spielman has nothing to do with football whatsoever. The reason why Chris Spielman is the Buckeye I admire the most is because of his devotion to his wife and family.

In 1998, Chris Spielman took the year off from playing for the NFL's Buffalo Bills to care for his wife Stefanie and his young children. To show his support for his wife Stefanie, who was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, Chris Spielman shaved his own head.

Following his retirement from the NFL in 1999, Chris Spielman became a radio talk show host for 97.1 The Fan FM in Columbus, Ohio. Spielman also is a college football analyst for ESPN, and has become one of my favorite analysts due to his insightful commentary.

Stefanie Spielman lost her battle with cancer on November 19, 2009, dying at the age of 42. My sincere condolences go out to Chris Spielman and his family on the loss of his wife.

While I have immense respect for Chris Spielman's athletic accomplishments, my admiration for Chris Spielman for what he did for his wife and family is somewhere beyond the stratosphere. Chris Spielman is truly an athlete that I consider a role model for myself as a husband and father, by virtue of what he did for his wife and family.