Shannon Sharpe's brash and obnoxious personality analyzing football for CBS often drives me up the wall. In fact, I dislike Sharpe as an analyst enough to say he's part of the reason I don't watch CBS's pre-game show.
So when I got ready to listen to Sharpe speak about entering the Hall of Fame I couldn't stop myself from wondering how much nonsense he was going to spew out. I tried to keep an open mind, but I didn't have to.
Sharpe's first statement brought the audience to it's feet with a rousing applause that lasted almost an entire minute:
I'm the only player of the 267 men that has walked through this building to my left that can honestly say this: I'm the only pro football player that is in the Hall of Fame and I'm the second-best player in my own family
Sharpe is, of course, talking about his older brother Sterling, a wide receiver who is not currently in the Hall of Fame.
And the speech continued this way, with countless reminders of his brother's impact on his life and the touching story of his grandmother who raised him.
Sharpe spoke with such raw emotion, excitement, happiness and gratitude that it was hard to even imagine his ridiculous comments on CBS's show anymore; all traces of that man vanished at the podium.
The three-time Super Bowl champion is in the Hall of Fame for obvious statistical reasons—eight Pro Bowls, four first-team All-Pros, 815 catches, 10,060 yards, 62 touchdowns—but he was also a game-changer.
Sharpe's former tight end records, now owned by Tony Gonzalez, set the stage for the evolution of the position as we know it. Before Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Jason Witten there was Shannon Sharpe.
Listen to his speech, clear your mind of any prejudices you may have against him as an analyst, and at the very core you'll hear the words of a man who is genuinely honored to be a member of the Hall of Fame.