Otto applauds Joe D on walk

07/19/2013

Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure will complete his 213-mile walk from Buffalo to Canton on Saturday morning. He has been walking more than 20 miles a day since a week ago Wednesday to raise awareness for children needing prosthetic legs.

There is one particular fellow Hall of Famer who has paid special attention to the walk as the cause is near and dear to his heart.

Legendary Oakland Raiders Center Jim Otto struggled through five artificial knee surgeries over a ten-year period. Each time, infection set in and Otto nearly lost his life several times. The very difficult ordeal came to a head in 2007 when doctors told the once vibrant lineman that there was nothing else that could be done and informed him that they would have to amputate his leg above the knee. Within hours of his consent, Otto’s leg was gone.

Today, the Class of 1980 enshrinee is again enjoying a relatively normal life with his prosthetic leg. His amputation above the knee is the hardest to adjust to a prosthetic leg. While he admittedly shared he can’t get around as well as he once did, he considers himself blessed. He doesn't take life for granted and savors every moment such as a recent fishing trip.

“Never once have I felt sorry for myself,” he shared by phone on Thursday. “Never once have I had the woe is 'me crap.’”

Otto proudly shared that he’ll be back in Canton for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Golden Anniversary Reunion on Aug. 2-4. He further stated that when his name is announced, he’ll be walking up that stage.

“I’m very thankful that number one, I’m alive,” he said. “I’m alive and the fact they do have prosthetic devices that I can get around is something I really appreciate. I really do.”

Otto, the American Football League’s all-time center and 12-time all-star, described how he cried after the recent Boston Marathon bombing.

“I didn’t cry for me,” he explained. “All I could do is think about those young people and what they and their families were going through. Then you see how they come out of it all with smiles on their faces. They’re doing it! And Joe’s doing it for them.”

It is Otto’s hope that DeLamielleure’s walk receives enough attention to raise significant awareness for the plight of those needing prosthetic legs.

“Joe’s efforts to bring attention to this is fantastic,” he said. “Only a Hall of Famer would think about doing that.”


DeLamielleure, Joe, Otto, Jim
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