Behind the Bronze: Joe DeLamielleure


Two-hundred-sixty bronze busts reside in the Hall of Fame Gallery inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. They "immortalize" the greatest players, coaches, and contributors that this game has produced.

Joe DeLamielleure

Guard Joe DeLamielleure was picked in the first round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. He immediately became the anchor of the famed "Electric Company" offensive line that led the way for O.J. Simpson. "Joe D" moved on to the Cleveland Browns where he earned his final Pro Bowl berth before returning to Buffalo to end his career. A member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1970s, DeLamielleure was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 2003. (Joe's HOF Bio>>>)

Hobbies: Working out. It's a job and a hobby all wrapped into one, so I'm lucky.

Last Book You Read: The Unbroken Line by Billy Joe Dupree. I wrote one of the chapters. It's about the 1982 NFL players strike.

Favorite Movie: Without question, Rudy. And, I'm a Michigan Stater!

Behind the Bronze Series:
Jack Ham>>>
Favorite Music:

Favorite Food:
Cookies, chocolate chip.

Favorite Current NFL Player: That's a hard one. I'll go with Jared Allen.

Favorite Athlete in Another Sport: LeBron James

Favorite NFL Team as a Child: Detroit Lions

First Job: I worked in a bar as a kid. My dad owned a bar in Detroit and it's still there. I was filling salt and pepper shakers and mustard and ketchup jars. Instead of going to kindergarten I did that. First job, five years old filling salt and pepper shakers.

How much did you make? A house! A bed. I'm one of 10 kids so I was lucky to have a room.

Favorite NFL Stadium During Your Career (other than Buffalo or Cleveland): Green Bay's Lambeau Field because of the grass and the history. Coach (Jim) Ringo coached me plus I always wanted to be a Packer when I was growing up.

One Person Who Influenced You Most: My wife Gerri because I've never not known her. We've been married 39 years. We went to grade school and high school together. Without question, my wife.

Did you have any pre-game rituals/superstitions?: So many I couldn't remember them. I'd go the same route to the stadium each week. I wore the same jock, same shoes. I never changed anything.

Watch: Joe D describes his most memorable game.
Was there a reason for choosing No. 68?
They gave it to me. I had no choice.

Toughest Opponent:
That's tough because I played against Merlin Olsen and Joe Greene. So, I'm glad they didn't combine the two together.

Most Influential Coach: Jim Ringo, without question.

What makes you most proud about your Hall of Fame career: That I get to associate with Hall of Famers now, the guys who are in this Hall and made the game what it is.

How would you spend time during the offseason? I always had a job doing something. I worked in banking and the Erie County Sheriff's Department.

When did you realize you had a Hall of Fame career? When Joe Horrigan (the Hall of Fame's VP) called me and said 'you're in.'

How did you learn of your Hall of Fame election? I was actually in San Diego because I did an appearance. I didn't even know the process but they (Hall of Fame) called me from out there. It was the first time I ever went to a Super Bowl and did interviews on radio row. It was the first time I was a finalist and they (the Hall) told me that I may want to come out here. So, I was in San Diego and I actually went to a Catholic church, St. Joseph's. I had to look all over the city but I found St. Joseph's and I said 'hey, if it's meant to be, let it happen.' And, I got the call about an hour later.

Why did you pick Larry Felser as your presenter and did you consider anyone else? I considered all my brothers. I have four brothers. And, a lot of guys I played with. But, Larry Felser was a big-time pro football writer for the Buffalo News. And, he retired. I thought because he spent so much time away from home covering the Bills over the years that it would be pretty cool for his children and grandchildren to see him on stage at the Hall of Fame podium. Larry and I weren't really close but I felt it was an honor that he also deserved.

If you could do your Enshrinement Speech over today, what would you change?: A lot of "and uhs" and "buts."

Your greatest accomplishment outside of football: The greatest physical accomplishment I ever did was ride a bike to Mexico from Michigan State. It was 2,000 miles in 18 days and I never rode a bike until 10 days before the trip. That was the most challenging thing I've ever done. It's the only thing in my life that I thought, 'man I wish I didn't do this' until it was done. [BLOG: See Joe D's daily account from his bike trip to raise money for an orphanage].

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