It was an exciting and emotional day on Tuesday, Nov. 5, for Pro Football Hall of Famer as he made his first return visit to his alma mater, Woodlawn Leadership Academy in Shreveport, La., since graduation. The Shreveport community was ecstatic to welcome back their hometown legend and gave Bradshaw a reception he won’t soon forget as part of Allstate Insurance and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s “Hometown Hall of Famers™” program.
Before the “Hometown Hall of Famers™” ceremony kicked off in the Woodlawn Leadership Academy auditorium, Bradshaw took time to wander the halls of his high school, reminiscing of his days spent in the classroom and out on the football field. He sang the school’s alma mater for those around him, proving that he could still remember the song. A proclamation was made on behalf of Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover to begin the ceremony.
A highlight video of Bradshaw’s NFL career was shown to the audience before Allstate representative Bob Duhe took the stage. A former college football opponent, Duhe discussed playing in games against Bradshaw, even showing him an old football program he had kept. “Like , we at Allstate know and understand the value of hometown pride, which I can see here today at Woodlawn Leadership Academy,” Duhe said. “That is why we are a part of this program.”
Bradshaw’s high school football coach, Lee Hedges, served as the plaque presenter during the ceremony, sharing several stories about Bradshaw and noting how Woodlawn shaped him to become the person he is today. “This program is not about me, or Terry. It’s about Woodlawn High School,” Hedges said.
The crowd erupted as Bradshaw entered through the back of the auditorium, passing by and shaking hands with the Woodlawn football team on his way to the stage with the school’s spirit stick in hand. He noted his appreciation for the Louisiana community and returned the crowd’s sentiment with a speech filled with energy, humor and sound advice. He was sure to thank everyone in attendance, including a special thank you to his mother and several of his former coaches who were in the audience. “Everything in life begins and ends,” Bradshaw said. “The great thing is the journey is in the middle, and that part is fun.”
Additional speakers included George Veras of Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises. “This ceremony is not about football. This is about the lessons this community is giving you today,” Veras said. “This plaque commemorates you and your community.”
In addition to the plaque, a commemorative “Hometown Hall of Famers™” road sign will be on display in Shreveport.
A quarterback from Louisiana Tech University, Bradshaw was the first player selected overall in the 1970 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He went on to become one of the most dominant quarterbacks in the NFL with his powerful throwing arm and on-field leadership skills. Bradshaw led the Steelers to eight AFC Central Division championships and four Super Bowl titles in a six-season span from 1974 to 1979.
In his 14-season career, Bradshaw completed 2,025 of 3,901 passes for 27,989 yards and 212 touchdowns. He also rushed for 2,257 yards and 32 touchdowns. Bradshaw was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player by the Associated Press and many other news organizations in 1978. He was elected to three Pro Bowls, is a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1970s and was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowls XII and XIV.
Bradshaw was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989.
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