Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection with the , was honored Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012 as a “Hometown Hall of Famer™” by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company
. A special plaque ceremony took place at Putnam City High School in Warr Acres, Okla., in front of an audience of more than 1,700 students, faculty, family, friends and local community members including Sally Kern, a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and Pat Woolley, Warr Acres Mayor.
Largent’s former high school baseball coach Larry Guerkink presented the plaque, speaking of Largent’s dedication and determination to “work hard at it” both on and off the field. Guerkink told students that they should follow Largent’s example and never let adversity stand in the way of their hopes and aspirations.
Loud cheers from the audience and a performance from the pep band and school’s cheerleading squad accompanied Largent as he unveiled the plaque with Guerkink by his side. Moving over to the podium, Largent spoke of the moments when he had been doubted and said that it was these moments that lit a fire within him to overcome the obstacles and hardship he faced.
“Growing up, things didn’t always come easy for me,” said Largent. “The environment I found myself in at home wasn’t exactly conducive to having a driven or motivated attitude. In fact, when I attended Putnam High School I was lucky to get a B. It wasn’t until a counselor told me I needed to go to trade school or get a job after graduation, because I wouldn't survive in college academically, that things finally clicked for me.”
“I want to thank my coaches, teachers and guidance counselors for lighting the fire that helped me discover the motivation I needed to change the rest of my life,” Largent continued. “I want this plaque to represent a symbol of encouragement and hope about your future because there should be nothing that can hold you back.”
In addition to the plaque, a commemorative Steve Largent “Hometown Hall of Famer ™” road sign will be on display in Warr Acres.
Additional speakers included Master of Ceremonies and Oklahoma City Mayor, Mike Cornett; Mark Muse, a Bethany Allstate agent; and George Veras, President and CEO of Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises.
“This plaque represents the hard work, perseverance and community that helped Steve Largent get to the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” said Veras. “Just like Steve, don’t let adversity prevent you from achieving your goals and becoming a Hall of Famer in whatever path you choose.”
A fourth-round draft choice of the Houston Oilers in the 1976 NFL Draft
, Largent played only four pre-season games before being traded to the expansion where he had an immediate impact on the team’s success with 54 receptions his rookie year.
Playing in all but four games during his first 13 seasons in the NFL, Largent amassed 13,089 yards receiving and 100 touchdowns as a Seahawk during his 15-year career. At the time of his retirement, Largent owned six career receiving records and at one point caught passes in 177 straight games.
“I am proud and honored to be here today to recognize Pro Football Hall of Famer member Steve Largent as well as Putnam City High School,” said Muse. “This plaque symbolizes hard work and dedication which is something that we at Allstate know, understand and value.”
Largent was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
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