, the only member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame born in Arizona, returned to his high school alma mater to accept his Hometown Hall of Famer™ plaque on Thursday afternoon. The event, part of a national program presented by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company, took place at Agua Fria High School in Avondale, Ariz.
The former guard was recognized in the school’s gymnasium in front of a crowd of more than 1,600 students, friends and family members. Student Body President C.J. Karl welcomed those in attendance to the historic plaque dedication ceremony recognizing the community and high school as an extension of the Pro Football Hall of Fame now that McDaniel’s plaque will be permanently displayed at the school. O.K. Fulton, who served as McDaniel’s Hall of Fame presenter in 2009 and is a hometown legend in his own right in Avondale, introduced McDaniel to the audience on hand.
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McDaniel made a special entrance into the gym as the school band played and cheerleaders chanted. He made his way through the crowd as he stopped to shake hands with the football team along the way. He then gave a compelling speech that was capped off by a statement in which he acknowledged borrowing a line from “my friends at Allstate” before reminding students they are “in good hands” in the Avondale community.
Additional speakers during the plaque ceremony included George Veras, Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises president/CEO; and Charlie Lala, a local representative with Allstate Insurance Company.
Veras shared, "Today inspired the next generation of his alma mater, evoking the lessons learned on the way to the Hall of Fame when he said, 'You each have the potential to be your own Hall of Famer, but you must challenge yourself not to back down from the fear of the unknown. I was scared many times from high school thru college, that I would not succeed, but I forced myself to never back away from hard work and effort. You can do the same.'”
“To be part of a program that brings the prestige and tradition of the Pro Football Hall of Fame to communities like Avondale is an honor for Allstate, our agents and employees,” said Lisa Cochrane, Allstate’s senior vice president of marketing.
McDaniel had a standout career at Agua Fria and then starred at Arizona State University. He helped lead the Sun Devils to their first Rose Bowl appearance in 1987.
His NFL career began in 1988 when he was selected 19th overall by the . He made an instant impact as he earned all-rookie honors with the Vikings. He started 202 consecutive games and blocked for six 1,000-yard rushers and five 3,000-yard passers. In addition to his 12 straight Pro Bowl appearances, McDaniel was also named All-Pro for nine consecutive seasons during his time with the Vikings. He finished his 14-season career by playing two final years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Hometown Hall of Famers™ will next honor Larry Wilson
in Rigby, Idaho, at Rigby High School on Thursday, March 29.
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