Behind the Bronze: Charlie Sanders

Hall of Famers Published on : 9/22/2010

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.

Charlie Sanders

Charlie Sanders is one the great all-time tight ends. A seven-time Pro Bowl pick, he had superb leaping ability, deft hands, and speed. Sanders retired at the Detroit Lions' all-time leading receiver with 336 catches. He was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1970s and enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007. (Charlie's HOF Bio>>>)

Hobbies: That's tough. I've been around football all of my life so if there's a hobby it's something associated with the game of football.

Last Book You Read: "How to Pray for Your Adult Children." It was a very good book.

Behind the Bronze Series:

Jack Ham>>>
Joe DeLamielleure>>>

Favorite Movie: Tombstone

Favorite Music: Motown

Favorite Food: Soul food, any way you want to do it!

Favorite Current NFL Player: Peyton Manning

Favorite NFL Team as a Child: Actually, the Washington Redskins. Growing up as a child there were no franchises down south. The closest I could get to it was the Washington-New York Giants rivalry.

Favorite NFL Stadium During Your Career: My favorite was the L.A. Coliseum. I really enjoyed playing there. It usually was an opportunity to get out from the cold and come out and play with the sun shining. It created a lot of excitement for me just to say you were in California.

One Person Who Influenced You Most: Probably, my dad. He was quiet but got the message across.

Did you have any pre-game rituals/superstitions? Everything I did was superstitious – from two sticks of gum, to pine tar, to the two licks on the shoulder pad by Lem Barney, to the prayer, to the National Anthem, to which sock I put on first.

Watch: Sanders felt the 1970 Lions could have won the Super Bowl.

Was there a reason for choosing #88? That was the number they gave me. It was either going to be that or No. 80 which Jim Gibbons had. It was a matter of which tight end they were going to cut, and they cut (Ron) Kramer and gave me his number.

Toughest Opponent: Dick Butkus.

Most Influential Coach: Joe Schmidt, without a doubt.

What makes you most proud about your Hall of Fame career: I got rewarded for having fun. Sometimes when you put it that way, it doesn't seem fair (laugh).

How would you spend time during the offseason? During the time I played, you usually spent your offseason working another job and it usually paid you more than your football job. It was a necessity. I worked for Michigan Consolidated Gas Company in Detroit.

When did you realize you may someday make the Hall of Fame: I never thought I did. I knew I played as hard as I could. I knew that there were things I could've done better. I knew I had the respect of a lot of guys who were in the Hall.

How did you learn of your Hall of Fame election? They (the Hall of Fame) talked me into coming to Florida for the announcement. I was foolish enough to go and I never thought about what I was going to do if I didn't get in (laugh).

Was William Clay Ford your only choice as a presenter? Actually, yes. And, I think if it hadn't been him, it would've been Joe Schmidt.

If you could do your Enshrinement Speech over today, what would you say differently? I'd probably spend a little more time on my mom.

Your greatest accomplishment outside of football: Getting nine kids out of the house!