Johnny Robinson Enshrinement Speech

Good evening. It has been 47 years since I last played professional football.  After all this time, I thought I had been forgotten. I can't tell you how pleased I was to be notified that I had been selected as a Senior Finalist after all these years, but then to receive that knock on the door from David Baker seemed surreal to me.

I think back to when I was a young boy, and all I ever wanted to do was to play ball. I went to University High School located on the LSU campus. Because of that, I grew up watching the LSU Tigers play football. 

University High was a very small school, so I was surprised when the LSU coach, Paul Dietzel, offered me a chance to play football at LSU.  It was a dream‑come‑true story. I was fortunate enough to play on the 1958 championship team that went undefeated and earned First‑Team All‑SEC honors. I had many great teammates who became lifelong friends. 

I never dreamed that I would become a professional football player. I thought that after college I would join the Air Force and become a fighter pilot. But to my surprise, I was selected the No. 3 overall player in the 1960 Draft.

When I left for my first training camp, I remembered some of my dad's words of wisdom that he taught me: "Be a gentleman when you win; be a man when you lose. If you lose, hurt so bad that you work harder so it won't happen again.  Prepare, sacrifice and give your best.  Bring out the best in others, have faith in the Lord and always respect your mother."

I was blessed to play with a great franchise and with great players during my career.  Kansas City owner Lamar Hunt and head coach Hank Stram were wonderful, very supportive, and they both showed great faith in me. I wouldn't have wanted to play with any other team but the Kansas City Chiefs. That was where I wanted to be.

Fifty‑nine years ago was my first pro football game. That's a long time.  I remember playing like it was yesterday. I played in Super Bowl I and again in Super Bowl IV. 

In my last game, I suffered an injury, and I ended up spending five days in the hospital.  At the time, I had no idea it would be the last game of my career. That was the 1971 AFC playoff game against the Miami Dolphins on Christmas Day, which is the longest game in professional football history today.

I've been very fortunate to play in some of the most significant games in professional football history. The journey to the Pro Football Hall of Fame may have been long and the road may have been hard at times, but I found that sometimes you must go through the valley in order to stand upon the mountain.

I used to wonder why I had not been inducted into the Hall of Fame all these years since I was first eligible, but I came to realize that God was in control of my life, and I believed that God wanted me to start my boys home.

In 1980, I answered a call on my life and founded the Johnny Robinson Boys Home in Monroe, Louisiana. It is a place where boys can make positive life changes and get a fresh start on life.  You will still find me there most every day.

I want to thank my family, friends, coaches and teammates and the Hall of Fame staff, along with the city of Canton, for all your support in making this a very special day in my life.

Also, I want to thank the Lamar Hunt family, the Hank Stram family, Todd Tobias, and a special thank you to my stepson, Bob Thompson, for being my presenter here this evening. 

I also want to thank the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters who selected me for this great honor, for each Gold Jacket represented on this stage and those who aren't with us, and to each fan who supports the game called football. Being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame stands for something that will endure well beyond a player's lifetime.

God gave me the ability to play, and I played it with all my heart. Thank you.

(Cheers and applause.)



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