OL / C

Kevin Mawae

Class of 2019

All-Decade Team




Pro Bowls




“I just loved playing football. I started playing when I was eight years old, and my goal was to be an NFL player, there was no ‘Plan B’ for me. And, not because I didn’t have a plan, or have other options, I just didn’t want to do anything else.”

Former NFL center Kevin Mawae speaks on stage during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019 in Canton, Ohio. (Ben Liebenberg via AP)

Enshrinement Speech

Kevin Mawae playing for the New York Jets.

Career Highlights

Kevin Mawae joined the Seattle Seahawks in 1994 as the team’s second round draft pick (36th overall). Over the next 16 seasons, Mawae evolved into one of the greatest centers in the league.

Mawae spent his first two seasons with the Seahawks as a right guard before switching exclusively to the center position for the remainder of his career. After four seasons in Seattle, Mawae signed with the New York Jets. He exhibited tremendous athleticism and was a teammate that could always be relied upon to perform his duties at a high level.

Mawae, in his first season with the Jets, helped the team earn a division title and a berth in the AFC championship game. During his years in New York, he helped pave the way for seven of Hall of Fame running back Curtis Martin’s ten 1,000-yards seasons. After eight seasons with the Jets, Mawae suffered a torn tricep in his left arm – the first major injury of his professional career. After he recovered, Mawae joined the Tennessee Titans as an unrestricted free agent in 2006.

During his tenure with the Titans, Mawae helped set a franchise benchmark in 2008 with an NFL-low (tied) 12 sacks allowed which included not allowing a sack through five consecutive games.

Mawae consistently opened huge holes for running backs as evidenced by a 1,000-yard rusher in 13 of his 16 pro seasons. The list of 1,000-yard ground gainers included Chris Warren (twice) in Seattle; Curtis Martin (seven times) with the Jets; and Travis Henry (once), LenDale White (once) and Chris Johnson (twice) with the Titans. Mawae’s career was punctuated by his final season when he led the way for Johnson’s 2,000-yard season. For his efforts, the veteran center earned one last Pro Bowl trip.

In all, Mawae received eight Pro Bowl nods, was named first-team All-Pro six times, All-AFC five times, and selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

Career Statistics

Games Played:

1994  Seattle..................................... 14

1995  Seattle..................................... 16

1996  Seattle..................................... 16

1997  Seattle..................................... 16

1998  N.Y. Jets.................................. 16

1999  N.Y. Jets.................................. 16

2000  N.Y. Jets.................................. 16

2001  N.Y. Jets.................................. 16

2002  N.Y. Jets.................................. 16

2003  N.Y. Jets.................................. 16

2004  N.Y. Jets.................................. 16

2005  N.Y. Jets................................... 6

2006  Tennessee................................ 16

2007  Tennessee................................ 14

2008  Tennessee................................ 15

2009  Tennessee................................ 16

Career Total.................................... 241

1998 AFC – Denver Broncos 23, N.Y. Jets 10

Mawae started the game at center. He had one tackle in the game.

All-League Teams

All-Pro: 1999 (AP, SN)  ·  2000 (PFWA)  ·  2001 (AP, PFWA, SN)  ·  2002 (PFWA, SN)  ·  2004 (PFWA)·  2008 (AP, PFWA)

All-Pro Second Team: 1998 (AP) ·  2000 (AP)  ·  2002 (AP)  ·  2004 (AP)

All-AFC: 1999 (PW)  ·  2000 (PW)  ·  2001 (PW)  ·  2002 (PW)  ·  2004 (PW)

Pro Bowls

(8) – 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009*, 2010

*Did not play

Awards and Honors

  • 1998 New York Jets Kyle Clifton Award
  • 2001 New York Jets Marty Lyons Award
  • 2005 New York Jets Marty Lyons Award
  • 2009 Tennessee Titans Ed Block Courage Award
  • 2000s All-Decade Team

Year-by-Year Team Records

1994     Seattle Seahawks.............. 6-10-0   (5th)

1995     Seattle Seahawks............... 8-8-0   (3rd)

1996     Seattle Seahawks............... 7-9-0   (5th)

1997     Seattle Seahawks............... 8-8-0   (3rd)

1998     N.Y. Jets......................... 12-4-0   (1st)

1999     N.Y. Jets........................... 8-8-0   (4th)

2000     N.Y. Jets........................... 9-7-0   (3rd)

2001     N.Y. Jets......................... 10-6-0   (3rd)

2002     N.Y. Jets........................... 9-7-0   (1st)

2003     N.Y. Jets......................... 6-10-0   (4th)

2004     N.Y. Jets......................... 10-6-0   (2nd)

2005     N.Y. Jets......................... 4-12-0   (4th)

2006     Tennessee Titans................ 8-8-0   (2nd)

2007     Tennessee Titans.............. 10-6-0   (3rd)

2008     Tennessee Titans.............. 13-3-0   (1st)

2009     Tennessee Titans................ 8-8-0   (3rd)

 (Division Finish in Parentheses)

Qualified for Postseason in Bold

Full Name: Kevin James Mawae

Birthdate: Jan. 23, 1971

Birthplace: Savannah, Georgia

High School: Leesville (LA)

Pro Career: 16 seasons, 241 games

Drafted: 2nd round (36th overall) in 1994 by Seattle 

This is not part of my speech, but I just want you to know I got the smokingest hot wife out here. (Cheers and applause.)

         As I begin, I must first tell you that I'm a proud Southerner from Leesville, Louisiana. (Cheers and applause.)

         I am Hawaiian, and I'm humble to be the first Kanaka Maoli to represent the people of Hawaii and the first Hawaiian to enter into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (Cheers and applause.)

         I am a born again believer through the resurrection of the blood of Jesus Christ. (Cheers and applause.)

         I proudly and humbly recognize that without God's grace and His blessings, I would not be here tonight. 

         I thank the Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors for the privilege to be on the stage tonight, specifically Gary Myers, Paul Kuharsky and John Clayton who covered me when I played and who fought for me to be here tonight. 

         To the men on the stage and those who are no longer with us or could not be here, I thank you guys. For it is you who laid the foundation of the game that I love so much, I wanted to be like you guys. Men like Dwight Stephenson, Mike Webster, Jim Otto and Anthony Muñoz. 

         I studied you with the hopes that one day I could play on the same fields that you guys did, never once thinking in my life I would be a teammate for life.  In many ways, today is the end of a journey that started 40 years ago, and yet today signals the beginning of a new one that only God knows where this will take me. 

         I reached this destination today because of the people in my life who supported me from the beginning and who have been with me throughout my entire career. To my mom and dad, David and Linda Mawae. (Cheers and applause.)

         People always ask me who are my greatest role models and who do I look up to the most growing up. It was never a hard answer; it was easy. It's always been you. (Applause.)

         My dad was a career soldier in the U.S. Army serving 23 years. (Cheers and applause.)

         During his career, he served two tours in Vietnam, one stint in Korea, two tours of Germany. Dad, I watched you take pride in putting on your uniform and packing your rucksack and taking care of your helicopters. You never cut corners, and you never looked unprepared. You taught me that if it's worth doing, then do it right the first time and don't half‑ass anything. (Cheers and applause.)

         You taught me to take responsibility for myself, don't blame others, and if you aren't going to do anything about it, then don't complain about it. (Cheers and applause.)

         You taught me to never start the fight, but you taught me I better damn well finish it. (Cheers and applause.)

         You taught me the value of walking lightly and carrying a big stick, and those lessons are great lessons that still hold values in my life today. Dad, I love you. I thank you. More than all of that, you're the greatest lesson and the greatest person that I could have had.

         Dad, the biggest thing you taught me was family. You taught me how to love your family. You taught me how to love my wife and to love my children.  You're the greatest example of how it is to be a man that I could ever asked for.  Whether I stood on this stage tonight or not, just know this: I'm proud to be your son. (Cheers and applause.)

         Mom, you were tough, and you demanded the best out of us. I can't count the number of times we had to refold our clothes because every drawer was messy. As a kid, you got in trouble if the sheets were crumpled under the covers, and we had to remake the beds countless times. 

         If we ever feared Dad when we got in trouble, we didn't have to worry about it, because the punishment couldn't be half as bad as the one you doled out before he got home. Respect and obedience was the expectation. You didn't let us off the hook, and I'm the better man for it. (Applause.)

         Raising four boys, you learned to take the bumps and bruises along the way.  You were our other teammate with our odd numbers in front yard football.  What other mom plays tackle football in the front yard with her sons? (Cheers and applause.)

         True story.  She hit hard. (Laughter.)

         But the most important thing that you ever taught me was family, to love and respect one another and to put family first. I'm here today because what you and Dad instilled in me from the very beginning, and I love you and I thank you. 

         To my brothers Scott and Mark: Outside of my wife, Tracy, and Mom and Dad, you are my greatest fans and my largest critics. There wasn't a game that I won that I didn't talk to either one of you right after the game and the ones I lost you guys were really quick to tell me how bad I played. Mark, for every Wampus Cat Friday night where we called before kickoff, and, Scott, for every postgame critique, whether you were on the oil rig or not, you are my best friends. (Applause.) I love you, and I love your families.(Cheers and applause.)

         On May 5th, 1996, our brother was tragically killed in an alcohol‑related car accident. Shortly after that, news came that my wife was pregnant with our son, Kirkland. Those two moments changed my life and the direction and purpose of my life forever. And that extreme sorrow followed by great joy, my focus turned to faith as I learned of the redemptive power of Jesus Christ and the purpose of living in His name. (Cheers and applause.) Whether it be through encouragement, wisdom or resources, I learned that God can use one person to change the lives of hundreds and even thousands. My journey to football became a platform for the purpose of changing lives and sharing the gospel. 

         My biggest regret is that our brother, John, never got a chance to see me play in the NFL and celebrate this night with us today. But I believe God has a special place in the skybox he's looking down on us right now. (Cheers and applause.) John is not here, but he's never forgotten, and we love you. 

         Felix and Carol Hicks: When it comes to in‑laws, I hit the jackpot. I could never thank you enough for all the love and support and for all you've done for Tracy and I. Thank you so very much. (Applause.)

         To my kids, Kirkland and Abigail: Being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a tremendous honor, but my two greatest joys are the accomplishments of you two. No football moment has ever equaled the days each of you were born, the two greatest days of my life. You each were answers to specific prayers: To have a son who's healthy and strong, and to have a righteous and beautiful daughter. There's nothing, nothing, that you guys can do that would ever take my love away from you. I love you, and I'm proud of you. (Cheers and applause.)

         To my wife of 26 years, Tracy. (Cheers.) There are not enough words that I could share with you or to tell this audience how much you have meant to me on the grandest journey that we have had together. Every training camp, every free agent visit, injuries, surgery, every win, every loss, every contract negotiation, every home game, and away games, too, from LSU, Seattle, New York and Tennessee, you have been my horizon. The landscape has shifted, and the scenery changed, but you have always been the constant in my life, and you have been my True North. (Applause.) God gave me a gift in you, and you believed in me with or without football. You're my greatest fan, you're my greatest cheerleader and you're by best friend. If the Hall of Fame ever needed a ‑‑ if the Hall of Fame ever made a bust of what an NFL wife should look like, they only need to seek you. You are the epitome of a Hall of Fame wife. (Cheers and applause.)

         That was the hard part. I got through that. 

         Webster defines a journey as a traveling from one place to another, usually taking a long time. A journey is full of lessons and full of memories, good and bad, and those shape who we become. 

         My journey began at the age of 8 in a small town of Hanau, Germany. It was with the Hanau Panthers that Coach Fred Moses ignited a fire in me that began the journey of a lifetime. At such an early age, I learned from Coach Moses a love for the game of football and how to respect the game. I learned to love the preparation, the plays and the puzzle. I loved putting on my uniform and lacing up my cleats. 

         Coach Moses's rule was never to come through the gate without your cleats on and your attitude right. I learned to never step on the field without being ready to work.  At 4 o'clock, even if Coach Moses wasn't on the field, you started practice. You start warmups. You run your routes. You go through your playbooks and go through your plays. And, yes, at 8 years old in flag football, I had a playbook. It was on game days with Coach Moses that I learned how to prepare mentally for a game. He was the manager of the base movie theater, and on game day he made the entire team sit in that theater, lights out, and mentally visualize what you're about to do and visualize the game, run through your plays in your own mind, think about what you're about to do next and, most of all, envision winning. 

         I never played a game not taking that approach. Coach Moses, thank you for teaching me to love this game. For the very first practice with Coach Moses, I knew I wanted to play in the NFL, and who would have known that 40 years later that journey would have brought me to Canton, Ohio. (Cheers and applause.)

         After four years of playing at Germany, my journey took me to Leesville, Louisiana, where my dad was assigned to ‑‑ (Cheers.) ‑‑ Fort Polk. Nobody ever chooses Fort Polk and it just happens to choose you. It's also called Fort Puke for some people, but that's OK. It is there that I played for the black and gold of the Leesville Wampus Cats. (Cheers.)

         My freshman year I once traveled with the JV team, and I didn't play in the game. I was so pissed. It was then that I made the decision I would never step on a football bus and not step on the grass. Not because I complained or threw a fit or because I had my parents call my coaches, but because I will work hard and do all I could and that coaches couldn't not put me in next time. 

         Coach James Williams from Leesville at that moment on the sideline taught me not only to believe in myself but to earn what I believed in. Specifically, I want to thank my two head coaches at Leesville, Daddy Jack Andre and Brownie Parmalee, and my offensive line coach, Tom Neubert. (Cheers.) Each of you guided me and pushed me in ways that you will never know, and Friday nights in the Wampa Dome in west-central Louisiana will never be forgotten. (Cheers and applause.)

         To my teammates, my Wampus Cat teammates and all the people of Leesville who supported me along the way, tonight I recognize you, I thank you, and you're going into the Hall with me. (Cheers and applause.)

         While at LSU we didn't see much success on the football field but playing in the purple and gold will always and forever be a part of my journey. (Cheers and applause.)

         One of my first calls ‑‑ one of my first calls upon election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame was the coach who recruited me to be a Tiger. It was the greatest call that I ever made. When he answered it and I told him who I was, he started crying. He couldn't believe that I would call him on such the occasion.  Joe Wessel, you believed in me, and I thank you. (Applause.)

         I want to thank Coach Mike Archer, who signed me at that 1989 signing class. You allowed me to continue on to fulfill a dream of a childhood, and I thank you. Coach Kenny Ferro. He's my first offensive line coach in college, and he is by far the best O‑line coach that nobody has ever heard of. (Applause.)

         I thank you for teaching me the importance of techniques and strong fundamentals of offensive line play.  You taught me the game of football starts from the ground up, feet first. And just as my football journey has taken many steps, you taught me literally that offensive line play is built upon a thousand tiny steps. Now that I'm in the coaching ranks, I look back on how you coached us at LSU and what you meant to us. We were never just your players. We were always your boys. You taught me that if you love your players, they will return it with effort and execution. The relationship was more important than the coaching. You were the first coach ‑‑ you were the very first coach that ever told me that I had what it takes to play in the NFL, confirming in me what I always believed in my heart. And I will never forget that, and I love you, Coach. (Applause.)

         Larry Zierlein: You were a godsend when you got to LSU in my senior year. Times were tough in those last three years, but you brought me perspective. You showed me that a coach doesn't have to degrade you, dog-cuss you and demean his players to get them to perform. I leaned on you in that last season, and you challenged me to be a better player and a better leader.  I'm thankful for that day, and even today that I can still call you coach, but more importantly I call you my friend. Thank you, and I love you. (Applause.)

         Throughout my NFL career, I had the opportunity to play for some great coaches with whom I still have relationships today. Legendary Tom Flores, you will be on this stage soon, and I thank you for drafting me to the Seattle Seahawks ‑‑ (Cheers and applause.) ‑‑ and giving me the opportunity to play in the NFL, and you made my childhood dream become a reality. 

         Many people thought Bill Parcells was crazy for paying a center what he did when I became a free agent in '98. I think this moment right now proves that Bill was right all along. (Applause.) Bill taught me that not everybody gets treated ‑‑ excuse me, Bill taught me that everybody gets treated fairly, but not everybody has to be treated the same.  He never lets you get comfortable. 

         I remember in 1998 we played the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead, and we beat the Chiefs. Everybody's boarding the plane, laughing and joking around. And those of you that know Bill knows what he does. He looks at me and said: "Hey, Mawae, what the" (pause) "are you smiling at? I didn't bring you here to beat the Chiefs. You'd better start thinking about how you're going to block Ted Washington next week." He confirmed to me that the idea of what you did today ‑‑ what you did yesterday looks good today, you've accomplished nothing yet. Bill, I thank you for what you did for my career. I'll never forget the lessons I learned from you, and I appreciate you.

         Herm Edwards: You taught me it's OK to be you, to play with a passion that is individually inherent to your own personality but not to the detriment to your team or to disrespect the game. (Cheers and applause.) I thank you for our time together with the New York Jets, and I thank you even now as I'm a member on your staff at Arizona State. Forks up, Coach. (Applause.)

         Jeff Fisher and Floyd Reese: Thank you for bringing me to Tennessee. It was a great place to end my career. You saw me a leader and a culture changer. Thank you for believing I still had gas in the tank. Every offensive lineman should hope to have the O‑line coaches that I had the privilege of playing for. Howard Mudd, you gave me the freedom to find my boundaries, even if it wasn't within "Mudd's Method." Howard's grading system was simple: Did you block your man? Yes or no. And after 16 years in the league, Howard, I can still tell you that I had more yeses than noes. I thank you even now for your mentorship as a pursuit of my dream of being a great offensive line coach. 

         Bill Muir: You taught me to see the bigger picture and not just to see my assignment. Under you the game slowed down. I'll always be grateful for our time together, and I thank you. 

         Doug Marrone: You gave me appreciation for the history of the game and particularly the position that I played. You always explained the whys of scheme and techniques, things that I never considered, and I thank you. 

         And to Mike Munchak: I'll always appreciate your approach to the game.   (Cheers and applause.) Respect your opponent, but don't ever give them too much respect. And it's not just good enough to be a pro, but be a professional in all that you do. As my career came to an end, I came to appreciate the stories of you when you came back from this very ceremony and what it meant to you as a Hall of Famer to be here. Today I thank you for allowing me the honor of being your teammate for life. Thanks, Munch. (Applause.)

         On an occasion such as this, there are groups of people who must be recognized. To my agents, Mark Bartelstein and Rick Smith, Dave Copeland, every one of you guys and everybody at Priority Sports: You are first class.  Early in my career you knew my value, even when the team management didn't.  You fought for me, gave me sound business advice and you never steered me in the wrong direction. You allowed me to focus on the field while I trusted you off of it.  That faith led me to the New York Jets and launched me into this Hall of Fame career. My career is over, but our friendships remain, and I thank you guys. (Applause.)

         While at LSU, I learned from the late, great Jeff Boss that the most important person ‑‑ and it's for all you young football players out there -- the most important person in that building is your equipment manager. To all my equipment managers: Your jobs are selfless and thankless. So JB, EK, Clay, Gus, and Hoss, you and your assistants: I thank every one of you for being a part of my journey. 

         To all my athletic trainers, John Purdy, the late Jimmy Whitesell and late David Price, John Melody and Brad Brown and all your assistants and your medical staffs: You always put me back together, and you kept me on the field. I thank every one of you for being a part of my journey. (Applause.)

         To all my strength and conditioning coaches, particularly Dana LeDuc, John Lott and Steve Watterson: Each one of you taught me to buy in and to push myself to limits that I didn't know I could get to in the offseason so that the regular season would be easy. I learned that the commitment in the weight room in Week 16 was just as important as a Week 1 in the spring. I know I had the career because of that emphasis, and I believe it then and I even believe it now, like John Lott always says, and I know he's listening: "If you ain't cleaning and you ain't squatting, you ain't playing in the NFL very long." 

         To my team chaplains, Karl Payne, Scott Matheny and Reggie Pleasant: Thank you for your spiritual guidance. Your unique calling to minister to professional athletes always gave me Godly perspective, and I thank each and every one of you. In this group I would be remiss not to mention one of my greatest friends and my personal pastor, Dino Rizzo. (Applause.) You married Tracy and I, and nearly every significant decision in my career was made with prayer and counsel with you. I thank you for you godly wisdom, and I'm truly, truly grateful for our friendship.  

         To my family at the NFLPA, the late Gene Upshaw, Clark Gaines, Jason Belser, Scottie Graham, Richard Berthelsen, Dee Smith, George Atallah, and everyone else at 63 Upshaw Place: You helped me to serve not just my team but to serve every player in the NFL. If we were to write a book, I promise you it would be a bestseller. 

         Though I played against many opponents who challenged me to be my very best, many of whom are here tonight, there's one coach in particular that I must recognize, Coach Bill Belichick. (Cheers and applause.) I see all the Jets and the Patriots, and there's a delineation right there. But Coach Bill Belichick, I never felt more challenged mentally in a game than when I faced your teams. I came to love the puzzle of figuring out your defense and the chess match those games became. I didn't win all of them. In fact, my teams lost most of them. I think we were 4‑13 against you. That sucked. That was awful. (Laughter.)       Still hate the Patriots. Everybody hates the winners. But holding your defense to zero sacks or having big rushing games came with a great sense of accomplishment. Congratulations to you and all your successes, and thank you for making me a better player. 

         Zach Thomas was my nemesis. My first year with the Jets, before the first game we each played against each other, Bill Parcells told me in front of my entire team: If you don't block Thomas, we won't win the game. And for the next 16 matchups, I never forgot that. Zach was one of, if not the, smartest players I ever faced. He loved the game, had fun when he played it, and he brought the best out in me. When people ask me who's not in the Hall of Fame and that I think should be here, it's an easy one for me: No. 54 from the Miami Dolphins. (Cheers and applause.)

         To my Tiger teammates, here or not: We had some very tough times. '89 through '93 were the forgotten years in LSU's football history, but we won't forget what we went through, and we went through together and the challenges we faced. Know this: I will be forever LSU. (Cheers and applause.) Geaux Tigers.  Ray Donaldson, Jim Sweeney, Howard Ballard and Eugene Robinson: You taught me how to be professionals as a young player. 

         Vinny Testeverde: I will never forget you drawing plays on your chest during the game in the Monday Night Miracle. You were one of the best. That's a true story. "Hey, Q, you run one of these and you run one of those and, Curtis, you do one of these, I'm going to hit you there." You're one of the best drill generals I ever had the privilege of playing for. Sorry, Warren Moon, wherever you're at. There you go. Sorry. You were good, too. (Laughter.) You remain my all‑time favorite quarterback. Thank you. 

         Wayne Chrebet: Your underdog mentality, your work ethic and your passion for the game made you one of my all‑time favorite teammates, and I appreciated being your teammate, and I thank you. 

         Curtis Martin: We will forever be linked by our time with the New York Jets.  I know you're up here somewhere.  Being a part of the year which you were the oldest player to win the rushing title still stands out above all memories, but knowing you did that and your longest run of the season was only 25 yards still amazes me. Caught from behind Curt. 

         Jason Fabini: Of all my O‑line teammates, we played together the longest.  If I had a dollar for every time you asked me to slide your way, I'd be more rich. (Laughter.) For eight years with the Jets we accomplished many great things. We got oh‑so‑close to the Super Bowl. And I saw his face up here the other day. If it wasn't for John Elway, you know, it is what it is. Thanks, John. (Cheers.)

         Grant Williams and Rick Lyle: Our relationships go well beyond the playing field. I had over a thousand teammates, but you were two of my best friends, and you're my brothers for life, and I love you both. Thank you, guys. 

         Michael Scott ‑‑ excuse me, Michael Roos, Jake Scott, Eugene Amano, David Stewart, Alge Crumpler, Ahmard Hall, Kerry Collins, Vince Young and Chris Johnson and the rest of my Titans teammates: Who could forget CJ2K?  You all helped make my last year one to remember. (Cheers and applause.)

         To all my teammates: If you're here, please stand up. All my teammates. If you're here, please stand up. All of them. (Cheers and applause.) Whether you're a Wampus Cat, a Tiger, a Seahawk, a Jet or a Titan, know this: That each one of you holds a special place in my heart. We sweat, we bled, we cried and we rejoiced together. Together we were miserable in the dog days of summer in training camp, we celebrated close victories and we commiserated miserable losses. You trusted me to do my job. You held me accountable on the field, and some of us did life together off of it. You were teammates, you are friends, you are my brothers, and I thank each and every one of you for being a part of my journey. We did this. Kevin didn't do this; we all did this. Thank you. (Cheers and applause.)

         The game of football is the greatest game in the world. There are few environments where a group of people of different upbringings, different backgrounds, different races, religions and regions can come together and put aside every one of those differences for the common goal of putting a team together to win a game. And in that process, each one of us finds out about something of ourselves and finds answers to some of life's most difficult questions:  Do I have what it takes to be the very best? Can I lose my ego for the good of the team? Can I bounce back after a major defeat? Can I continue on when I feel like shutting down? Can I respect the differences of my teammates and others and still succeed in a highly competitive environment? Can I work with others that I don't like just because it benefits everybody else and not just me? Am I willing, can I give more of myself and I'm willing to sacrifice so somebody else can be successful? 

         The game of football taught me accountability. It taught me discipline, sacrifice, and selflessness. It developed in me grit, tenacity and confidence. It challenged my faith. It grew my loyalty. It sealed my legacy. 

         That journey that started 40 years ago on a European continent and took me to the Deep South, the northern corners of this great country and parts in between. The journey that encompassed many miles, many friends, numerous lessons and a lifetime of memories -- today that journey finally ends.  Today I stand at the doorstep of football immortality. I knock on this door and I tell all of you I am home. Thank you, guys, very much. (Cheers and applause.)

         Thank you.