Marvin Harrison Enshrinement speech

Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium
August 6, 2016

Marvin Harrison:

Thank you very much. Before I begin, I just want to say one thing. I've broken a lot of records, I've held a lot of records, and records are made to be broken. But my current Hall of Famers that I sit here on my left and my right, I just want to tell you one thing, I'm not going to break the record to have the shortest speech in Hall of Fame history. That's not going to happen.

To my fellow Enshrinees that are going in with me, in the Class of 2016, I just want to say thank you to you guys. I couldn't be going into a Hall of Fame with a better group of guys than you guys. We've had a great time since February, and I want to say thank you to you guys. We all deserve it.

Throughout the year, I look back on a couple things. Sometimes we as people, we overlook some of the small things in life that probably got us here to this point. And I just want to show you a couple of examples of what I mean. At my high school back in Philadelphia, Roman Catholic High School, I had a few teachers who took their time, their days off before school, after school, before practise and after practise to help myself and other students prepare for their SATs. And I've always said, what would have happened if you didn't have that extra year of eligibility to play college sports? I probably wouldn't be here today.

But I had one teacher in particular, his name was Joe Ferrero, he promised me that he would come to at least one game every year if I turned pro, and he came to every game. I mean, one game a year. He wouldn't let me buy him a ticket. He wouldn't let me buy him a dinner, a hotel room, nothing.

Joe, I just want to say thank you. More guys like you in the world, and it would be a better place. You told me you did it just because I was a great kid and nothing more. So I want to say thank you to Joe Ferrero.

I had a teacher in Syracuse University, my first class, it was called Speech 101, and the first day of class she said to me, the class is going to be divided up into three parts -- 50% attendance, 25% exams, and 25% presentation. And I told her right away, I told her I'm going to do the best I can do to get 75% in this class. And she said, What do you mean? And I said, Because I don't think you know, that's not what I do. I'm not going to give you a speech. She said, You won't have to, but you won't pass the class. I told her instantly. Timeout. We've got to go over this. This is not something I do. As the year went on, I did the class, I did the course, and I passed the class. She said to me, Marvin, some day you're going to look back on this day and thank me because you're going to have to give the biggest speech of your life, so you might as well do it now. So I want to thank Mrs. Johnson for that.

Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is not something that happens overnight. I'm very thankful and very grateful that this has happened. I've worked extremely hard to get to this point. And the Green Bay fans would recognize this. I played my first NFL game right on this very field. It was the Colts versus the Saints, and my first head coach was Lindy Infante. He's not here with us today, but I definitely got to thank him. And Marshall Faulk can vouch for this. During practice, he would say to us, I don't like you guys catching passes. You make it look too easy. I was a rookie. I didn't know what he was talking about. He said you've got to make tough catches and practice them. I was a rookie, so I just listened to what my head coach told me. I would make these tough catches in practice, because that's how he told us to catch. And these catches you see on film today, they may look tough to me, but they were routine. And I want to say thank you to Lindy Infante, he played a big role in getting me started in my career.

Jim Mora, they said Jim Mora was tough, hard-nosed. Jim Mora's probably my best friend as a head coach. Every day he came to me during my spot in line, the stretching line. He talked about his family, the time in Philadelphia. He talked about -- he and I would talk about what we're going to eat for dinner at night. Me and Jim were best of friends.

But they said he was hard-nosed, laughed about how he ran those guys into the ground for the Saints. But he told me, I'm not used to this. I've seen guys that I coached for years, and when you got here, you just worked your butt off, and I just want to congratulate you on that, you're a great kid. So Jim Mora, thank you to you also.

Coach Dungy. My final head coach. I could sit up here for ten, 15 minutes and tell you about how important it was to have you as my coach and talk about football. But what you brought to our team and to me was more important than anything. You taught us how to be teammates. You taught us how to be men. But the most important thing is you taught us about fatherhood. And I think that's more important than any head coach could ever tell his players is about fatherhood. So I want to thank you for that.

My position coach, Clyde Christensen. We would block from the first day of training camp all the way to the Super Bowl. He didn't take it easy on us. He didn't treat us like prima donnas. We worked extremely hard. We had a great cast over at the Colts, and I want to thank Clyde Christensen for being there for me and allowing me to be a professional Pro Bowler and a Hall of Famer. You didn't change anything about my game. The only problem that we had is was I going to come out of a game or come out of practice. That's the only argument that we had. I wasn't coming out of practice and I wasn't coming out of games. You've got to forgive me for that one, Clyde.

Now Tom Moore. That's a whole other game. Couple guys can relate to that. C.C., I'm sure you can relate to Tom Moore. Anytime you'd come off a record-breaking season and you had 143 catches and first day of training camp your coach comes over to you and he's upset, he's sad. What's your problem? Nothing, what's up? He said, I'm a little upset with you. I said, Why would you be upset with me? I just had 143 catches. He said, You should have had 150. I'm a little upset with that. So I said, What did you want me to do?

So I've got to thank Tom Moore. He played an extremely big role in me being here today. He would tell me, I'm going to throw you the ball, whether there's double coverage, I don't care who's guarding, you better get open because I'm going to keep throwing you the ball. And Tom believed in me, he kept throwing me the ball. I have to thank Tom Moore. He's not here today, and he's coaching. He's 77 years old. I saw him a month ago. He told me, Marvin, I'm going to keep coaching for another 20 years. So I want to thank Tom Moore for all he's done for me.

Bill Polian. Where you at? B.P. Now, I don't know, but 15, 16, 17 years ago we're walking down, crossing paths in the locker room and Bill Polian said, What's up, Hall of Famer? And I'm like what is this guy talking about? I'm in my sixth, seventh year, he's talking about Hall of Fame. That shows you why he's up here today and part of this elite group. He can pick out talent a mile away. He told me when I get inducted, he'll be right here with me on this stage. And he is. Bill Polian, thank you for all that you've done for me. It's been a great run, and I thank you for all that you've done for me.

Mr. Irsay, it goes without saying. You've done a great job for our city of Indianapolis. You've done a great job for me and my family. No other way I could thank you more than have you present me here today. For all that you've done for the city. We've won a Super Bowl, we've hosted a Super Bowl, and I just want to say thank you for all you did for me. And the best thing I can do for an owner is how you present me here today.

Speaking of the city of Indianapolis, the fans. The fans, the fans are what makes this game possible. I say this from the bottom of my heart, I think I have the best fans, no offense, Green Bay, but I have the best fans in the game. Let me explain why now. Anytime we lose a game or I dropped a pass, they never booed me or did anything negative. They just said don't worry about it, Marvin, get the next one.

And I'm from Philadelphia, the home of the Eagles. If you get the coin toss wrong in Philadelphia, they want to trade you the first thing Monday morning. So I wasn't used to that in Indianapolis. So we had the best fans.

To my teammates, Peyton, I want to say that you came into the league your first year and I was happy to be a part of that. And I saw the work ethic that you had, and we carried that on for quite a few more years. So I want to say thank you to Peyton.

Edgerrin, Edgerrin, you and I we talked every day during practice. We'd talk about life after football, and I want to say thank you to Edgerrin, man. You're a great teammate. We talked a lot about, it wasn't just football, but it was about life. So I want to say thank you to Edgerrin.

My partner, Reggie. Reggie Wayne, man, I couldn't ask for a better partner than you. I mean, I trusted Reggie with my life. If I had to go across the middle and I knew Reggie had to clear it out for me, I new full well he was going to get his job done. So we came in and we watched each other, we worked hard, we challenged each other in practice. And, Reggie, like I said, I want to thank you for all that you've done for me. There is no other receiver in the game that I'd rather have on the other side of me than you, so I just want to say thank you, buddy.

There may be one other receiver, but I won't mention his name. I don't want to get into the rear view mirror or none of that stuff. So thank you.

The guy that made the bust. I want to say thank you. He's spent a great time with me the last couple months making it. And Michelle, she's been working with me all year long. She didn't think I was going to come up on the stage. I told her I wanted to go first, and she didn't want to gamble on it, so she made sure I went first. She thought I was going to disappear on her, so I'm up here now.

Retirement, retirement was easy for one reason. I have two sons, Marvin and Jett. To be able to come home, be your coach, be your father and be your friend, there is no other feeling in the world that I want to do than come home to you guys. So you made life what it's worth.

The single most important person here for me today, and I have to acknowledge it, my grandmother, Luanna Harrison. She's been around for a long time. Extremely hard-working woman, hard work and dedication had to come from somewhere, and it probably had to start from the top of the Harrison family. So I want to thank you that you're still here and you're able to come here and see your grandson into the Hall of Fame.

Last but not least, I was going to say thank you to everyone in Canton, this is my new home. I had a great group of guys that welcomed me in. I want to say thank you very much. And look forward to you guys for years to come. Thank you.