Ty Law Enshrinement Speech

You all got to excuse me.  Last time I was up on a podium like this was at the Patriots Hall of Fame.  I didn't have no paper and I forgot a few things, so got to keep a couple notes, but I'm going to speak from the heart like I always do. 

         First of all, I want to thank God for allowing me to be here and experience this with you guys. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         I wouldn't be standing here without that faith, which played a major role in my life.  I'm representing more than myself sitting here today; I'm representing everyone and everything that had an impact on my life to get to this point.  This isn't about me.  This is about us.  This is about we. 

         I want to thank my boy, my brother from another mother.  And thank you, man.  Hey, bro, this man knows where all the bones is buried.  Everything. 

         (Laughter.) 

         This wasn't a hard decision at all who was going to present me here today.  He's been with me through thick and thin.  We was best friends since we were in diapers.  He always let me know that at his first birthday party, which I was there, that I wasn't walking yet.  He called me a wuss for that. 

         (Laughter.)

         He also ‑‑ and this is true, and he says he's the reason why I'm here today, because I never picked up a football until he came and got me to play.  And that is the truth.  He introduced me to the game at a competitive level.  So, I thank you, bro. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         But the reality is, the only reason he came and got me is because he ain't want to go play with people he didn't know, and his daddy came and got me.  So, I appreciate you and your father for that.  Thank you for being my brother for 45 years, man.  Thank you.  I love you. 

         (Applause.)

         To Mr. Craig Jones, who you also seen out there on that screen today, he presented me with this beautiful Gold Jacket.  He is not just my financial advisor, he is my brother, he is my family.  You have done so much for me, Craig.  If I would've listened, I'd probably be even better off. 

         (Laughter.)

         But you've been there for me, my family, my kids, and you cared about me, the man, not just the athlete.  I love you, Craig.  Thank you, brother. 

         (Applause.)

         Book, Craig, we did it.  We are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Thank you. 

         (Applause.)

         I'm so honored here to be in this Class.  You guys have made this a wonderful experience.  I'd like to thank the Hall of Fame, the board of trustees, David Baker, your staff.  Everybody has made this a tremendous, tremendous experience. 

         I'd like to send a special thank you to Ron Borges, who was probably my biggest advocate, my strongest advocate, my strongest ally in this fight.  Hey, Ron, you stood up on the table for me, man.  You let people know that I was worthy of being a part of this prestigious fraternity. 

         I couldn't have been here without you.  So many people came and told me the job you did in that room by pleading your case for me won them over.  So, I want to thank you guys for, first, listening; and, thank you, Ron, for putting it down.  Thank you, man. 

         (Applause.)

         You know, I once heard someone say that the brain is like a switch.  If you believe you are something, you embody it.  You embody that feeling, that thought.  You start to move differently, think differently. 

         Success in life is about having the proper belief system.  You got to believe in who you are.  You must believe in yourself.  There were so many other people that believed in me, too, and I can't stress the importance of that. 

         You've got to have people that are cheering you on along the way.  But none of that matters if you don't believe in yourself.  To get to this moment, I had to believe in myself, and I had to believe in myself a lot.  I grew up in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. 

         (Cheers.)

         Twenty‑five minutes right outside of Pittsburgh, population about 9,000 people, and we produce athletes. 

         (Cheers.)

         We produce Hall of Famers.  Mike Ditka.  My uncle, Tony Dorsett.  As kids growing up in Aliquippa, we lived to compete every day at something, whether it was playing cards, football, shootin’ dice, running pole to pole.  Competing at just being knuckleheads. 

         I know that level of competition was making me who I am.  I know that my upbringing in Aliquippa was preparing me for the next journey in my ‑‑ the next steps in my journey in life. 

         And even with all those great influences, in my hometown, it wasn't always fun and games.  I sit here and tell you I had my own brushes with trying to run the streets, and I found out quickly, in more ways than one, man, Ty Law wasn't about that life.  I was about something else.  I wanted to be different. 

         I need everybody in Aliquippa right now to stand up.  Because you're all up in here.  Aliquippa stand up. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         We are a community built on love, strength, struggle, and most importantly that Quip Town pride.  I always say if you can make it in Quip Town, you can make it anywhere.  We did it, Aliquippa.  We are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  I love you. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         I am so grateful for my beautiful mother.  I want everybody to know that I get my competitiveness, my will to win, from my mom.  I had to earn every win I got, and she talked trash with the best of them. 

         Mom, you always had my back.  Even when I was dead‑ass wrong.  You had my back.  You are my rock.  We had our personal struggles.  At times we bent, but we never broke. 

         (Applause.)

         We came out on the other side. 

         (Applause.)

         Let's embrace the fact that we've overcome those things, Mom, appreciate what we have today and where we're going in the future.  I know I'm a grown man, but to you I'll always be your little boy, and I love that.  That's okay. 

         (Applause.)

         Mom, we are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Nobody can take that away from us.  Nobody can take that away from you. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         I love you. 

         I know there's no crying in football.  I apologize.  My bad. 

         To my father, thank you for showing the strength and the courage to beat the odds, man.  What you went through personally is a hell of a lot harder than what I'm doing and what I'm accomplishing standing here today. 

         I see you as strength and inspiration.  And if you put your mind to something, anything can be accomplished.  Pops, I am so proud and happy of where we are today as father and son.  I'm a product of you, man.  We in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  You there, too. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         Even with the love and support of my family, I still had to believe in myself.  I knew early on that I had to do things others were not willing to do in order to get where I needed to go.  I had to work my ass off to achieve my goal, to make it out of some tough circumstances. 

         And before I go on, because like I brought this here for a reason, I got to talk about two ‑‑ perhaps two of the most important people in my life.  They've been gone for a while, but they're here today.  They're sitting in those two empty seats right next to my momma, my grandparents, Mr. Ida and Ray Law ‑‑ Miss Ida and Mr. Ray Law. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         My grandmother passed away when I was 12 years old.  She was the matriarch of our family.  It was a big blow to all of us when she passed.  But my grandfather, who I like to call Pap, everyone called Pap, stepped up in a major way. 

         My grandfather believed in me so much.  He believed in me more than I believed in myself.  That's how I got here.  He took me to every single practice from the age of seven all the way through high school.  And until I went to college, that's when I was on my own.  He loved me with every fiber of his body, and I loved him back.  I would not be here without my grandparents.  They did everything for me. 

         (Applause.)

         I hope you guys know, because y'all might not see them, but I seem them, they're sitting right there.  I see them.  I hope that you guys know how I feel.  I love you.  I love you to the moon and back. 

         I found out that my grandfather took a mortgage out on our house just to get me a car for transportation.  I could never repay him for that.  He sacrificed so much for me. 

         The sacrifices that you made got me to this stage today.  I pray that when you leave this auditorium and go back to heaven, I hope y'all celebrating on the other side.  We did it, Pap and Nanna.  We are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         And the next step of that journey was at the University of Michigan. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         This is where believing in myself was really put to the test.  Not everyone thought I'd make it.  They thought I will be a small fish in a big pond because that's the University of Michigan. 

         I would hear:  ‘Well, he's good, but he ain't that good.’  And to be honest with you, that pissed me off.  That pissed me off.  Yes, it did.  Once I arrived at Michigan, I had to fight.  I had to fight hard to get on the field and start as a freshman. 

         I had to fight even harder as a sophomore.  And I made All‑Big Ten.  I fought harder as a junior and happened to make All‑American, and eventually the critics and naysayers were calling me one of the best cornerbacks in the country. 

         I not only believed in myself, I thank God that others believed in me as well.  An example of that is my boy Steve King.  He's not with us here today.  He passed away a few years ago at 40 years old.  He's here being represented by his beautiful wife and his daughter. 

         My roommate, Deollo Anderson, from day one, you was like ‑‑ let me re‑track.  Not day one, because the first time I met you on that recruiting trip, your pants was so snug. 

         (Laughter.)

         Oh, my God.  So we couldn't be homeboys then.  I had ‑‑ I had to give him a pass because, you know, he had on his military uniform, you know, from the military school he was at.  But you invented Spandex back then.  That was terrible. 

         (Laughter.)

         But, hey, thank you for being a brother, man.  Thank you for being supportive for me for so long, man, at Michigan.  Man, and we're still brothers to this day. 

         I want to also thank all my Michigan teammates, man ‑‑ J.I., man, thank you for being here.  The fans.  My brothers and sisters up there in Ann Arbor.  The Michigan fans packed the house every week. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         Thank you for being part of my journey.  Go Blue.  I know I'm about to hear some "O‑hi‑o" because we're in Ohio, but, man, Go Blue. 

         After my junior year, I made the unpopular decision to forgo my senior year and go full throttle towards my dream of going pro in the NFL.  From my perspective, I didn't have a choice.  I wanted and I needed to take care of my family. 

         I had to believe in myself.  I had to trust that all the years of sacrifice would carry me through this next phase of my journey, even though some people didn't think I had a chance. 

         And then I got the call.  I was the first-round pick, 23rd overall in the 1995 draft.  And it wasn't just to any team, I was drafted by the six‑time reigning world champion, New England Patriots. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         Hold on, hold on, hold your applause, because we wasn't reigning a damn thing back then.  But you know what?  They took a chance on me, and I was going to give them everything I got, and I did. 

         There are so many people that I want to thank who believed in me during my 15‑year career.  First of all, I want to thank the Patriot fans, the best fans in the NFL, hands down. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         You supported us when we weren't winning, when we was winning just a little bit, and you still keep coming when we're winning everything.  I'd like to thank y'all for being there and cheering us on week in and week out, supporting me both on and off the field.  Thank you. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         I would like to thank my agents, Carl and Kevin Poston, for believing in me from the start, for advocating for me and always working for my best interest.  I thank you guys.  And still to this day, I'm PSP for life.  Thank you. 

         I would like to thank my uncle, Mr. Tony Dorsett.  Please stand. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         T, I'm a big believer in needing to see something before you can believe it.  I remember spending summers from eighth grade all the way on through college, until my freshman year, and staying at Uncle Tony's house, just staring at that Heisman Trophy, staring at that Hall of Fame bust. 

         Seeing all that he accomplished, I wanted to do the same.  Man, he had ‑‑ he accomplished the highest level:  in high school, All‑American; college, Heisman Trophy; pro football, Hall of Fame.  You can't get no higher than that.  And that's from Aliquippa.

         (Cheers and applause.) 

         My uncle ‑‑ I used to stare at it.  When I left college, I achieved my dream, he called me and congratulated me, but I got an opportunity to come back after my rookie season, and I was to stare again at that Heisman Trophy.  And he just walked past me, as cool as he is, he said:  I don't know what you keep staring at that for, that ship done sailed. 

         (Laughter.)

         I said, well, I just moved on over, and let me start staring at this Hall of Fame bust.  That was my goal from then on.  He broke me down real quick.  And I said, you know what?  I got to try to do my own thing. 

         But, T, you told me you had to raise hell to get one of these.  Well, guess what, Unc?  I guess we both raised hell in the right way, and I thank you for everything that you've done for me, man.  We are now teammates in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         You were my inspiration, man.  More than you know.  I love you, man.  Thank you. 

         I'd like to send a special thank you to Coach Bill Parcells for making that call, for pushing me the way you did, for reminding me in training camp that if I didn't turn it around quickly, I was going to be the first first‑rounder in NFL history to get cut before training camp ends. 

         (Laughter.)

         That quickly put things in perspective for me.  You figured out how to push my buttons, and I thank you for that. 

         Pete Carroll, you believed in me so much that you locked me up on the opponents' best receiver week in and week out.  That did so much for my confidence.  There aren't enough words to express my gratefulness.  Thank you, Pete. 

         Coach Bill Belichick, the GOAT! 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         Thank you for believing in me.  Where is he?  There he go.  I'm going to look at you on the screen, Bill.  Thank you for believing in me.  Thank you for not trying to change who I was. 

         You gave me the opportunity to try my things ‑‑ try my way first, but you always reminded me, if I messed up, we're going to back to do it your way.  But the only thing, he didn't say "messed up."  I know we on TV.  He said a couple other words.  But y'all fill in the blanks. 

         Thank you for showing me how to be a true professional, to prepare for games.  It's no mistake or coincidence that you are the greatest coach that this game has ever seen.  I love you, Bill.  I appreciate you, man.  Thank you.

         (Cheers and applause.)

         To my Patriots teammates, stand up!  Stand up!  The old school, new school, stand up! 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         It's about time!  I'm not standing here alone.  I'm on this stage not because of statistical reasons, I'm here because I was a part of something special.  We created a culture, a brotherhood and unselfishness that we displayed as we won three Super Bowl titles. 

         Let's keep it real.  We started this shit! 

         (Laughter and applause.) 

         What you see today with these young boys over there, I see ya, Will Mack, Bruschi, Lawyer, Rodney, Troy Brown, O‑t‑i‑s, K. Faulk, B. Ham, Phife, Seazaleesz, Vrabel, and that GOAT, Tom Brady. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         They even gave what we created a name.  They called it "The Patriot Way."  But we know where it started, fellas:  Together.  We are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Thank you all, man. 

         (Applause.)

         I would like to thank the coaches that believed in me, in coaching me hard, like my high school coach, Frank Marocco.  He was not only a coach, but he was a mentor and a father figure to a lot of us. 

         Thank you, Eric Mangini; New York Jets, Woody Johnson, the entire Jets organization, Herman Edwards; the late, great Lamar Hunt and everybody at the Kansas City Chiefs.  Thank you to the Denver Broncos, Josh McDaniel, and my classmate, Mr. Pat Bowlen and his family.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity. 

         You guys believed in me and believed that I still had something left in the tank.  Even though it was about empty.  I'm so thankful for spending a few years with you guys.  I appreciate that. 

         I got to send a huge thank you to another Hall of Fame coach.  Not football.  Bob Kersee.  Bobby, brother, you worked me hard.  I trained with this man from my fourth year to my fifteenth year in the league.  Bobby, thank you for pouring so much into me, for pushing me past my own comfort zone.  I love you, Bobby.  You did it.  I'm a Hall of Famer because of what you did for me on the offseason. 

         (Applause.)

         Mr. Robert Kraft, the success of the Patriots starts at the top, and you are the guy sitting there.  What you do for the New England community and beyond and what you did for my career, for the many accomplishments in all the areas of your life, we are so grateful for. 

         But more than anything what stands out to me is what you did for me personally.  I remember one time that I was getting honored in Boston with some other great players from the New England area, and Mr. Kraft was scheduled to present me with this award. 

         But Myra, his sweetheart, as he liked to call her, was very ill, and she couldn't make it.  But the fact that you still found the time, which I totally understood, and the energy to walk on that stage and present me with that honor made that day even more special.  You told me you wouldn't miss it for the world, and you told me that Myra wanted that that way. 

         That's the Mr. Kraft I know and love.  Not the man or the signature on the bottom right‑hand corner of the check.  Not that guy.  Thank you for believing in me.  Thank you for impacting my life.  To the greatest owner in all sports, I salute you, Mr. Kraft.  Thank you. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         And I'd like to thank you, Jonathan Kraft, for all that you do.  Everyone talks about everybody, Mr. Kraft, everybody else, but you, man, you were the glue that hold that together.  Thank you for all that you do, and we know that our legacy is intact because of what you do and what you bring to the table.  You're in the trenches, bruh, and I know the team is in good hands.  Thank you. 

        
(Applause.)

         And I can't leave this stage without honoring the loves of my life.  I like to call them my starting five, my children ‑‑ Taija, TyTy, Phoenix, Sydney and Dallas.  You guys are my everything.  I pray that I'm always here to guide you, advise you, parent and protect you.  My world has and always will revolve around you guys. 

         I've had a lot of titles associated with my name ‑‑ son, brother, cousin, friend, All‑American, All‑Pro, Super Bowl champion, and now Hall of Famer.  But the most important title is that of Father.  Daddy. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         Your lives, happiness, goals, pursuits and well‑being are the most important things in my life.  Always remember to believe in yourself.  And my only hope is that you stick together, love each other, have each other's backs, no matter what.  I am so proud and humbled and blessed to be your father.  We did it.  We are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  I love you guys. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         We're almost done.  Almost done.  Couple things.  I would like to honor some of the amazing women in my life who have blessed me with these starting five I'm talking about. 

         Misha, thank you for always being there and supporting me.  You gave me the best gift that anyone can ever ask for in our daughter Taija.  I want to salute you for raising our daughter to be the beautiful young lady that she is.  Thank you so much for being a wonderful mother and friend.  I love you, Meech. 

         (Applause.)

         Nicole Haynes.  You challenged me to be a better version of myself.  Your support and belief in me means so much words don't do it justice.  You're that voice of reason in so many ways.  I don't like to admit it, but you are right most of the time.  I thank you so much.  You're an amazing woman and, more importantly, an incredible mother to our daughter Sydney.  Thank you so much for being an important part of our life.  Love you. 

         (Applause.)

         To Benvinda, AKA Bennie. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         Thank you so much for being that constant in my life.  You have sacrificed so much for me.  You put some of your dreams and your life on pause so I could live out mine.  There is absolutely no way that I would be standing here without you.  You're a super woman.  Thank you for blessing me with three wonderful kids ‑‑ Ty Jr., Phoenix, and Dallas.  Thank you for accepting me in your family which is now an extension of mine.  Hell, I like to think I'm an unofficial Cape Verdean, right now. 

         (Cheers and applause.)

         And they roll into here deep, and that's because of you.  Thank you, Benveen.  Love you. 

         So my ‑‑ in closing, my message to everybody tonight, we're all here to sacrifice our lives for the sake of others.  Some sacrifices can be as small as paying for someone else's coffee or as great as risking your life for your country. 

         No matter where you fit on that spectrum, I encourage each and every one of you to start with a small but great practice of believing in yourself.  You can't wait for somebody else to validate your purpose.  You have to believe in yourself.  You can't wait for somebody else to tell you that you're great.  You have to believe it yourself.  You can't wait for society to tell you you're beautiful or that you're a good person.  You have to believe that for yourself. 

         I thank each and every one of you for believing in me and my dreams.  Because of you, my legacy lives on.  Thank you for this incredible honor.  God bless. 

         (Cheers and applause.)



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