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fordfixer
08-07-2010, 11:54 PM
Trip to Canton a labor of love

By Bob Labriola – Steelers Digest
http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/ ... 84365f0a4b (http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Trip-to-Canton-a-labor-of-love/d4951c73-b5ce-4227-ae81-2684365f0a4b)

LATROBE, Pa. – The buses leave here at 2 p.m. for the three-hour ride to Canton, Ohio, which means their day won’t end until they’ve spent six hours on the road. Six hours on a bus at the end of a week that has included a dozen on-field practices and at least twice as many meetings. Six hours on buses that can be uncomfortable even for people of normal size. Six hours on buses after having had two practice sessions over the previous 16 hours.

And the Steelers can’t wait.

The Steelers can’t wait to board those buses, because the buses will take them to the Pro Football Hall of Fame so they can be there when Dick LeBeau is inducted as part of the Class of 2010. Six hours on buses? Talk to some of the players, and you get the impression they would walk to Canton to be there with the man many of them call Coach Dad.

“I wouldn't even want to be there unless they were there,” LeBeau said.

The feeling is mutual.

Before Coach Mike Tomlin made it public that the team would be attending the induction ceremonies to support LeBeau, Aaron Smith let his feelings be known. Understand that Aaron Smith never takes a day off from practice, not even when given the option to do so by Tomlin on those occasions that have come to be known as “veterans’ day off.” He is one of the best people – never mind the kind of player he is – to have worn a Steelers uniform, and there isn’t an insubordinate bone in his body.

“It’s like one of my family members getting in there,” said Smith. “I’m hoping Coach Tomlin gives us an opportunity to be there and support him. If he doesn’t, I’m going anyway.”

But there was really never any danger of players having to go AWOL, because Tomlin showed what he thought of LeBeau by retaining him as the Steelers’ defensive coordinator when he was hired to replace Bill Cowher. Instead of scrapping the zone-blitz philosophy and replacing it with the Tampa-2 defense he had coached as an NFL assistant, Tomlin was sufficiently egoless to let things be, and not all of the others who interviewed for the job would have done the same.

“Dick is a special guy,” said Tomlin. “It’s an honor that is well deserved, and I am glad that we are going to be able to go up there and be a part of it.”

The Steelers will be a part of it as an organization, and veteran Hall of Fame watchers claim this is an unprecedented show of support. And it won’t be just current Steelers players on hand for LeBeau, either. Joey Porter, now with the Arizona Cardinals, also made the trip to Canton, and his journey there was a little more complicated than a three-hour bus ride.

It was Porter who orchestrated the wearing of the LeBeau throwback jerseys for the first time – for the 2005 regular season finale against the Detroit Lions. The team reprised the gesture when it played in the 2007 Hall of Fame Game, but by that time Porter had moved on to the Miami Dolphins.

“It won’t only be exciting to see him receive such an honor,” said Troy Polamalu, “it’ll be exciting to see the excitement of the other people who’ve been so much a part of his life as we have, to see all these old players come out of the woodwork and hear his old stories. You know, he’s a really fascinating individual.”

“We're definitely happy that his time has come, and he's going to be honored this weekend,” said James Farrior. “We feel like it's a long time coming. It's well-deserved.”

“This is a big deal,” said Casey Hampton. “We’re proud of him, and it’s a long time coming. It couldn’t happen to a better guy.”

That’s why they’ll board those buses and ride for six hours. It’s a labor of love.

fordfixer
08-07-2010, 11:55 PM
LeBeau humbled by support

By Teresa Varley - Steelers.com
http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/ ... deaafcb852 (http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/LeBeau-humbled-by-support/0b8b7cb7-8585-4b04-96a2-28deaafcb852)

As Dick LeBeau walked away from the podium after finishing his Hall of Fame speech he shared an embrace with his brother Bob who presented him and then he stopped and took a step back, looked over his shoulder and waved one last time to a special group assembled in the bleachers.



It was a salute to those who came to honor him, the entire Steelers team, coaching staff and team personnel. Those who ho helped make this day one of the best days in LeBeau’s life.



“They are here tonight and I have to tell you that is about the highest compliment I have had paid to me in my life,” said LeBeau during his speech. “Ambassador (Dan) Rooney is here and I am completely humbled by that. He and the Rooney family, and Coach (Mike) Tomlin let this team come out during training camp. To let them come out here tonight, it’s like them having another away game. I told them I wouldn’t want to be here without you men.”



The players cheered for LeBeau, some wearing his Lions jersey, in a manner they are accustomed to being cheered for, with guys like Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu and Ben Roethlisberger proudly waving Terrible Towels as LeBeau was introduced and opened things with “This really is a great day to be alive” and throughout his speech.



LeBeau thanked his family, he thanked those in the Detroit Lions organization responsible for the success he had during his 14-year Hall of Fame career that ran from 1959-72. After all, while the black and gold was out in full force to support LeBeau, he was in fact being inducted for his stellar playing career with the Lions, when the former defensive back had 62 interceptions.



“I am proud of the guys I played with,” said LeBeau. “My teammates are already in the Hall of Fame. I am so honored to go in there with them.”



But in typical LeBeau fashion, a man who never likes to be in the spotlight focused more on the current Steelers players than he did on his own playing career.



“I am being inducted as a player and believe me that makes me the most proud. I did that for 14 years,” said LeBeau. “But for the last 38 years I have been a football coach so to ask me to talk more than two minutes and not talk about my guys over here, I can tell you right now it ain’t going to happen. The good thing for you guys is when I talk about them you will know who I am talking about. When I talk about the guys I played against you will say who?”

LeBeau recalled when he found out he finally made it to the Hall of Fame, and shared the emotion that he felt then.

“I was giddy. My feet wouldn’t touch the ground,” said LeBeau. “I said, come on Dick, get a hold of yourself. You’re an experienced liver – not old, you just have a lot of experience. I got on the plane and got down to the Super Bowl where they introduced us and I saw Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith. They were just as giddy and off the ground as I was. I made my mind up right there I am going to just relax and enjoy this and I don’t care if I ever come down.”



He also shared a story of being at the White House after the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII and President Barack Obama singling him out when talking.



“I thought there certainly can’t be anything greater than this, but in all due respect Mr. President this whole business is a little bit bigger.”



As he wrapped up his speech, LeBeau reminded people of one thing. Don’t let age scare you. At 72-years old, LeBeau has the zest and enthusiasm of those decades younger than him. And he enjoys every moment of every day, and plans to continue to do that.



“Life if for living folks. Don’t let a number be anything but a number,” said LeBeau. “Don’t let anybody tell you that you are too old to do this or do that. Stay in life. Life is a gift. It’s a joy. Don’t drop out of it.

“If I would have gotten out of my life’s work at 65 or 67 here’s what I would have missed – not just one but two World Championship football teams I got to be a part of. I got to be a part of the number one defense that statistically had the lowest numbers in the last 35-40 years. I had my number retired from my high school, a building named after me in my home time. I made the Detroit Lions all 75-year team. I was accepted into the Ohio State University athletic Hall of Fame.

“And now tonight I guess when I get down and get off of this speaking, I will be in the NFL Hall of Fame. My mother always said onward, and upward.”

Chadman
08-08-2010, 12:32 AM
First time Chadman has had the opportunity to actually watch the Hall of Fame induction over here.

Bad Word LeBeau- class act, through & through. His speech actually had Chadman tearing up in some spots.

kiwi_sarah
08-08-2010, 07:37 AM
I've been AWOL and forgot the HOF was today, but just about to watch the replay while I kill the wee hours of the morning waiting for hubby to get home. Thanks for the articles FF, great reads.

What kind of game coverage do you get there Chadman?

Chadman
08-08-2010, 08:52 AM
I've been AWOL and forgot the HOF was today, but just about to watch the replay while I kill the wee hours of the morning waiting for hubby to get home. Thanks for the articles FF, great reads.

What kind of game coverage do you get there Chadman?

Foxsports & ESPN Sarah- we tend to get 3-4 games a week here. You?

kiwi_sarah
08-08-2010, 09:07 AM
I've been AWOL and forgot the HOF was today, but just about to watch the replay while I kill the wee hours of the morning waiting for hubby to get home. Thanks for the articles FF, great reads.

What kind of game coverage do you get there Chadman?

Foxsports & ESPN Sarah- we tend to get 3-4 games a week here. You?

NFL games are on ESPN here. We only get Sunday & Monday night games during the reg. season. You watch online?

Chadman
08-08-2010, 09:14 AM
[quote="kiwi_sarah":1f7rvkwy]I've been AWOL and forgot the HOF was today, but just about to watch the replay while I kill the wee hours of the morning waiting for hubby to get home. Thanks for the articles FF, great reads.

What kind of game coverage do you get there Chadman?

Foxsports & ESPN Sarah- we tend to get 3-4 games a week here. You?

NFL games are on ESPN here. We only get Sunday & Monday night games during the reg. season. You watch online?[/quote:1f7rvkwy]

Nah- don't get the time with work & Chadbaby nowadays. We get those 4 games a week live, then replayed later in the night if we miss them. Lucky that- the 3 & 4 in the morning starts can be a killer.. :D

kiwi_sarah
08-08-2010, 09:18 AM
[quote="kiwi_sarah":1ka7j0ag]I've been AWOL and forgot the HOF was today, but just about to watch the replay while I kill the wee hours of the morning waiting for hubby to get home. Thanks for the articles FF, great reads.

What kind of game coverage do you get there Chadman?

Foxsports & ESPN Sarah- we tend to get 3-4 games a week here. You?

NFL games are on ESPN here. We only get Sunday & Monday night games during the reg. season. You watch online?

Nah- don't get the time with work & Chadbaby nowadays. We get those 4 games a week live, then replayed later in the night if we miss them. Lucky that- the 3 & 4 in the morning starts can be a killer.. :D[/quote:1ka7j0ag]

lol yeah, that's worse than my 5am start. I watch all the games live online, but am freaking out a little than my normal avenue might not be available this year. Unless I win the lottery and can afford the NFL net package, I might be relying on some play by play game threads to keep me in the loop.

Chadman
08-08-2010, 09:19 AM
[quote=Chadman][quote="kiwi_sarah":2g53iqkh]I've been AWOL and forgot the HOF was today, but just about to watch the replay while I kill the wee hours of the morning waiting for hubby to get home. Thanks for the articles FF, great reads.

What kind of game coverage do you get there Chadman?

Foxsports & ESPN Sarah- we tend to get 3-4 games a week here. You?

NFL games are on ESPN here. We only get Sunday & Monday night games during the reg. season. You watch online?

Nah- don't get the time with work & Chadbaby nowadays. We get those 4 games a week live, then replayed later in the night if we miss them. Lucky that- the 3 & 4 in the morning starts can be a killer.. :D[/quote:2g53iqkh]

lol yeah, that's worse than my 5am start. I watch all the games live online, but am freaking out a little than my normal avenue might not be available this year. Unless I win the lottery and can afford the NFL net package, I might be relying on some play by play game threads to keep me in the loop.[/quote:2g53iqkh]


The online gameday chat on here can be really fun- make sure you get on with it this season because the guys here have a good laugh with it.