Saturday evening, Washington linebacking great Chris Hanburger was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the 2011 Enshrinement Class. Hanburger was a dominant defensive force during his 14 NFL seasons on the field, named an All-Pro four times and selected to the Pro Bowl nine times, but he was always a private, introverted man. He talked before the induction ceremony about how it was no big deal, how he didn't even know how the process worked - heck, he even said he wasn't going to write a speech. Well, the wily old veteran fooled us, because written down or not, Hanburger delivered a funny, honest and at times emotional speech.
Hanburger came out with a bang, joking that he should sell his allotted speech minutes to the talkers in the group, Deion Sanders and Shannon Sharpe, but then just as quickly acknowledge how honered he was to be there:
It's been a tremendous thrill for me. I've known a lot of these guys. I've played with some of them, but I've known the names. I've never had a chance to meet guys in the Hall of Fame before like this. For me it's a tremendous honor, just a great honor.
Hanburger was even more impressive when he began to thank any one remotely involved with setting up the ceremonies in Canton:
But I want to thank all you folks for being here. I think it's fantastic. It's overwhelming for me. I had a blast in the parade today. The folks of Canton, you all are tremendous. I think the support is just great. I thank all the volunteers. For those of you who don't know, there's over 4,000 people that volunteer their time to help put this whole week together for all of us, and I thank them. I thank the folks from the Hall of Fame itself. They have been most helpful for all of us.
As he was close to ending, Hanburger won this viewer and the crowd over, reminding us who the real life Hall of Famers are every day:
I don't think folks here that are Hall of Famers are sitting here, I don't consider myself a true Hall of Famer. I say that because to me, I'm an Army brat. I spent two years in the Army right out of high school before I went to college to me the real Hall of Fame people are all the men and women of our armed forces, all the men and women in law enforcement, and all the firefighters, men and women. These people, to me, go over and beyond making a tackle or a blitz or doing anything, completing a pass. They're wonderful people.