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Monday, August 06, 2007

NFL Hall Of Fame Class - Interview Transcript From NFLMedia.com

August 3, 2007 - NFL Hall Of Fame Class - Interview Transcript From NFLMedia.com

An interview with:

ADAM SCHEFTER: Our first member of
the 2007 class Hall of Fame played tight end for
the Detroit Lions from 1968 to 1977. He was a
seven-time Pro Bowl selection, a member of the
1970s all-decade team, and a man that Deacon
Jones told me this morning was a much, much
better blocker than people knew. I call to the
podium the first member of the class of 2007,
Charlie Sanders.
said step up and talk about the weekend, what it's
like. You know, every time I get to a point where I
try to explain how I feel, what the whole experience
is about, I get halfway through the sentence and I
really can't complete the sentence because it's
something I never experienced before and it's
something that's very hard to put into words.
It gives you a chance, I do know, to
humble yourself, because it also gives you the
opportunity to look back over your life and realize
how many people actually had a hand in what's
happening to me right now. If that doesn't humble
you, nothing will. I'm excited for my family,
especially my kids more than anything, because I
realize how much time I took away from them to
get here. This is kind of, okay, this is a payback, a
let-me-off-the-hook type of a deal (laughter).
I am elated. I'm so excited. I woke up this
morning. The first thing popped in my mind is,
Tomorrow's Saturday. We kid Roger Wehrli about
the fact that right after the announcements he was
always last because of the W in his last name. It
was a standing joke: Roger's last. All of a sudden
they told me I was going to be first.
You know, I know how he feels now. I'm
going to break the ice tomorrow, and then maybe I
can sit back and relax. But right now I am probably
more nervous than I was as a rookie drafted by the
Detroit Lions.
Q. This applies to the whole group, but
it's the elite status of being in the Hall of Fame.
You're one of these six, 241 in the world. Go
back to your last year, in 1977. Probably 50,000
men have gone to training camp since then.
When is it like to be in such a small club?
CHARLIE SANDERS: Again, it's very
humbling, especially for me. I've never been the
type of guy that started out my life wanting to be an
athlete, much less a professional football player. I
felt I was always competitive in any area that I tried
to go after. I'd like to think that I would have been
just as competitive had it been any work of life.
It's just unbelievable that I'm standing here
today. I just keep asking myself, Why me? My
career was good enough. I mean, I felt very happy
with my career after 10 years with the Detroit
Lions. This is just icing on the cake. I mean,
again, it's humbling. It's like you stole somebody
else's blessing, because I definitely was blessed
prior to this. It's more than anyone could imagine,
believe me.
Q. You mentioned there were a lot of
people that helped you get to this point. Who
are some of those people?
CHARLIE SANDERS: Now you're going
to have me expose my speech. I'm having a hard
enough time right now. Maybe I should break the
ice. It will be easier tomorrow. Rehearsed it on
Most of my help in terms of being
competitive and challenging life, what I go at,
basically was mental preparation. That was the
way my father was. My father was an
August 3, 2007
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athletic-looking individual, but education was all he
believed in. He was a type that felt that if you
wanted to play sports you had to earn the right, but
education was going to come first.
So the strict disciplinary type approach is
what he was about. I mean, if you were going to
do it, you were going to do it right or you were
going to do it over, and I mean starting over.
Some may look at it as that's a cruel,
harsh way to attack life. But, you know what, life is
cruel, too. I attribute most of who and what I am to
the type of person my father was.
Thank you.
ADAM SCHEFTER: The next person we'll
be calling to the podium will be the former Houston
Oilers and Tennessee Titans guard, tackle, center,
long snapper, everything. He played 19 seasons
in the NFL, Bruce Matthews.
BRUCE MATTHEWS: Well, I got to admit,
this weekend is kind of a struggle for me. From the
perspective of a fan, which I feel I am, of the NFL, I
really feel like an outsider looking in.
What I mean by that is just going to the
Ray Nitschke luncheon, seeing all of these Hall of
Famers, it's like they should allow me to sneak out
the side door. I guess for me it hadn't really sunk
in yet.
It's just a great honor. I think Charlie said
it so well: it's very humbling. I think more than
anything, to play this game was such a blessing, it
never was a job. I never felt a sense of
entitlement. It was like my whole life I was allowed
to be a kid, and they paid me as well.
Even being able to play all the years I did,
it never was work. This weekend is very much like
that. It's like, You're going to allow me to do what?
I kind of look around. You sure you're talking
about the right guy?
It's a great honor to be here. I'm sure over
the course of the weekend it will sink in a little
more. It's been emphasized over and over it will
probably take a year before you really understand
the impact of everything that's gone on, but I'm
excited to be here.
Q. How does one play 19 seasons in
the NFL?
BRUCE MATTHEWS: I've been blessed.
My brother Clay played 19 years for the Browns
and Falcons. My family was blessed with the
bodies that could take the pounding. The good
Lord just gave us those bodies. Kind of ended up
for me, I was coaching a youth team my second
year out. I slipped in the mud, tore my quad
tendon. First time I ever had knee surgery.
Nineteen years in the NFL, never missed a game.
Then a bunch of nine-year-old boys took me down
Q. Bruce, last week baseball had its
Hall of Fame. Players that played for one team
their whole careers, like Cal Ripken. Most of
you guys predate the start of free agency. 15
years of free agency, except for one year for
Thurman, all you guys played for the same
franchise. Do you think that era is going to be
ending in the NFL? What, in your mind, do you
think has been the good and bad of free
BRUCE MATTHEWS: Well, my dad also
emphasized in me a sense of commitment and
loyalty. You know, the Oilers, we didn't necessarily
have the best teams always, but I always felt a
responsibility that I was put in that position -- and I
don't want to take away from anybody who has
ever signed a free-agent contract, because I truly
understand. But to me it was like, yeah, I guess I
could jump ship and go to a winning team, but I'd
rather accomplish something where I started out.
I can't say there weren't moments in my
career where I didn't consider it. But it was just
part of the challenge. Yeah, I could go play with
the 49ers or somebody - no offense to any 49ers
fans out there. I just always looked at it as an
I think there are those players around still
today. You know, even Cal Ripken's record.
People talk that that type record will never be
broken. I disagree. I think there are guys out there
who have the same love of the game that
everyone has been referenced here today, my
classmates have referenced, and they appreciate
the game just for the sake of playing the game.
Obviously the money is great, the
notoriety, everything that comes along with it.
Unfortunately so much attention is drawn now to
the negative aspects of the game. But there are
those guys out there who play the game, play it
right, play it for the right reasons.
Thank you very much.
ADAM SCHEFTER: Randy Covitz of the
Kansas City Star informed me the next players
called to the podium was the finest player ever
born and raised in Missouri. He is a member, like
Charlie Sanders, of the NFL's all-decade team
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from the 1970s.
Former St. Louis Cardinals cornerback
from 1969 to '82, Roger Wehrli.
ROGER WEHRLI: Well, thank you. Like
the other fellas, I'm just so thrilled to be here. As I
say, I got to play my whole career in the state of
Missouri. I grew up in Missouri, played at the
University of Missouri, then drafted by the St. Louis
What a thrill that was to be there in my
home state for my whole career, be able to have
my family and friends come to the games, my folks
see me play basically my whole career.
They want us to talk a little bit about how
we feel about this. It's really almost beyond
description to be voted into this group. You know,
to be with the guys that you've played against,
played with, three of the other Cardinals that I
played with as teammates are in the Hall of Fame.
Many of the receivers I faced during my career in
the of Hall of Fame, guys that we faced. I played a
few games against Charlie early in my career.
You know, it's just something that you
dream about, but you can't really hope for it
because you don't want to be disappointed if it
doesn't happen. When I got that phone call this
past February that I was in, all the emotions were
there. It was just a wonderful thing. I'm so thrilled
to be here and be a part of this.
Q. After waiting 25 years, did you think
the day would pass you by?
ROGER WEHRLI: I thought probably it
had. Although the last few years I've been -- I
made the cut of the 25, the cut of the 15, and all of
that. I think more recently, the last few years, it
gets a lot more publicity because they publicize
those cuts. You start thinking, Well, maybe I have
a chance.
But really I thought it had probably passed
me by and I would go into the senior division. My
last year of eligibility, this was my 20th year of
being eligible, which is all you have in the current
class, and it happened this year. As I say, I'm just
blessed to be here with these guys.
Q. How about playing your entire
career at Missouri. Can you talk about what
that was like. Strange being in Canton, Ohio?
ROGER WEHRLI: As I said earlier, it was
so neat. At first you get letters from pro teams
after playing at Missouri. You get letters from
some of the pro teams. You get letters from
Dallas, San Francisco, some of the teams that you
think, Well, that would be neat to go there, neat to
go to California, neat to play in Dallas because
they were kind of America's team at the time, all
those types of things.
But then drafted by the Cardinals. In fact, I
was in St. Louis the night before the draft getting
an award from college football. Coach Charlie
Winner, who was then head coach of the St. Louis
Cardinals, sat at the dais with us. He leaned over
and mentioned they were interested in me. That
was the first time I knew that the cardinals were
even thinking about drafting me.
That was kind of a thrill because I didn't
really know they were interested in me. Sure
enough, they drafted me in the first round the next
day. It worked out wonderful. I got to play 14
years in St. Louis. Just kind of moved right across
the state from the Kansas City side over to the
St. Louis side. Just a wonderful time there.
Q. Could you share with us your
thoughts on the Nitschke luncheon today,
being a first-year member of that group, how
that went.
ROGER WEHRLI: It's wonderful to be
there with the guys that are in the Hall of Fame.
When they talked earlier, being a W, I'm the last of
this class, so I'm No. 241. To think that's a select
group, a very select group of all the people that
have played. To go to the luncheon this afternoon,
be in the same room with just those guys that are
here, and what a great group we have coming
back this year.
I think there's over 80 players coming back
here, at that luncheon today. Just to sit there, you
know, I sat at a table with the Cardinals', Larry
Wilson, Dierdorf. You know, just to look around,
see all the guys you saw when you were growing
up, as I say, played against that are in this Hall of
Fame, it's just very humbling.
They talk a little bit about what it means to
be in the Hall of Fame. You know, it's just beyond
words really.
Thank you.
ADAM SCHEFTER: Our next member
from the class of 2007 was a running back that
spent 12 seasons in Buffalo and one more in
Miami. He led the NFL for a record four straight
years in total yards from scrimmage. I present to
you, ladies and gentlemen, Thurman Thomas.
THURMAN THOMAS: Thank you. I'm
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pretty much like these guys, the next couple words
that come out of my mouth will be my speech. I
mean, I'm just at a loss for words right now without
giving away my speech.
I tell you something, just being at the Ray
Nitschke luncheon this afternoon, and Warren
Moon said something that really hit home, I was
kind of -- I was sitting in the back of the room at a
table with two other guys that I had just met,
guests there at the luncheon. He got up and he
said, As you look around this room, do you actually
belong here, seeing all the great players?
I looked around the room. I saw Joe
Greene, I know that he won four Super Bowls. I
hate to pick on Mike, but I was looking at Mike.
Bruce, Mike Munchak, Warren Moon, that they had
never been to a Super Bowl. I look at Troy
Aikman, you know, guys like that, Michael who
won a Super Bowl. It still hit me then, as like,
I took one last look and said, Well, Marv
and Jim is over there, so I guess I belong here
(laughter). It kind of dawned on me, they lost four,
I lost four, I guess I do belong here.
It was just a luncheon, man, where I was
just sitting down, you know, looking at all the great
players that were in that room. There's some great
ones that I watched when I was real little. Some I
had an opportunity to watch during the end of their
career. It's just an outstanding group of guys. I
feel like me going in with the class that I'm going
in, 2007, it's something that's special, something
that I'll never, ever forget.
My family, they're up here having a great
time along with the other players' families. So this
is something that will be remembered from my
family and friends that are coming up here today,
tomorrow, for a long period of time.
Q. Does going into the Hall of Fame
take away any of the sting from the Super Bowl
THURMAN THOMAS: Well, I don't know if
it takes away any sting. I wish that we could have
won one. You know, I never really experienced
what Michael and some of the other guys
experienced as far as winning the Super Bowl,
having that feeling afterwards.
Now, I know I'm going into the Pro Football
Hall of Fame, I have a lot of teammates coming up
here. The after party should be enjoyable. I don't
know if it will feel like a Super Bowl. It will feel like
a Hall of Fame party. But that will be special to
You know, that's the only thing that I can
actually go on. Like I say, I've been in the locker
room on four losing teams. That's not a good
feeling. But when you have teammates like Bruce,
Andre, Darryl Talley, a head coach like Marv Levy,
it seems to ease the pain a little bit. I really thank
those guys for being there, actually, and I told
them all the time, being there for me, because I
didn't play well in the last couple of Super Bowls.
When we had probably our best chance to
compete, those guys have always stood up and
said, Hey, it's a team game, don't worry about it.
You tried your hardest, didn't give up us on us.
That's all we ever asked for. Just a great bunch of
great group of guys that I'd go to war with any day.
Q. I think it's given a Bruce will be here.
Are you expecting to see Bruce Smith and
Andre Reed standing here with you?
THURMAN THOMAS: Well, showing how
confident Bruce is, we were at a golf tournament
about a month ago. He actually signed a ball,
"Bruce Smith, Hall of Fame '09." So I guess you
can see how confident he is of being here in a
couple of years (laughter).
I truly hope that Andre Reed gets an
opportunity to get in the Hall of Fame. His
numbers are great. He was around a group with
Marv Levy, myself, and Jim Kelly. To me, you
know, just talking about my teammates, Steve
Tasker, to me the best special teams player to ever
play the game. So we have some guys who are
going to be coming up here pretty soon. Hopefully
those guys will get in.
Q. How long will your speech be (asked
by Michael Irvin)?
THURMAN THOMAS: I think it will be
anywhere from, I guess, 9 to 12 minutes. But they
did inform us -- well, they informed you they
wouldn't cut to commercial, so I may get up there
and talk a little bit longer. So who knows.
Might be short. I timed it last night. It was
nine and a half minutes. I've been talking to
Deacon Jones. He said, Whatever you do, write it
down, which it is written down. And he said, If you
just have to do this, Thank you, read, read, read,
read, finish, thank you very much, leave, without
looking up again, he said, Do it that way (laughter).
So hopefully I'll be able to do it better than
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Q. Has Michael Irvin said to you that
even if you leave a few minutes he would use
them? (Asked by Michael Irvin)?
THURMAN THOMAS: Yes, he has. He
has definitely told me that, and I'm sure he has the
other players, too. I'm sure Bruce Matthews, his
speech won't be as long. Roger won't say too
much. Charlie said that he won't say too much.
So you may have at least 50 minutes, I think
(laughter). It starts at 6:00, ends at 9:00.
You could have anywhere from maybe
8:00 to 9:00. We're leaving it all up to you, baby,
because we know how important it is to you and
Jerry Jones and the Cowboys. If you want all the
time, you can have it (laughter).
Q. Who is going to be the first person
to cry?
THURMAN THOMAS: They already
counted out Michael because he already cried at
the press conference in Miami. It won't be
Michael. I will probably say it would be Michael
again. That's what I'm going to put my money on.
Q. When you were playing, did you
look around the locker room and say, There are
a lot of Hall of Famers in this room?
THURMAN THOMAS: No, I didn't. You
know, including myself, too. I mean, I think when
you come into the National Football League you
don't think right away, Oh, yeah, I'm coming in to
be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. You come in
to think you're going to try to win as many
championships as you can.
To play on such great teams as I did with a
bunch of great players I played with, dominated the
AFC for a long period of time, playing really in a
small market, to get the publicity we got was great
for all of us because we had the stats, Jim had the
stats, I had the stats, Andre, Bruce, Steve Tasker.
You can go on and on. Marv Levy was the best
coach in Bills history.
You never really looked at it until I guess
after you finish playing. Marv Levy became the
first coach to get in from that team, from the
Buffalo Bills. After that it's kind of been like a
domino effect for Jim, myself, Andre, hopefully
Steve, and Bruce in a couple of years.
Thank you very much.
ADAM SCHEFTER: Our next member
from the class of 2007 played 12 seasons in Dallas
for the Dallas Cowboys. He was known as the
“Playmaker.” But as John Madden himself said
when he was up here earlier, he was not the
play-maker as much as he was a linebacker
playing wide receiver. I now call on Michael Irvin
to come up here and answer a few questions.
MICHAEL IRVIN: Hello. I missed John.
He was up here talking about me, and let me tell
you about John. One thing that I am kind of
disappointed in my career. I wanted to catch a
thousand passes, and I probably could have. First
of all, I thank God that I don't have Thurman's
problem, because I do have three Super Bowl
rings (laughter). Let me get that out of the way.
But I wanted to catch a thousand passes.
One day in that meeting with John and Pat, I
shared a secret with them about how to get open
without being as fast as some of the other guys. I
said, you know, John, sometimes when guys are
real close, as long as I'm in the running motion, I
kind of (indicating), go get the ball.
I said, John, that's between you and I.
Don't tell anybody. Of course, he must have run
out of things to say during the broadcast, because
that game, this secret between John and I, he
broadcast to the world.
So now they bring in the rule. Every time I
got ready to play, Watch Michael pushing. So
those last 250 catches, I put that on John. I could
have gotten to a thousand if he would have left my
secret between him and me.
So whatever John said, I don't know. I just
don't know. John says too much sometimes
(laughter), and that's the problem.
You hear most of the guys talking about
that luncheon today. To describe it, honestly it's
not anything you can describe. Adam and I was
talking about that earlier. I mean, to sit in that
room with guys you've admired so much. Not only
to sit in that room and look at them, but they grab
the microphone and start talking about you.
So I was sitting there, and Deacon was
talking about me. I'm thinking, oh, my God, I've
never had a lack-of-confidence problem, not even
lacking in the ego department (smiling), but I sat in
that room and didn't squeak a word - not one word.
I did not say a word.
Earlier we had a meeting in one of these
rooms. Like the rookie, I came in and I grabbed
my chair. They had tables. The tables looked full.
I grabbed my chair, quietly went and sat against
the wall. It's like sometimes when you're in the
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room where there's so much greatness, it's okay to
capitulate and say, Hey, I'm just happy to be here.
That's how I feel. I'm just happy to be
here. Don't know if I deserve it. Don't know if
anybody deserves it really. But I'm just happy to
be here.
Q. You've had so many experiences in
your life, how does something like this live up
to your expectations?
MICHAEL IRVIN: Well, to live up means I
had to have the expectations. I don't know that I've
expected what I'm seeing. The size of it all, it's not
anything you can fantasize about or dream of.
When I used to train, I used things to motivate me
like, you know, during the off-season if I'm training,
when I get at the pushing point where I'm tired, I
would say, Hey, Pro Bowlers don't stop here. The
Pro Bowl could motivate me.
When I would get past the Pro Bowl point I
would say, Are you winning the Super Bowl or not?
Boop, that would push you a little bit more. You
get tired there, you know, Super Bowl MVP? You
push there.
But not once did I even mutter out of my
mouth about Hall of Fame. Just didn't do. I just
didn't do it because I couldn't fathom it in my mind.
I couldn't put it together. I just didn't do it.
And now that I'm here and I see what it
really is, I'm glad I didn't do it 'cause I probably
would have killed myself trying to run up to what
the Hall of Fame is.
So, you know, I had no expectations about
it, but I'm just happy to be here.
Q. You're one of 17 children in your
family. Can you talk about the role your family,
siblings, had on your development as a football
MICHAEL IRVIN: It's a funny thing
because I think growing up with so many siblings,
the good thing about it is you do learn that it's not
all about you. That's what team is all about. You
play a part, you play a role in the big picture.
And I do believe I'm fortunate enough to
win championships everywhere I played. I do
believe the ability to get along with people.
Because once we start breaking it all down, it's
only all about getting along with people. Can you
lead? Can you help somebody become better at
what they're doing?
I don't think that I was ever the greatest
player on a football field, but I do believe that I
helped players play great. There's a great
difference there. I think you'll get many players
that help players play great, you're going to win
championships with that, and that makes all the
difference in the world.
Jimmy Johnson, when I was talking to
Coach Johnson, he said to me, You know you're
my favorite player, Michael. Congratulating me,
called me to congratulate me. Said, You're my
favorite player. I said, Coach, that's great. Do you
know what that means to me to hear you say that?
He said I worked hard. I used to train
thinking about I want him to say I was his best
player. To hear you say that. He said, Stop,
Michael. I never said my best, I said favorite
(laughter). I almost wrecked the car laughing. I
said, Okay, I I'll take favorite. I'll take favorite.
I hope that's what he was meaning, he
was trying to convey to me. No, you were not the
best, but you helped people play great, and that
made the difference.
Q. Where did your will come from?
MICHAEL IRVIN: I hate losing. You
know, it's funny because I was telling Roger's
business partner, Roger Staubach, because he still
argues at basketball games and everything. I hate
losing. And now, even now when I'm playing
basketball or something, I'm out there arguing with
these young guys. They're much better athletes
than I am now, but I'm arguing with them, No, we
When I hear the Roger Staubach stories it
makes me feel good, because I think I'm crazy.
But then I hear that Roger does this stuff. Then I
think, Okay, it's okay. If he's doing it, then, okay,
maybe it's normal, it's just normal.
I never got when people say, I understand
sportsmanship, I understand sportsmanship, I
understand that, but don't tell me -- and I know kids
may be watching, but I'm sorry, I'm going to tell you
the truth -- that it's not about winning and losing,
but it is. It is about winning and losing.
For me it's always been about winning and
losing, and that's where the will comes in at. I did
not, do not, and will not. I don't want to lose.
Q. When you look back over all of your
accomplishments in your career where does
this weekend rank?
MICHAEL IRVIN: This is tops. This is
tops. You hear people say that this is the crowning
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moment of your career, and it is just that. You
know, there are plenty of Super Bowl rings in that
room. It is the elite.
I always used to tell people, Okay, the best
get to go to college. Then the best of that best
gets to play in the NFL. This is the best of the best
of the best of that best in the Hall of Fame.
To be in that room and say that I'm part of
that, it's a mind-blowing honor. It is. It's
overwhelming. It's overwhelming. And it does get
embarrassing. It's hard. I don't ever get
embarrassed, but it does get embarrassing. You
get little old ladies walking up to you in the airport
saying, Congratulations on the Hall. I'm like, What
do you know about the Hall of Fame? It's like,
Wow, this is different, this is different.
Q. How important is it that you get to
share this with your family? Seems like you
brought a big chunk of Broward County up
here with you.
MICHAEL IRVIN: Yeah, a big chunk of my
money is gone (laughter).
No, it's very important. That's why I would
say -- I said it in the press conference in Miami that
it did work out great. My mom was right. God
does know best. It worked out the best way. First
and foremost, my leader, our leader, our
quarterback, Troy Aikman, he led us to three Super
It was just that he walked in the Hall first
and he led. He's leading my group of guys into the
Hall, so he went first. I have the opportunity to get
in in Miami, right there, right at home, right in front
of everybody. I thought that was great. God fixed
it for me.
Because the reality of it all to me was, Troy
got his MVP in Pasadena. Emmitt got his MVP in
Atlanta. The next Super Bowl was in Miami. That
was supposed to be my MVP. We went down 21
and lost to San Francisco.
I told Emmitt, Atlanta is as close as we
gonna get to Pensacola. There was going to be no
Super Bowl in Pensacola. The Miami Super Bowl
was supposed to be my MVP. It was San Diego,
they played a lot of man coverage. It lined up
perfectly. It did not work out. I guess God said, I
got you there, Michael. Let me give you this back.
So to get inducted, called in Miami, it was
great for me. It kind of made everything all right for
me again.
Q. Why did you select Jerry Jones to
make the presenting speech, and have you
finished your speech yet?
MICHAEL IRVIN: Well, I selected Jerry
because he's the right man for many reasons, for
many reasons. I sat with my wife -- and I'll share
this with you -- I sat with my wife and I said, Baby,
okay, who gets your vote? And she started
sharing things with me that I didn't know anything
about. She started sharing when I laid on that
carpet, and it was carpet, in Philadelphia with my
neck injury.
While I was under the doctor's care, Jerry
called her and talked to her until she was calm
about everything. And when things were not going
great for me, Jerry would call her and talk to her
and let her know that we're going to be right here,
you know, we care about him. She's never said
anything to me about any of that.
You know, Jerry and I go beyond football,
beyond football. I don't play for Jerry now. We still
sit down and talk. He asks me about my plans.
What are your plans? He's always talking about
this 36 months, give me your three-year plan. We
always got to be working 36 months. And I'm not
catching one touchdown for him, not one.
He means a great deal, great deal to me,
and I appreciate his friendship. I appreciated when
I was playing his ownership, the type of owner he
is. He has the same desires to win Super Bowls
as the players do. You don't find that with owners
a lot of the times. They're guys that want to make
money, but this guy really wants to win Super
Bowls. I have an appreciation for that.
I tell people all the time, I love that he
comes to practice. If you're going to bust your butt
in practice like you supposed to practice, you
should want the owner to come out here, too, to
practice. Because when I go ask for my money we
shouldn't have any problems. You see how I
practice, so why would you not want him out there
all the time? I want him on the field. I want him to
be here every day. I like that it matters that he's
around all the time.
I think the world of him, I really do. I think
the world of him as a man. I think the world of his
family. It was an easy pick for me.
Q. Your speech?
MICHAEL IRVIN: Am I finished with it?
My speech is in here, it really is. I think it's
important for me with all that I have gone through
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to share as much as is in here and who I am.
There are a lot of people that have heard a lot
about me - some things good, some things bad. I
get the opportunity -- I want to try to share as much
of me with people as I can.
Q. On or off the field, any regrets from
your career?
MICHAEL IRVIN: Of course I have
regrets. Some of the things that have happened
off the football field. I don't think anyone would
raise their hand and say, I want that to happen.
But when it's all said and done, do I move
on with it, then you try to start looking at the bright
side of everything. You say, Okay, that's
happened. What do you do you now? What's the
bright side of it? What's the bright side? I look and
I say, when I go to talk to kids that are having
issues or had problems, they perk up. They know
when I walk in the room, He's been there and he's
done that. They lend me their ear. I get an
opportunity to really have some great
I get on airplanes and I can't tell you how
many just fellowship sessions I've had with people
just on airplanes. They heard the story, they sit
down, talk to me, they open up, they cry. They
may hand the phone over, Can you call my son?
He's going through something. Call my daughter.
She's going through something. Maybe you can
They loved watching you.
Those are the times, though I will always
regret the mistakes, the bad decisions. I don't
want to call them mistakes, but bad decisions I
made. I will always regret them. Those are the
times that I'm okay, yeah.
Q. You mentioned losing earlier, Troy
Aikman. In the earlier years you had some lean
times. When Troy first came in did you say,
This guy might be able to turn it around for us?
MICHAEL IRVIN: Let me tell you, the first
year, what did we go 3-13 the first year? I cried
after every game like a baby. Flat out cried.
Boo-hoo. I mean, tears were running. The guys
were walking by me, picking up their checks,
talking about, I don't know what you're doing,
I was taking down their names, too. As
soon as Jimmy got there I turned that list in. They
got to go (laughter).
When we drafted Troy that year, I said,
Oh, we got it. That's all I needed was one guy. I
can get this thing turned around. I'm good. Went
1-15 that next year.
But the good thing about it is somebody
else was crying with me. You found that it
mattered. It mattered. I thought, I got me
somebody else that it really matters to. That's all
you need. You just keep putting people around
you that it matters to. Troy, we got Emmitt of
course, it mattered to Jimmy. We had a head
coach with all of his star players, naturally that
trickles down, that trickles down. We were able to
be very successful.
I like the fact -- I didn't enjoy it. There's a
difference between enjoying and liking. I didn't
enjoying losing, but I like the fact, as I look back,
we started out with those lean years, because
through those lean years we built a bond that held,
that sustained us through those great years.
That's why we never had disputes, we
never broke up. You would never hear me call out
my quarterback. You would never hear me talk
about my teammates in a bad way, because they
are that: They are my teammates. But they were
also family.
They’re taking me away now. I could sit
and talk with you guys quite a while, but they're
telling me that's it. Thank you, guys (laughter).
FastScripts by ASAP Sports


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