CANTON, Ohio -Throughout his Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement speech, you could hear the emotion, the passion in his voice. Because if there is one thing Steelers' linebacker Kevin Greene is, it's passionate.
He spoke about his family, expressing his love for his wife Tara, his children Gavin and Gabi. He thanked his father, retired Col. T.R. Greene, his mother and his siblings. And he thanked the teams he played for, and his former teammates.
But when he talked about the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team he played three of his 15 seasons for, that passion went to a whole other level.
"I find myself in the right place at the right time in the football universe," said Greene. "I would never experience anything quite like being a Steeler. Playing in front of Steelers Nation and feeding off that energy, I believed in my heart, I was unblockable."
Wearing his emotions: Tony Dungy is one of the strongest people you will ever meet, but even the strongest individuals sometimes have moments when emotions take over.
That was just the case when Dungy shared a story about what he learned from his coach with the Steelers, the man who later brought him on his coaching staff, Chuck Noll.
Noll instituted a 'family Saturday' for his players, a day when they could bring their kids out to practice and see what dad was doing. Dungy used to bring his late son James to those practices, and when recalling it, couldn't hide his emotions as his voice cracked and his eyes welled up.
"I was with Chuck Noll for 10 years, two as a player and eight as a coach," said Dungy. "He was just the best in so many ways. He was a teacher, an instructor, he encouraged you. I learned so much from him, as a player, as an assistant coach. The thing that I learned more was that football can't define you. It's what you do, it's not your life and it doesn't define you. He lived his life that way. We had family Saturdays."
Dungy took a deep breath, and then the emotions took over.
"I can still remember my oldest son James during defensive period when I was on the field sitting on John Stallworth's lap, and vise-versa," said Dungy. "When they would go out their kids would sit on our laps. Coach Noll wanted the kids to know where their dads work and what was happening. We did that every Saturday. "
Dungy also got emotional when talking about late Steelers owner Art Rooney Sr., and shared a special story about a letter "The Chief" sent after he was traded to San Francisco following his second season.
"A story I will never forget about 'The Chief.' I was there two years as a role player and I get traded to the 49ers. Two weeks later my mom gets a letter she got from Art Rooney. She read it to me."
As Dungy started to recall the letter, his voice cracked once again.
"It says it was great having your son here," recalled Dungy. "Anytime you want to come back you are always a Steeler. That was 'The Chief'."
Showing support:One of the players Greene mentioned, linebacker Greg Lloyd, was in Canton to support his 'brother' and celebrate the accomplishment with him.* *
"That is my boy," said Lloyd. "Kevin is my guy. I think it speaks volumes for the history of the linebacker. You think of Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, should be Andy Russell in there, and now you have Kevin in there. I hope it's not stopping there. It's overdue.
"What you can't deny is Kevin did the work. He had 160 sacks, third on the list. That should have been rewarded some time ago. It shines light on our linebacker crew that we had, things of that nature.
"I would go to war with him any day of the week. He is like a brother to me. I am so proud of him. He is most deserving. I can't speak anything bad about Kevin. It's all good. He impacted our defense so much. He freed me up on things I could do. They had to watch us both. It was great to have him as a teammate and even greater to have as a friend."