February 11, 2011

Shannon Sharpe's Journey To the Hall of Fame

While anyone living in Broncos Country will tell you Sharpe should’ve been in the Hall of Fame the minute he was eligible, I think we’d also say that his journey to get there was well worth the wait.

The journey began on June 26, 1968 in Chicago, Illinois where Shannon was born but he grew up in Glennville, Georgia with his mom, older brother Sterling and a sister. For a young black man in the late ‘60s – early ‘70s in the Southern parts of America, life was anything but easy. Shannon and his older brother Sterling Sharpe, grew up dirt poor. He even once joked saying, “We were so poor, a robber once broke into our house and we ended up robbing the robber."

He spent his high school days at Glennville High School in Georgia where he was all-county, all-region and all-area while playing football while also lettering four times.

In addition to his stellar football skills he also lettered in basketball (3 times) and 4 times in track. Shannon was a two-time all-area selection in basketball, scoring over 1,000 points in three seasons. He averaged 30 points and 15 rebounds as a senior. It is said he even managed to snag 52 points and 27 rebounds in one game.

As a junior, Sharpe set a Georgia state Class A record in the triple jump (48’-3”) but then went on to break his own record in his senior year (49’-5”). Shannon also won the regional triple jump title three consecutive years and the regional discus throwing title twice.

Needless to say, he was a superb athlete, no matter what he did.

After high school, Shannon went on to Savannah State College (now known as Savannah State University), in Savannah, Georgia, where he really began to excel in football.

Academically, Sharpe said he "was a terrible student" but managed to graduate from Savannah State with a B.S. degree in criminal justice. Clearly he did something right.

Athletically, he was a genius. A gifted and talented smash-mouth football player, he also played college basketball and competed in the triple jump in track and field.

He put the majority of his time and focus into football as he was a three-time All-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection from 1987-1989. He even helped lead the Tigers’ football team to their (two) best records in history, once in 1988 (7-3) and in 1989 (8-1). Shannon was also a four-year letter winner (1986-89) in football as a flanker.

In his senior year alone, he was named Co-SIAC Player of the Year, selected as a Kodak Division II All-American, selected to the Kodak Small College All-America First Team and was named College Player of the Year in Georgia.

In addition, he was the first Savannah State player to play in the Blue-Gray Classic (1990) and East-West Shrine Game (1990). And to this day, Sharpe owns SSU single season receiving records for yardage, touchdowns and yards per catch.

While on the football team, he also earned a nickname – 'The Shapeshifter' – due to his extraordinary ability to shape his body into any form to catch the ball.

1990 finally arrived, his chance to get drafted by an NFL team. Sadly enough, it took the Denver Broncos (his eventual landing spot) till the 7th round of the draft to pick him (192nd overall). Nonetheless, they picked him and would be ever-so-grateful that they did.

Shannon Sharpe would go on to play 10 straight seasons (12 total; ending his career with two more after a brief stint in Baltimore) with the Broncos, two of which were back to back Super Bowl seasons.

He began his career by playing in all 16 games in his first four seasons with the Denver Broncos, getting more and more receptions from Quarterback John Elway, which in turn led to his first 1,000-yard season in 1994.

His breakout season came in his third year in Denver when he led the team in receiving with 53 catches for 640 yards, which led to his first of eight Pro Bowl nominations.

After another accelerating season in 1993, he was named first-team All-Pro for the first of four times after upping his game to 81 catches for 995 yards and 9 touchdowns. In ’94 he would go on to catch a career-high 87 passes, a mark he never reached again in his NFL career.

His total yardage fell quite a bit down to 756 in the ’95 season but he picked right where he left off in the ’94 season and went on to have two consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in ’96 and ’97 – the ’97 season being the Broncos’ first Super Bowl season since 1989.

Yardage wise, in 1997 he recorded his best season with 72 catches for a career high 1,107 yards.

Along with many others from the Broncos’ first Super Bowl win, Sharpe returned for another World Championship before leaving the team. At the end of the ’99 season, he had suffered an injury in which the Broncos didn’t want to keep him. He then decided to leave and went to Baltimore as an unrestricted free agent where he played two seasons (2000-01) for the Ravens and earning another Super Bowl ring before returning to Denver.

While Shannon was in Baltimore, it was there that he surpassed their Hall of Fame TE Ozzie Newsome to become the NFL’s record holder for receptions and total yards by a tight end.

When he returned to Denver after 2 short years away, he then became the record holder for touchdowns by a tight end in his final season. Those three marks he left on the NFL have since been surpassed but in my book, he will stand as the best TE to have played the game. Not only because he is a Bronco and I stand by them all but he paved the way for future TE’s such as his successor former Chief/current Falcon Tony Gonzalez to achieve such greatness in the NFL.

Sharpe finished his career where he started it, from 2002-03, in the city that first gave him a fighting chance to become the football player he was meant to be. He also went out in style ending his career (at that time) as the all-time leader in catches (815), total receiving yards (10,060) and touchdowns (62) by a Tight End.

Not only did he set records for his position alone in the NFL at the time of his retirement, he ended his 14 season career with 3 Super Bowl rings, 8 Pro Bowl selections (’92 – ’98; 2001), 4 Associated Press First-Team All-Pro selections (’93, ’96-’98), 1 Associated Press Second-Team All Pro selection in 1995 and was selected to the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 1990s.

In addition, he played in 204 regular season games and started in 4 AFC Championship games. He was the starting TE in Denver's back to back Super Bowl titles and the Ravens' Super Bowl XXXV victory in 2000. Sharpe also led the Broncos in receiving six times and once for the Ravens.

When Shannon Sharpe retired, he left a legacy behind in the world of pro football but one thing he did was just as popular, if not more than, how he played the game of football – he trash-talked better than anyone I’ve ever seen. Lol

He’s said some things that would make you laugh or question him as a person, but nothing stands out more than his infamous and the funniest phone call he made during a football game.

On November 17, 1996 during a game against the New England Patriots, the Broncos were handing the Pats serious beating on the field (34-8) and Shannon decided to "help out" the ailing New England fans. Leave it to #84 to hang out on the sidelines, pick up the phone and say these brilliant and perfectly chosen words:

"Mr. President, call in the National Guard! We need as many men as you can spare! Because we are killing the Patriots! We'll call the dogs off! Send the National Guard please!"

I don’t think I’ll ever forget he did that and how funny it was.

Yep, he went out in style and took his... uh... we'll call it "vocal stylings" with him.

In his post-retirement, he went on to do something that fit him well, become a commentator for a pre-game show, The NFL Today for CBS, where he gets to talk… A LOT.

He has also become part of their CBS Sprint Halftime Report and the Subway Postgame Show replacing Deion Sanders and co-hosting with James Brown, former NFL QBs Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason and former NFL coach Bill Cowher.

He resides in Atlanta, Georgia (close to where he grew up) and has said his hobbies include fishing, basketball and weightlifting.

After a few years, he got his first nod to be a Hall of Fame finalist in 2009. It became such a big deal that he might get in then that his Alma Mater, Savannah State officially retired his #2 college jersey on their declared 'Shannon Sharpe Day' in October of 2009. He was also inducted into the NCAA Division II Football Hall of Fame in December of 2009.

On September 20, 2009 Shannon was also given the distinguished honor of being inducted into the Broncos' Ring of Fame at their Mile High stadium in downtown Denver.

Unfortunately but not shockingly enough, he failed to get voted in for the HOF that year and in 2010. But the committee, I guess, figured third time’s a charm for Shannon Sharpe in 2011 as he was voted to be enshrined in Canton, Ohio – right where he belongs, among the best.

When August 6, 2011 comes around, he will become the 6th Bronco player to be inducted into the prestigious club that is the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He will be introduced by his older brother Sterling Sharpe.

Somebody call the National Guard!... Shannon Sharpe is coming to the Hall of Fame!

Extra videos:
Shannon Is Da Man
Shannon Doesn’t Remember
Top Ten Draft Steals: Shannon Sharpe
***I apologize for the last video (Top 10 Draft Steals). Its a great video on Shannon but it pauses every couple of seconds and when it does it take a few more seconds for it to come back. Its worth it though. Only 3:30 long. Just a heads up.

Congrats again to Shannon for getting to go into the HOF. Well-deserved my friend! Can't wait for the enshrinement day.< And just for kicks....

52 comments:

  1. Argh! The print on this looks silly. Will you fix it for me Aussie? Oh and thanks again for the pics and the extra info on him. It helped!

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  2. When I get a chance I will do my thing haha

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  3. MUCH better! Thanks!

    Let me know how it is. I think I got the better of him in the article. Out of the 5 videos, 3 of them have a clip of the National Guard phone call he made. Funnier every time I see it.

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  4. Haha I know just finished watching them and the article is good.

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  5. Thanks. Just finished re-reading it myself. ha

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  6. I almost didn't put up that last picture but I figured why not. lol

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  7. Hey Digger where is the Crazy post about Doom and Mario Williams on MHR? Or are you doing that tomorrow?

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  8. I like the site upgrades. looks cool. does anyone know a place to download free music?

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  9. What up Chris, how you been? As for free music, if you are in to that just google it I guess.

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  10. Haha I figured Digger, I still think it is an interesting idea, and would get alot of discussion going at MHR haha.

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  11. Yo digger still waiting on that mock haha, do you want me to write it up for you and you just post it up?

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  12. Wahah nice way to back out Digger, love the mock though, was an interesting idea and I agree, never was going to happen.

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  13. Haha G. I did give you props and mention our crazy idea.

    Did you see the newest Rotoworld thing about Gaff? Proof that higher ups read our blogs. Nobody in the Bronco organization ever said anything about trading him. Only bloggers came up with trade Gaff...or Royal...some even Lloyd. Now they say he's not on the trading block. Uh, he never was really.

    Oh, and did you see that one guy's comment on my mock? He acts like we need to draft a WR.

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  14. Thanks for the props Digger haha, and I do believe people read our ideas every now and then, because we are the smart ones haha.

    And yeah read your comments some people act like they know so much when it is so little, and we do not need a WR at all we have enough already.

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  15. Who are you there? I'd hate to bitch about someone here about what they said there and it turns out to be someone here. Did you follow that? Anyway, what bugs me most are the ones who say we can't expect to get it all this year. Or we won't have a chance next year anyway. BS. You build a team every off season and in the pre-season you think you can win it all. 16-0. Realistic or not. I don't get cheering any other way than that.

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  16. Nah I ain't over there, and if I was it would be Gouldinator1. I don't expect us to get all the players we need to fill the holes (we have so many) but I do think playoffs are realistic with good players at key positions, mainly defense.

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  17. Another tough week of injuries and finally some good news:

    http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_17398281

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  18. Geez, looks like now the "good news" might be bad news already. Champ put his house in CO up for sale. They no more announced that both sides have renewed talks and he does this. I hate that there are ill feelings between these two. Will not be good for our D, let alone the team, if he's gone. He's still got plenty left in him.

    Only good side I see from this is the earlier he retires (if that's what he does instead of go to another team, I'd prefer that, lol) then the earlier he'll get into Canton. Still gotta wait that 5 years but he'll get in. If Denver doesn't reason with him, he'll at least get a spot in the HOF. Bunch of craziness. Sure wish he comes back to play... PLEEEEEAAAAASE!!!

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  19. The way I read that is Champ put his house on the market last week and is now starting up negotiations. I think Champ has a real chance of staying. He would have seen what happened to Dawkins. Left the Eagles to go another team and now his previous team is close to the superbowl. I give it three years and we will be in the superbowl.

    Digger got a question for you, what points chart do you use for trading draft picks? Have a link?

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  20. Here the one I found G.
    http://www.walterfootball.com/nfldraftology321.php
    It seems a lot better than the old one floating around.

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  21. Talks resumed. The Broncos were still offering the same deal as before, but that wasn't enough for him. See ya later. The report about the interview with Josina Anderson sounded as if He got mad about the offer and in a huff said "I'm putting my house up for sale." I don't care if he stays or goes. He's a great player(HOF), but damn, if 10mil/yr. isn't enough then goodbye. Shit man, we paid Doom and then he's out the whole year. Lloyd plays his ass off for less than half a mil this year. It ain't right. The game is going to hell in a handbasket and now they want to strike. They better watch their step is all I say. Some people may just say, "You know what, we're sick of this crap."

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  22. The way I read it is that they no more announced talks had resumed between both sides and then hours later he's got his house for sale... this is the first I've read/heard that he put his house up for sale. Regardless, there's no doubt that he wants a SB win, what football player doesn't want that??

    I find it VERY hard to believe that Champ would get mad about an offer. As much as he does for the Denver community, charities, etc, for him to complain about a contract offer seems beneath him. That right there clearly says we don't know all the facts about his talks and what has really gone on. To some players $10mill/year may sound dirt cheap but for Champ, I just find it hard for him to sit there and complain about how "little' that is and possibly feel insulted by that offer.

    The problem is that years ago the owners of certain teams have given way to the rookies coming into their teams which is the part I find appalling. By that move, now ALL the rookies that come into the NFL EXPECT a big pay day up front instead of earning it as they prove their worth to their team overtime. Granted, I'd take that $10mill/year in a heartbeat, then again I'm level-headed while most of these players have larger than life ego coming into college. I get your point Digger about Doom & Lloyd... completely agree. I'm just sayin' till we know every fact (which we won't), I will always find it hard to believe that Champ would throw this big of a fit over $10 million. Then again, he's EARNED his way into the league but I don't think we'll ever see the days of a player earning his money again... they are all being handed a paycheck with more zereos than most people will ever see in a lifetime and they haven't even played one down in a pro game.

    And for that... when you question their motive to go on strike for God knows what stupid reason, I'm with you there. They honestly have no room to be complaining with the money they make right out of college and haven't proved themselves at all in the NFL. But there is plenty to be said about injustices like the situation with Lloyd that you mentioned. That's what they should focus on... giving players who have EARNED their way a respected amount of money instead of giving it all to one rookie. Makes me sick.

    So there..... lol

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  23. Haha Princess, love the passion. My view on Champ is he didn't get offered the 10 mil a year. I think maybe somewhere between 5-7 mil for the first year with options for more years on that at like 10-12 mil. Hence why he is selling his house.

    The rookie contracts have been insane and over the top, so I will be happy to see that change, and players make to much money as it is, it is a game after all.

    Plus Lloyd I think will need more money, not this year but hopefully he doesn't do a Marshall next year.

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  24. Mayock on Patrick Peterson: 'He's most comfortable in press man He's got a little stiffness. Ultimately might be best served at safety.'

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  25. Press man is harder to play then off man. Surprised he has stiff-ish hips, because he shows nice moves in the return game. Could mean he needs to loosen his hips and turn better, that can be taught.

    He would be a freak of a safety, Ed Reed or better type player. Plus I think he fills our biggest need.

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  26. Had a great weekend, picked up a Orange Tebow jersey and a Orange Elway jersey on the weekend, so had a good few days haha.

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  27. From the shops haha, $40 bucks a piece was very happy to come across them.

    In other news though not much going on, no talk coming out of the labour stuff. Not much coming out of Dove Valley, so it has been quite, until the combine.

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  28. They sell jerseys cheap down under, don't they?

    Did you see the new Rotoworld thing on Tebow? It says Tebow is not to be considered as a no brainer as Denver's future and, after calling Michael Lombardi a reliable source, says according to Lombardi QB is a huge need. What a fricking idiot. He goes on to say the new regime is not behind the Tebow pick and TT is "a man without much support in Denver" now that McD is gone. LOL NFL network trying to rile us up again. I bet it works on most blogs.

    G
    I still have a hard time reading the headlines of the stories to the right when it is blue on blue.

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  29. Well if you don't count X-man, Fox and Elway as supports then I guess he has none haha, the team loves him. Lombardi is usually pretty good, but I think he got this wrong. I thought it was funny that later on there was a report from Tebow saying he is as ready as he has ever been.

    Yeah they do sell them cheap here which is good.

    As for the news thing it is one of those things I have struggled to change. Because changing it effects other things. I will have more of a look for you, but this thing has defeated me on more than one occasion.

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  30. Today is a good day, so happy for Champ.

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  31. Yeah,today we found out we're set at CB, but need a QB. Haha.

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  32. Haha digger is that a joke towards a certain take Newton at #2 post at MHR?

    I think getting Champ back is huge! But I would still take Peterson.

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  33. Yeah sort of. Mostly at the Lombardi thing.

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  34. You'd still take Peterson at #2? Do you want to trade down at all?

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  35. Haha yeah Digger.

    As for Peterson I think he is the best available defensive talent in the draft so I would take him. But things change, I have changed my ideas for my mock heaps in the last week. I just don't know enough hence why I am waiting to after the combine (I can wait that long :P) Peterson and Champ I think would be scray and help our D-line out greatly.

    I have been thinking about moving down. I like guys like Watt and Jordon, but we don't need a DE (we have enough money already invested in the position). I like Taylor or Wilkerson as a DT, but we would have to trade all the way back to the 20s. I also like Ayers as an SLB aroun 20 too. So there are a number of options. I would like to see us trade away a few players and get extra picks first. But we need a CBA, it would not surprise me if we had a deal done after the combine.

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  36. Oh and if Peterson runs under 4.3 at the combine he will be a Bronco.

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  37. You mentioned briefly one that has intrigued me lately, Ayers. I hadn't looked at him for the SLB yet. He seems like what we need most IMO.

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  38. Yes Ayers interests me as an SLB, my idea was get an SLB in this draft, then next year move DJ to WLB and then pick up one of the good ILB. But I still think the secondary is the biggest need. Other than Champ who is your starters?

    At LB at least we can have Haggan at SLB, DJ at MLB and Woodyard at WLB. On the DL we can have Ayers and Doom as DE with Hunter thrown in. Bannan has one DT spot locked in and the other could go to Vickerson. Where as in the secondary who is a starter? Goodman is old and injuryed and could be cut. I can see hill being cut, dawkins may retire and is old. Cox may get locked up, Thompson has the nickel locked down. McBath has been injured and Bruton needs step up his game so I can see us getting secondary help.

    The way I see it we need an CB, a safety, a DT and SLB. So Peterson, Sands, Paea and maybe someone like Herzlich? maybe.

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  39. I must be an idiot. Everyone keeps aying how terrible shape we're in with the DBs. Last offseason everyone was saying how great we were there. I know another year older, but we picked up Cox and Thompson, some very good surprises. I agree injuries hurt a bunch this year and they are more likely to happen to older guys, but damn I don't see the urgent need there. In fact, as you mentioned we could do alright defensively with guys we already have and new coaching.
    LCB-Bailey, Cox FS-Hill, Bruton SS-Dawkins???, McBath, McCarthy RCB-Goodman, Jackson NB-Thompson, Vaughn
    Jones and probably Dawkins should be gone and maybe add one or two guys in FA or later draft picks to compete, but not drastic need IMO

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  40. Yeah the secondary went from being good to bad, well maybe not bad but a lot of ifs. It really depends on who we keep and who comes back.

    Bailey is a lock.
    Dawkins may not be back, if he is then he is the starting FS, he won't play anything else.
    Bruton I think will be good and should get a change to succeed. But many better think he is crap.
    McBath is another good safety but he has been hurt to much.
    McCarthy isn't anything special, other than as a special teamer.
    Goodman has been hurt and may be cut, if not he will be a starting CB.
    Cox may be locked up or could provide good depth at CB.
    Thompson is a lock for nickel.
    Vaughn is a ST, but will need more time before we start him.
    Jones should be gone.

    Out of that Champ and Thompson are the only locks. So like I said in a previous post I don't know effort we don't know enough. Until these decisions are made I can't make a decision. But if this goes the way I think the secondary could become a real problem.

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  41. *people
    Oh Hill can start but an upgrade at his position is needed, I can see him getting cut.

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  42. I get where you're coming from G, I just have to think you can't guarantee anyone to stay healthy playing DB. There will be injuries. That is the only reason I agree the secondary should be addressed. To say Mcbath and Goodman are injury prone is not fair. Hill is better than most teams starting safeties. I get messed up on FS and SS.

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  43. I think Hill is a good player when her is on, some games he plays really well. But then in his off games he is really off.

    In a month or so I can tell you if the secondary will be a problem or not, at the moment I am just worried about it. But really pleased that champ is coming back.

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  44. Jones can go though as we said. Dawkins can be a 2 mil player/coach or cut I don't really care. Nothing solid on Jackson, Vaughn or McCarthy either for that matter. I don't care if they go. So yeah better get help.

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  45. Pretty sure Cox will be back. May have suspension though.

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