Candid Marvin Harrison Bound For Pro Football Hall Of Fame

Intro: For 45 minutes on Friday afternoon, Marvin Harrison spoke to the media in Canton, Ohio. It was a candid session with Harrison on why he’s so honored to be heading into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend.

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CANTON, Ohio. – Nearly 15 years ago, in a hallway at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, Bill Polian had something to say to Marvin Harrison.

Most hallway talk in a work environment isn't too notable.

This wasn't your average passing by.

Polian's message: When you make the Hall of Fame, I'll be there.

Harrison was rattled.

"I didn't know what he was talking about," Harrison recalls about the first "Hall of Fame" prediction he had ever heard for him.

"I just kept walking my way and he kept walking his way. And I was like, 'What is he talking about?'

"Myself, personally, I never really had an idea."

For Harrison, his aspirations were rather simple.

"Every week, no matter what I did the week before, I wanted to play a little better."

Slight improvements, week-after-week, over the course of 13 seasons in Indianapolis has taken Harrison to another home---Canton, Ohio.

On Saturday night, Harrison will become the first player in Indianapolis Colts' history to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame, having spent his entire career in the Circle City.

The fans of Indianapolis will be a major theme in Harrison's induction speech on Saturday.

"I think we have the best fans in all of football," Harrison said on a Friday, in an un-Marvin-like 45-minute media session from Canton.

"From when I got off the plane in 1996, to what the city has grown to now…no other team that I would want to play for."

When Harrison received the Hall of Fame call back in January, he knew exactly where the next call was going.

Jim Irsay has done so much for Harrison and it's why the Colts Owner slipped on the gold jacket to No. 88's shoulders on Thursday, and will present the seven-time Pro Bowler into the Hall of Fame on Saturday.

"It was pretty important," Harrison said of wanting Irsay to present him.

"All that Mr. Irsay has done for the city of Indianapolis, all he's done for myself, my family is pretty important, pretty special. He did everything he had to do to help his team win. Whatever we needed, he gave us. When I got in, I called Mr. Irsay, 'Thanks for all you have done for me. I wanted you to be the first one to know that I got accepted into the Hall of Fame.'"

This week in Canton has provided Harrison the chance to reminisce a bit.

Even Tony Dungy has noticed a more "exuberant, outgoing" Harrison in Canton.

Harrison can't wait to return to Indianapolis in November for even more recollection at the team's Super Bowl XLI reunion.

"This morning I was thinking about how good of a group of guys we had in our locker room," Harrison said on Friday. "I would spend time in just about every position (room) there. During a week, I would hang out with the offensive linemen. I would go down there and mess with Howard Mudd, mess with those guys on breaks. Then on days off, I would go hang out with (defensive lineman) Ellis Johnson on his farm. That was something new to me. On Friday, I would go with the defensive backs after practice and play the goal post game.

"I had a great time with a lot of group of guys and I think more than anything Tony brought that to the team---a family."

A look inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Dungy has set the over/under on Harrison's enshrinement speech Saturday night at nine minutes.

In true Harrison fashion, the man who embodied practice like no other has had sufficient preparation for Saturday night.

A few nerves will be there for Harrison but he even joked that if a groove is found, the 25-minute mark might be in jeopardy.

"It's an opportunity to share a couple of things that I wanted to express to the fans and family that I wanted to do for years," Harrison said of Saturday's speech to begin the Class of 2016 inductees.

"I even took a walk-through at the stadium yesterday. I wanted to see where it is, how far the stage is, where the lights are going to be. I always want to prepare myself."

Saturday night, Canton will welcome a kid who grew up playing the game of football in a two-hand touch setting on the streets of Philly.

Primarily a high school running back, Harrison moved to wide receiver at Syracuse, because there's where the best chance for playing time was on the Orange's depth chart.

The Colts, despite zero draft communication with Harrison, took him 19th overall in 1996.

Some 13 years later, Harrison shut the door on a career that drew the attention of those in Canton.

To most, Harrison is known as a Hall of Famer.

To the kids back at Harrison's high school, Roman Catholic High School in Pennsylvania, he's simply "Coach Harrison."

Coach. Hall of Famer. No. 88.

Call Harrison what you want.

He's perfectly content with how his professional career unfolded.

"More importantly," Harrison says, "I wanted to play for one team my entire career. That's what I was able to do."

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