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Marvin Harrison Opens Up With Thank You's In Hall Of Fame Induction Speech

Intro: Marvin Harrison surprised many on Saturday night with the length of his Hall of Fame induction speech and the message he carried throughout it.


CANTON, Ohio. – Before the thank you's rolled out of Marvin Harrison on Saturday night, he wanted to address the elephant inside of Tom Benson Hall of Stadium.

How long would Harrison, known for his reserved comments, especially when the lights were shining the brightest, would speak on the night he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

"I'm not going to break the record to have the shortest speech in Hall of Fame history," Harrison said, clearing the air and setting up an 11:01-speech that provided insight into how this kid from Philly became a Hall of Famer.

The theme for Harrison on Saturday night was wanting to say thank you to all those who had helped him along the way.

From schoolteachers to present day Hall of Famers, Harrison was Peyton Manning-like with his storytelling.

On his former teachers at Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia and their impact on Harrison:

"I had a few teachers who took their time, their days off before school, after school, before practice and after practice to help myself and other students prepare for their SATs. And I've always said, 'What would have happened if you didn't have that extra year of eligibility to play college sports?' I probably wouldn't be here today.

"But I had one teacher in particular, his name was Joe Ferrero, he promised me that he would come to at least one game every year if I turned pro, and he came to one game a year. He wouldn't let me buy him a ticket. He wouldn't let me buy him a dinner, a hotel room, nothing.

"Joe, I just want to say thank you. More guys like you in the world, and it would be a better place. You told me you did it just because I was a great kid and nothing more. So I want to say thank you to Joe Ferrero."

On his time at Syracuse, particularly a Speech 101 class, taught by a 'Mrs. Johnson':

"I had a teacher in Syracuse University, my first class, it was called Speech 101, and the first day of class she said to me, 'The class is going to be divided up into three parts -- 50% attendance, 25% exams, and 25% presentation.' And I told her right away, 'I'm going to do the best I can do to get 75% in this class.' And she said, 'What do you mean?' I said, 'Because I don't think you know, that's not what I do. I'm not going to give you a speech.' She said, 'You won't have to, but you won't pass the class.' I told her instantly. Timeout. We've got to go over this. This is not something I do.

"As the year went on, I did the class, I did the course, and I passed the class. She said to me, 'Marvin, some day you're going to look back on this day and thank me because you're going to have to give the biggest speech of your life, so you might as well do it now.' So I want to thank Mrs. Johnson for that."

On his first head coach Lindy Infante:

"I played my first NFL game right on this very field. It was the Colts versus the Saints, and my first head coach was Lindy Infante. He's not here with us today, but I definitely got to thank him. And Marshall Faulk can vouch for this. During practice, he would say to us, 'I don't like you guys catching passes. You make it look too easy.' I was a rookie. I didn't know what he was talking about. He said, 'You've got to make tough catches and practice them.' I was a rookie, so I just listened to what my head coach told me. I would make these tough catches in practice, because that's how he told us to catch. And these catches you see on film today, they may look tough to me, but they were routine. And I want to say thank you to Lindy Infante. He played a big role in getting me started in my career."

On Jim Mora, his next head coach with the Colts:

"They said Jim Mora was tough, hard-nosed. Jim Mora's probably my best friend as a head coach. Every day he came to me during my spot in line, the stretching line. He talked about his family, the time in Philadelphia. He and I would talk about what we're going to eat for dinner at night. Me and Jim were best of friends.

"But they said he was hard-nosed, laughed about how he ran those guys into the ground for the Saints. But he told me, I'm not used to this. I've seen guys that I coached for years, and when you got here, you just worked your butt off, and I just want to congratulate you on that, you're a great kid. So Jim Mora, thank you to you also."

On Tony Dungy, his final head coach and fellow Hall of Fame inductee in 2016:

"I could sit up here for 10, 15 minutes and tell you about how important it was to have you as my coach and talk about football. But what you brought to our team and to me was more important than anything. You taught us how to be teammates. You taught us how to be men. But the most important thing is you taught us about fatherhood. And I think that's more important than any head coach could ever tell his players. So I want to thank you for that."

On position coach Clyde Christensen:

"We would block from the first day of Training Camp all the way to the Super Bowl. He didn't take it easy on us. He didn't treat us like prima donnas. We worked extremely hard. We had a great cast over at the Colts, and I want to thank Clyde Christensen for being there for me and allowing me to be a professional Pro Bowler and a Hall of Famer. You didn't change anything about my game. The only problem that we had is was I going to come out of a game or come out of practice. That's the only argument that we had. I wasn't coming out of practice and I wasn't coming out of games. You've got to forgive me for that one, Clyde."

On legendary offensive coordinator Tom Moore:

"Tom Moore, that's a whole other game. Anytime you'd come off a record-breaking season and you had 143 catches and first day of Training Camp your coach comes over to you and he's upset, he's sad. 'What's your problem?' 'Nothing, what's up? He said, 'I'm a little upset with you.' I said, 'Why would you be upset with me? I just had 143 catches.' He said, 'You should have had 150. I'm a little upset with that.' So I said, 'What did you want me to do?'

"So I've got to thank Tom Moore. He played an extremely big role in me being here today. He would tell me, 'I'm going to throw you the ball, whether there's double coverage, I don't care who's guarding, you better get open because I'm going to keep throwing you the ball.' And Tom believed in me, he kept throwing me the ball. I have to thank Tom Moore. He's not here today, and he's coaching. He's 77 years old. I saw him a month ago. He told me, 'Marvin, I'm going to keep coaching for another 20 years.' So I want to thank Tom Moore for all he's done for me."

On former Colts GM and Hall of Famer Bill Polian:

"Now, I don't know, but 15, 16, 17 years ago we're walking down, crossing paths in the locker room and Bill Polian said, 'What's up, Hall of Famer?' And I'm like, 'What is this guy talking about?' I'm in my sixth, seventh year, he's talking about Hall of Fame. That shows you why he's up here today and part of this elite group. He can pick out talent a mile away. He told me when I get inducted, he'll be right here with me on this stage. And he is. Bill Polian, thank you for all that you've done for me. It's been a great run, and I thank you for all that you've done for me."

On Harrison's Hall of Fame presenter, Jim Irsay:

"Mr. Irsay, it goes without saying. You've done a great job for our city of Indianapolis. You've done a great job for me and my family. No other way I could thank you more than have you present me here today. For all that you've done for the city. We've won a Super Bowl, we've hosted a Super Bowl, and I just want to say thank you for all you did for me. And the best thing I can do for an owner is how you present me here today."

On the city of Indianapolis:

"Speaking of the city of Indianapolis, the fans. The fans, the fans are what makes this game possible. I say this from the bottom of my heart, I think I have the best fans, no offense, Green Bay, but I have the best fans in the game. Let me explain why now. Anytime we lost a game or I dropped a pass, they never booed me or did anything negative. They just said, 'Don't worry about it, Marvin, get the next one.'

"And I'm from Philadelphia, the home of the Eagles. If you get the coin toss wrong in Philadelphia, they want to trade you the first thing Monday morning. So I wasn't used to that in Indianapolis. So we had the best fans."

On Peyton Manning:

"Peyton, I want to say that you came into the league your first year and I was happy to be a part of that. And I saw the work ethic that you had, and we carried that on for quite a few more years. So I want to say thank you to Peyton."

On Edgerrin James:

"Edgerrin, Edgerrin, you and I, we talked every day during practice. We'd talk about life after football, and I want to say thank you to Edgerrin, man. You're a great teammate. We talked a lot about, it wasn't just football, but it was about life. So I want to say thank you to Edgerrin."

On Reggie Wayne:

"My partner, Reggie. Reggie Wayne, man, I couldn't ask for a better partner than you. I mean, I trusted Reggie with my life. If I had to go across the middle and I knew Reggie had to clear it out for me, I knew full well he was going to get his job done. So we came in and we watched each other, we worked hard, we challenged each other in practice. And, Reggie, like I said, I want to thank you for all that you've done for me. There is no other receiver in the game that I'd rather have on the other side of me than you, so I just want to say thank you, buddy."

On retirement:

"Retirement was easy for one reason. I have two sons, Marvin and Jett. To be able to come home, be your coach, be your father and be your friend, there is no other feeling in the world that I want to do than come home to you guys. So you made life what it's worth."

On his grandmother, Luanna Harrison:

"The single most important person here for me today, and I have to acknowledge it, my grandmother, Luanna Harrison. She's been around for a long time. Extremely hard-working woman. Hard work and dedication had to come from somewhere, and it probably had to start from the top of the Harrison family. So I want to thank you that you're still here and you're able to come here and see your grandson into the Hall of Fame."

On being inducted into Canton:

"Last but not least, I was going to say thank you to everyone in Canton. This is my new home. I had a great group of guys that welcomed me in. I want to say thank you very much. And look forward to you guys for years to come. Thank you."

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