Chris Hanburger – 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame Presentation and Speech (8-5-2011)


The Washington Redskins picked North
Carolina LB Chris hamburger in the 18th round in 1965 but they have had
few draft selections in any round that rival this one went along before he
impressed with his rock steady play and overall knowledge of the entire defense
soon thereafter the Redskins became known as the over-the-hill gang and
hamburger being far from it spearheaded the defensive minded team
that made its first Super Bowl ever in 1972 he was voted NFC Defensive Player
of the Year number 55 played all 14 of his seasons in all 187 games for
Washington and there is no bipartisan debate in the nation’s capital over his
mark left on the gridiron the son Kris is proud to present his dad he came back
from a weekend trip I think he may have been visiting my my mom and when he got
back to campus some of his friends came up and said hey you’ve been drafted by
the Washington Redskins and he had no idea and so without any fanfare began
the NFL career of Kris hamburger an 18th round draft pick out of the University
of North Carolina over the next 14 seasons from 1965 until 1978 the
linebacker did not miss a game for the Redskins he was selected to 9 Pro Bowls
still the most in franchise history young linebacker Chris hamburger number
55 metes out punishment to runners and passers alike
my dad’s nickname when he played was the hangman and he was an arm tackler he
would come around and blindside quarterbacks and then to see him come
flying around the end and the poor quarterback has no idea where he’s able
to put his arm out and basically try and rip the helmet right off the guy he
played with a tenacity and and quickness that I think a lot of linebackers did
not have at that time they didn’t have the speed that he had to be able to stay
in the game pretty much every play cover people out of the backfield make tackles
at the line in Washington hamburger would direct traffic for George Allen’s
fabled over the hill game it was his job to make sure the defense was in the
right place to be able to combat the offense at that time absolutely he was a
quarterback in the defense and I remember as a kid hearing the clack
clack clack of dad watching game film over and over and over again or he’s
gonna get hook to get hurt if a phone call came on a Friday night at a certain
time he didn’t even need to say hello he would just say hey coach and he knew
George Allen was calling to talk about something that was gonna happen or
something about the opposing team that was coming up that weekend looking back
I I guess there are moments where I wish I did get to see and play live I was
five when he would my mom actually had a policy of keeping
the kids out of the room when dad was playing so my sisters while they may
have wanted to watch their dad play they weren’t allowed to and I knew he was a
tough guy from growing up with him but seeing him on film it really brought out
that he was an exceptional player for this performance
the son is center stage with his father I don’t think I could be any happier I
hope it shows I mean this is a great day I’m always new and my sister’s Jay and
Kelly and my mom that we’ve always appreciated what my dad accomplished on
the football field we’ve only said your dad’s a Hall of
Fame dad now he gets to be appreciated for being a Hall of Fame football player
as well and now we get to tell everybody about how great he was dad you make me
incredibly proud to be your son I don’t know if words can put into account of
how much I love my father he is a great man
he is a great person he has taught me things and showed me a path for life
that is just one of character and discipline and doing the right things
and working hard and those are qualities that everybody should know and everybody
should have and they’re so basic they’re the blocking and tackling of life
I am honored to present my father Chris hamburger for enshrinement into the Pro
Football Hall of Fame ladies and gentlemen presenting Chris
hamburger for entrapment into the Pro Football Hall of Fame his son Chris I tell you one thing I I brought that
boy up right that’s for sure before I get started I it’s hard for me
to say at my age up close or far away but there are some guys that I played
with out there I think I could see one of them because he’s got a full head of
gray hair that attracted my attention that’s Billy Kilmer there he goes
Ranma Cole the dancing bear defensive end and I think brig Owens might be out
there there is and I’m not sure about Pat Fisher I think Pat was coming and
Larry Brown I don’t know if he may there is thank you guys this is something that I never gave a
thought to and I motion appreciated above it and when it all got going we
were told that we had six to eight minutes and I don’t think anybody’s
gonna tell Richard dent not to exceed that but I got to thinking about this
when I realize where my finances were bringing my children their families my
grandkids and everybody else up here and I thought well you know what I think
I’ll try to sell some of my time I knew Richard dent was out because of I
upsetting I was dead Marshall Faulk was out because he walks around with his
phone texting and twittering and whatever else all day long and I
realized that there were two other guys that do a lot of talking on TV and
everything else I figured shannon sharpe would be the
easiest guy to start with i closed him real quick put a wad of cash in my
pocket I went to the last guy prime time they told me I had to go talk to his
agent and I told him I don’t talk to agents
next thing I know he’s doing all this stuff and trying to get a discount I’m
only kidding but I congratulate all of the inductees for this year this these
are great guys these guys down here are wonderful it’s been a tremendous thrill for me
I’ve known a lot of these guys played with some of them but I’ve known the
names I’ve never had a chance to meet guys in the Hall of Fame before like
this and for me it’s a tremendous honor just a great honor and there’s another
guy out there I believe he’s here Joe mark I don’t
know where yard Joe but if you’re out there please stand there he is this is
the guy at the University of North Carolina where I went to college back
when I was in college you could only substitute a couple of players when the
ball turned over other than that you just stayed on the field and played
offense and defense and I used to go in as a sophomore and play for an
all-american receiver we had after that year coach mark grabbed me and said son
you better learn how to snap the ball you’re gonna play center and not only do
you have to get it to the quarterback but you got to get it back to the punter
and for extra points and all summer I’ve worked on that never did get it down
very well but that’s how I got the play linebacker because the center became a
linebacker on defense and I think it was just that I think they were just running
out and folks to grab when I got drafted it was like throwing darts at a board
and somebody hit my name and the Redskins got stuck with me
but I I want to thank all you folks for being here I think it’s fantastic it’s
overwhelming for me I had a blast in the parade today the folks of Canton are
y’all are tremendous and I think the support it’s just great I thank all the volunteers for those of
you that don’t know there’s over 4000 people that volunteer their time to help
put this whole week together for all of us and it’s I thank them I thank the
folks from the hall of fame itself they’ve been most helpful for all of us
I know it’s been very confusing for me and I’m be honest with you I’ve tried to
stay out of it I dumped it on everybody else I don’t understand the process to get in
here at all I don’t know who’s involved in the voting the nomination etc but I
can tell you one thing I thank those folks very much this is one of the
greatest moments in my life and I mean that from my heart and I will tell you that I respect this
so much because when I think that there were so many players that played before
I did there men that I played with and against and there’s guys playing now and
unfortunately nominations aren’t going to come their way an election is not
going to come their way but it’s a system and it is what it is
and that’s why I’m just so fortunate and it’s not so much what I did by any means
it’s I look at it is what the people around me did on the field that let me
kind of try to be somewhat of a loose cannon out there or just run around like
a chicken with his head cut off not knowing exactly what I was doing and I don’t think folks here that are
Hall of Famers are sitting here I don’t consider myself a true hall-of-famer
and I say that because to me and I’m an army brat I spent two years in the Army
right out of high school before I went to service I mean to college and to me
the real Hall of Fame people are all the men and women of our armed forces all the men and women in law enforcement
and all the firefighters men and women these people to me go over and beyond
making a tackle or a blitz or doing anything completing a pass they’re
wonderful people and I just asked you when you when you get a chance just
thank them two words thank you that’s that means the world to
them and I appreciate so much my family
you’ve met my son I have two daughters and my wife Evelyn out there they keep
wanting me to smile more they keep wanting me to change all I can tell you
it isn’t going to happen I am what I am and nothing’s changing but I tell you
what I am just overwhelmed by this it’s just a great great time in my life
people ask me what’s the greatest thing before this happened and I would say
getting elected to the first Pro Bowl because back then the people you played
against voted you in and to me that was just the ultimate honor but this takes
the cake folks and thank you all so much for being here again thank you it’s the greatest thing
in my life right now I don’t think many of us had Chris
hamburger is the first is joining to mention Twitter but he did it Tommy yeah
and I just want people to know what a great linebacker he was you know that’s
hit above the neck that’s what I found here myself back lock tight ends padded
himself back

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