Desmond Howard’s College Football Hall of Fame Speech

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Perhaps no college football Heisman winner is more iconic than the Michigan Wolverines Desmond Howard. Before going on to have a rather pedestrian NFL career (well he was voted the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXI and is the only special teams player to win the award. Making him one of only four players to win both the Heisman Trophy and Super Bowl MVP; Roger Staubach, Jim Plunkett, and Marcus Allen are the others.) Howard was famous for his “Heisman pose” in his final regular season at UM.

In his 11 NFL seasons, including a few with both the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions, Howard caught 123 passes for 1,597 yards, rushed for 68 yards, returned 244 punts for 2,895 yards, and gained 7,595 yards returning 359 kickoffs. He also scored 15 touchdowns (7 receiving, 8 punt returns). Overall, Howard gained 12,155 all-purpose yards.

Howard currently works for ESPN as a college football analyst, as well as for Detroit Lions pre-season games. He was a joy to interview when ESPN College Gameday came to Chicago for the Wrigleyville Classic, and he delivered a speech for his college football induction last night.

Here’s an excerpt:

It’s a tremendous honor to be in this class. You think about the guys who helped you get here, this is a team sport and I had some tremendous coaches. My favorite coach at any level was Bo Schembechler. I always strived to make a guy like that proud. I don’t know if you come across a person like that who is outside of your biological family often. Many of us as players, once in a while, we come across a special coach or a special person like that and for me it was Bo Schembechler.

To go into the Hall of Fame, to represent the University of Michigan and not only Coach Schembechler but coach Gary Moeller, who had the nerve on fourth-and-two to go for a pass play against Notre Dame and have that type of faith in our offense, that play propelled me to the season that I had, is tremendous. I had some great coaches, some great teammates and some great people around me at the University of Michigan, so it’s definitely a great honor to go into the Hall of Fame as a member of the University of Michigan football family.

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