As a rookie for the Steelers in 1988, Dermontti Dawson played guard alongside center Mike Webster. A year later, Webster left Pittsburgh and Dawson took Webster’s place as the Steelers’ center. And tonight, Dawson joined Webster in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
At his enshrinement ceremony, Dawson paid tribute to the late, great Webster, the Hall of Fame center who took another Hall of Fame center under his wing.
“I used to observe Mike each day, and saw how he approached every aspect of his game. Mike used to be the first one to the weight room every morning, the first one in the meetings,” Dawson said. “Mike was a leader, whether he wanted to be or not, because he led by example. I tried to emulate everything Mike did. Mike had a profound impact on my life, and even to this day, I try to be like Mike.”
Dawson also credited other Steelers teammates, and the two Super Bowl-winning head coaches he played for.
“Very few things in life are the work of one person, and this is no exception,” Dawson said. “I had the pleasure of being coached by Hall of Famer Chuck Noll and soon-to-be Hall of Famer Bill Cowher.”
It was a classy speech from Dawson, who wanted to make it clear that he doesn’t believe he got to the Hall of Fame on his own. He got there with plenty of help from others, starting with the man whose shoes he filled, Mike Webster.