It’s no secret that former NFL defensive tackle Warren Sapp has a Jekyll-and-Hyde reputation within media circles. By Mr. Hyde stayed home on Saturday night as Dr. Jekyll took the center stage in Canton and joined the immortals.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and I will definitely need him tonight to finish this,” Sapp said at the outset of his speech.
What ensued was a thankful, gracious, magnanimous, and relatively short presentation in which Sapp acknowledged family, teammates, coaches, owners, and his current and former on-air colleagues.
He was giddy at times, especially when pointing out that he’s now wearing a gold jacket, punctuating the thought with an “oh my goodness!”
Sapp concluded with an emotional tribute to his ex-wife.
“Baby, you held me up when nobody else would,” Sapp said, his voice cracking and straining. “I want to thank you. You’re my backbone. All the thanks. You took care of me. I want to say I love you and I thank you.”
Earlier in his remarks, Sapp paid tribute to another important woman in his life.
“I never played this game to get to the Hall of Fame,” Sapp said. “I played this game to retire my mother.”
While it’s unlikely that Sapp’s Mr. Hyde also has been retired, Dr. Jekyll slammed it out of the park on Saturday night.