Warren Sapp has been known to be a split personality with the media. While this was a media event it was really a party to celebrate his career and Sapp seemed to enjoy it to the fullest.
“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.
He followed it by thanking family, teammates, coaches and owners and his current and former on-air colleagues. He told a touching story about Tony Dungy coming in and turning the franchise around.
He thanked his coach at Miami, Dennis Erickson.
I want to thank coach (Erickson) for getting on a plane and flying up from Miami to Orlando, Fla., and getting on (U.S. Route 441) going North, and just like I told you, coach, drive until it gets real dark like you’ve gotten lost, then all of a sudden you’ll see the flashing lights and it’s going to say ‘Girls, Girls.’ It was just a little trucker stop, but I lived behind that trucker stop.”
He shared his love of the game.
“I love this game. I love the passion of it. I sit here with the greatest among the great. As Michael Irvin said the other day, this is the Bible of football because you can read it, get inspiration, gain strength and look to tomorrow.
“This game is so great, there is nothing else I know and love that’s taken me from a dirt road to heights I’ve never even seen and now to a gold jacket. Oh, my goodness.”
He thanked his mother with a touching tribute.
“I never played this game to get to the Hall of Fame,” Sapp said. “I played this game to retire my mother.”
Sapp finished off his speech thanking his ex-wife and began to get emotional.
“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.”
Quotes from NFL.com