Mike Ditka wasn’t the only head coach omitted from a Pro Football Hall of Fame speech Saturday night.
The Denver Broncos won two Super Bowls with Shannon Sharpe as tight end and Mike Shanahan as head coach, but the name “Shanahan” did not pass Sharpe’s lips in the emotional speech he delivered after being inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday night. Sharpe explained the omission in an interview with 104.3 The Fan in Denver.
“I was already up there 26 minutes. You know what I am saying? Next thing you know it’s 40 minutes. Look, I have a great relationship with Mike [Shanahan]. Did it start out like that? No. Because he perceived me a certain way. He let the persona overshadow the person. That bothered me, but as I got older as he got an opportunity to see…I think it took me leaving and going to Baltimore for Mike to finally have an appreciation of what I did and how hard I worked.
“When I came back and to this day, Mike Shanahan and I have a great relationship. Look, I didn’t mention my college coach. I forgot. I forgot my agent. Look, the two people I knew who were going to be in there were my brother and my grandmother. I knew that 100 percent. So if I could say anything, I’d like to thank my brother. I would like to thank my grandmother and sit back down. That would have been it, but, look, I don’t want people to think ... and I knew that was going to happen. I was talking to my girlfriend as I was driving. We were driving back home, I was like there are some people that I forgot and I automatically said because I didn’t mention Mike [Shanahan] people are going to think, well, Shannon Sharpe doesn’t like Mike.
“I won two Super Bowls under Mike. I became a much better tight end. I became a much more disciplined tight end. I paid more attention to detail under Mike, so don’t think because I didn’t mention his name…like I said I would have loved to have gone verbatim and mention all my offensive coordinators.
“I didn’t mention Gary Kubiak, but I texted Mike. I texted Gary. I texted Brian Pariani. I think that pieced with the way my speech went. I think it pieced with the relationship I have with those guys, so I’ll let the naysayers and all the people that want to speculate on what my relationship is with the people I didn’t mention and that’s fine, but I know where I stand and they know where they stand.”