Just a young ghetto boy in Houston, Texas trying to figure out who he was and where he was going to go from there. And I want to tell you today my mom, my mom sat me down one day when I was moping around and feeling sorry for myself, close to giving up. My mom sat me down that day and she let me know something that I always knew but man I needed to hear it.
I prayed for you before you were born and every day since. And at twelve years old it went something like this: When I think back on that time, I think how important it is that we need to let people know, let our kids know, let our spouses know, how important they are to us.
Because that day, my life began. As I think about all of the people that made a difference in my life, my mom is the start of that. My mom is the start of that because she is the one that introduced me to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I want to thank my dad today. It took me a long time to realize how much he gave me.
Took me a long time to grow up and mature and realize that we make mistakes. And my dad, I am so thankful for him, I am so thankful for his work ethic. I am so thankful for the many people that he has helped. I am so thankful for his heart. I am thankful for my sisters and brothers today. I am thankful for their selflessness. I thank my wife. I thank my children. I am so thankful that we can come together and get on our knees together and lift our family before holy God.
But, along this road, I want you to understand that I stand here today, I just want you to know that I know that it is not me. I want you to know that there were tremendous investment by so many people and that is the reason I am here.
Let me introduce to you to my team. It goes something like this: In high school I had a guy by the name of coach Brown at Evan E. Getting out there and playing within the rules but giving everything you got. And there was Coach Nelson, my linebacker coach, who taught me the fundamentals of playing linebacker when I thought I knew it all. And then I got drafted by the Bears and there was Buddy Ryan who captured a nation with the 46 defense and the imagination applause.
Buddy Ryan taught me what it was about to give ownership? And then there was Coach Ditka. This man was enthusiastic about life applause — taught me about vision. When I was at the peak of my career, he was there, he was my friend. And Coach McGinnis was still my friend, that is rare. And a guy by the name Tom Williams who taught me how to stand up and prepare for the game, prepare for the challenge of life.
You all know about offensive and defensive players. Everybody wants to play offense, everybody wants to play defense but no one wants to play special teams. Well let me introduce you to my special teams and they are called my role models.
Sitting over here is a gentleman, right over there under that tent is a gentleman. As a young boy, I remember turning on the television and watching him play. I said I want to hit like that. Willie was one of my role models.
Roger Staubach was another because he was always consistent. And there are others, a gentleman by the name of Jim Osborne who had so much wisdom as a player. Revie Sorey, a guy for the Chicago Bears who taught me the etiquette of the game.
Alan Page who was here who had so much class and so much style. Walter Payton, his work ethic was unbelievable. And Gary Fencik who had a keen sense of business. It took a lot of people to get you to that position. Urlacher selected former Bears assistant coach Bob Babich to serve as his official presenter. Babich worked with Urlacher for nine of his 13 seasons with the Bears from as linebackers coach and defensive coordinator.
Urlacher said that he also considered former Bears head coach Lovie Smith and former Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache for the honor. Bob was always at the top of my list, I will say that. We had such a good relationship.
He's like a father to me. I could go to him with anything and I have a ton of respect for him and the way he coached us. During the interview, Urlacher also praised the Bears for the moves they've made in free agency, adding receivers Allen Robinson II and Taylor Gabriel and tight end Trey Burton, among others. I'm excited about Mitch [Trubisky] and his future. They've got good receivers, good skills guys coming in there.
Hopefully Kevin White can get healthy and be on the field this year. I thought that was huge.