National Football League greats Shannon and Sterling Sharpe spoke to kids at Glenville Middle School on Friday.
The Tattnall County natives, who starred at Glennville High School, told students that it was important to have dreams, but it was also important to listen to those wiser than them.
“Everything I did was incremental steps, to attain my goals…I always believed that I had an advantage over the people that I was on the field with, because of where I came from, and because I always had their backing,” said Shannon Sharpe, an NFL Hall of Fame tight end who played college football at Savannah State. “Believe that you can do anything you set your mind to…you have to work hard and be willing to make sacrifices, but you can attain greatness; be great every day, live it.”
Sterling Sharpe then spoke. The former University of South Carolina and Green Bay Packer great told the students to dream big.
“Whatever you want to be, you can get your start here in Glenville, Georgia…but you have to have respect for yourself,” he said. “If you don’t get it here, you sure won’t get it out there. You have to be bold in your life…you cannot be the same tomorrow as you were today, because you had two people who came here and saw you and gave you a piece of their hearts.”
Both men spoke highly of former teacher Elaine Keels and high school football coach William Hall, but they especially had high regards for their late grandmother, Mary Porter, who raised them.
“I live every day with one goal in my life: To make my grandmother proud…she taught me how to be a man,” Shannon Sharpe said. After the two finished speaking to the students, they fielded questions on topics ranging from how much money they made to which player they hated the most.
Dr. Cindy Boyett, who is the principal at GMS, commented on the two former students coming out and talking to her students.
“It’s great for our students to see others who have had dreams and then went out and made them come true,” Boyett said. “It shows them that they too can accomplish anything that they set out to do; I also appreciate both of them for coming here today, to talk to our kids and to help motivate them for success.”
Former classmates and GMS instructors, Coach Keith DeLoach and Tracy Waters introduced the two brothers to the kids and commented on them being at the school.
“Them overcoming their circumstances gives any kid the hope that their dreams can come true, with dedication and hard work,” DeLoach said.
“Their success also shows how important it is to have good teachers and coaches in student’s lives,” Waters said.
More information about the Sharpe brothers follows.
Shannon Sharpe attended Glennville High School from 1982-1986. As a Bulldog he played basketball, track, and football. As a member of the football team in 1984 he led the team to a 9-1 season and a trip to the playoffs. As a member of the track team he held the Class A state record for the triple jump at 48 feet, 2 inches.
After high school he attended Savannah State University, playing football all four years.
In 1987 he was named the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year, and in 1989 he was a Kodak Division II All-American. He still holds the record at SSU for receiving yards in a single season (1,312) and touchdowns (18). His No. 2 jersey was retired by SSU and he was inducted into the SSU Hall of Fame in 2009. In 1990 he was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the seventh round. In the NFL he played for the Broncos, and the Baltimore Ravens, winning Super Bowls in 1997, 1998, and 2000. He was selected to the Pro Bowl eight times.
He was the first tight end in the NFL to amass more than 10,000 yards receiving, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 6, 2011. He currently is a commentator on the CBS pregame show The NFL Today.
Sterling Sharpe attended Glennville High School from 1980-1984 playing basketball, track, and football. As a member of the football team he had 1,250 total yards in 1982, and as a member of the track team he held the Class A state long jump record with a jump of 23-7. After high school he played football for the University of South Carolina from 1984-1988. During his time as a Gamecock, he amassed 169 receptions, 2,497 receiving yards, and 17 touchdowns. He played in the 1988 Gator Bowl, and had his No. 2 jersey retired. He was selected by the Green Bay Packers in 1988 as the seventh overall pick in that year’s draft. He played seven years in the NFL and in 1992 he broke the receiving record for a season with 108 catches. His career was cut short due to a neck injury in 1994. During his NFL career Sharpe had 595 receptions, 8134 yards, and 65 touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl five times and was inducted into the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame in 2002. He is currently an analyst for the NFL Network.
Also Friday, the Sharpes saw the field where they played football dedicated as Sharpe Field.