Friday, December 11, 2009


Photo of Chris Spielman by the Associated Press

NEW YORK — The greatest linebacker — and perhaps the greatest player — in the history of Ohio State football, Chris Spielman, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday night in New York City.

The Buckeyes all-time leader in tackles spoke on an assortment of topics during Tuesday's banquet, including the attitude of today's college football players, what it was like being a star at Ohio State, and how his late wife, Stefanie — who passed away from cancer late last month — was never impressed by individual accomplishments.

"The best way to describe it for me is my wife always looked down on individual awards," Spielman said. "Whether we were dating in college or whether it was All-American or the Lombardi Trophy, she just kind of says 'yeah, yeah, whatever ...'

"But this was different. When I shared this with her (back in the spring), there was such a genuine smile on her face and pure joy that she got out of this, because she understood where my passion and what my passion for college football is. It's amazing."

Spielman had a passion for football like none other. Whether he was playing for the Buckeyes, Massillon High School, the Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills or the Cleveland Browns, Spielman gave it his all on every single snap he ever played.

But, as passionate as he is about the game of football, Spielman's love for Ohio State resides deep in his soul.

"I had the privilege of playing at the Ohio State University," Spielman said. "And that responsibility meant that you not only played for your university, your teammates and your coaches, but you played for your state.

"Everybody in Ohio is an Ohio State fan. To me that was something that I embraced and went after."

Spielman also stated that he is pleased that college football players today still play with the same passion as they did back in his day.

"I see the same emotion and the same passion (today) that when we played." Spielman said. "I see that in kids today. They play hard. They play for the love of the game."

Of course, being a college football analyst for ESPN, he did have to offer up a little criticism for today's athletes.

"I see more bad tackling today," Spielman laughed. "I'm sorry, did I say that out loud?"

Spielman is the 22nd player from Ohio State to be inducted into the college hall of fame.