Steelers’ great John Stallworth was honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame as one of their “Hometown Hall of Famers,” a program done in conjunction with Allstate Insurance honoring Hall of Famers in the place where they got their start.
Stallworth received a plaque at Central High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a few blocks from where he grew up, and the school also received a “Hometown Hall of Famers” road sign. During the assembly attended by the students, as well as friends and family, he shared what helped him make it where he is today.
“I never dreamed at Tuscaloosa High School that life would lead me to where I am today,” Stallworth told the crowd. “It’s been a step-by-step process, and I will readily admit that it’s a journey I had a lot of help with along the way.
“The foundation of who I grew to be as a man started right here in Tuscaloosa. It’s a foundation that was influenced by many people, primarily my mom and dad. They taught me a strong work ethic that achievements worth remembering are the ones that we work the hardest for.”
Stallworth, who was drafted by the Steelers in 1974 and is currently part of the team’s investment group, cautioned the students about the “toxic people” who can come into your life and try to ruin your dreams, things that happened to him. He encouraged them to focus on the positive things, the inspirational stories they see in daily life. He even shared a story with them about two frogs that fell into a hole and how other frogs told them to give up, which one did and died, while the other made its way out against all of the odds by continuing to jump.
“I would like for you to view this plaque as a motivation because you will have toxic people in your lives,” said Stallworth. “You will have people tell you that you can’t do something. When you look at this plaque, please believe that you can. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t. If you’re willing to work hard at it, you can be what you want to be. When they tell you that you can’t, be like the frog and just keep jumping.”
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