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Former Buckeye enshrined Saturday in Pro Football Hall of Fame 

On Aug. 7, Dick LeBeau became the seventh former Ohio State Buckeye inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. A defensive back for OSU from 1956-58 and a leader on the 1957 National Championship team, LeBeau played all 14 seasons with the Detroit Lions. Upon his retirement in 1972, he had amassed 62 career interceptions, which ranked third all-time. He also started 171 consecutive games at corner back, a record that still stands today. Currently, LeBeau rates seventh all-time on the career INT list.

A three-time Pro Bowler, LeBeau has since carried his successes into a coaching capacity, recently serving as defensive coordinator for the Super Bowl XL and XLIII Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2010, he enters his seventh season as D-coordinator for Pittsburgh. LeBeau also has had coaching stints with the Cincinnati Bengals (head coach 2000-02), Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers.  

During his enshrinement speech, LeBeau paid tribute to his Buckeye roots:  

“They ask me about what coach did you borrow the most from. I had too many great ones. When I was at Ohio State, I played for Woody Hayes, the great Woody Hayes. I still learn something almost daily from the current head coach of the Ohio State University, Jim Tressel. Coach Tressel is a textbook on how to conduct yourself at a major college level with integrity.”

“If I would have gotten out of my life’s work at 65 or 67, when they say is the age of retirement, here is what I would have missed, folks. I would have missed not one but two World Championship football teams that I got to be a part of. That’s these guys over here.  I got to be a part of a No. 1 defense that statistically had the lowest numbers in the last 35 or 40 years. I had my number retired from my high school. Had a building named after me in my hometown. I made the Detroit Lions all 75 year team. I was accepted into the Ohio State University Athletic Hall of Fame. Now tonight I guess when I sit down, get off this speaking, which I’m gonna do, I’ll be in the NFL Hall of Fame.

“My mother always said, Onward and upward, age is just a number. God love y’all. Thank you.”

During enshrinement weekend, congrats notes poured in for LeBeau on Ohio State’s official athletics Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/buckeyes). Read some of the submissions:

  • Wesley Newhouse A class act giving props to another class act.
  • David Cooke I saw him yesterday in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Festival Parade in Canton. I stood up, he saw my GO BUCKS! T-shirt, I waved and yelled to him. He leaned out the side of his car and yelled “O-H!”… to which all of us good Buckeyes responded, ”I-O!” It was great!
  • Walt Riehemann Congrats Dick. A true class act and a great ambassador for OSU and what OSU athletes can strive to be.
  • Tim Hayes Began in college with the best team, ended career coaching the best team. a great coach and player, most deserving person to get elected in this years class.
  • Ruth Joyce Cameron Congratulations to London, Ohio native, Dick LeBeau on this “Day of Honor.”
  • Sally Sue Oelgoetz what a great night. it was awesome to see dick and all the other guys. speeches were amazing and so heartfelt, loved it
  • Buckeye Mike Nadler Great comments, great tribute for a great player and coach. Congratulations to Dick LeBeau on the HOF–well deserved and a little overdue if you ask me. GO BUCKS!
  • Joe Greenwalt Congratulations Mr. LeBeau. If anyone person deserves to be in the Hall, it’s you. You excelled not only throughout your playing career, but you are probably the best defensive genius in NFL history!
  • Sonya Russell Varish His speech was really awesome, it made me cry more than once!
  • Dennis Train Congratulations & long deserved for Coach LeBeau!
  • Douglas Breech I watched him play when I attended OSU. Great player. Way to go!
  • Thomas Peiffer Long overdue. Well deserved to a buckeye man and football legend
  • John Johnson Dick-Congratulations,you were a Great player and Coach!
    Love Ya!
  • Nicholas Robert Russell No one is more deserving of this, that is not already enshrined
  • Carol Connor Congratulations Dick, you certainly deserve this honor.