Shannon Sharpe returns to Savannah State to broadcast ‘First Take’

Shannon Sharpe returns to Savannah State to broadcast ‘First Take’

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It was a homecoming ceremony Monday at Savannah State’s Tiger Enviornment as Shannon Sharpe got here again to the campus that helped lay the inspiration for his success for an airing of ESPN’s “First Take” with broadcast companions Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim.

Sharpe made a grand entrance as a health club stuffed with SSU college students cheered him on at first of the two-hour present broadcast nationwide. The most effective tight ends in soccer historical past, Sharpe was inducted to the NFL Corridor of Fame in 2011 after a 14-year profession with the Broncos and Ravens.

However his story began at Savannah State, when he joined the Tiger squad in 1986 after a stellar profession at Glennville Excessive College. On Monday, Sharpe’s highschool coach William Corridor was readily available together with a number of of former SSU teammates. His brother, NFL nice Sterling Sharpe, additionally got here to city to affix the published — and their sister Libby additionally got here to SSU for the festivities.

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Sharpe joined “First Take” after a run on Fox’s “Undisputed” with Skip Bayless from 2016-2023. When he left that present, Stephen A. Smith rapidly employed him to affix his present on ESPN. Smith, additionally an HBCU graduate as an alum of Winston Salem College in North Carolina, got here up with the thought to do the present from SSU to honor Sharpe. On Tuesday, “First Take” will do its broadcast at Winston Salem.

“If somebody would have informed me in 1986…That I’d come again to SSU on this capability, I would not have believed it. I believe I am much more pleased with that as a result of it had nothing to do with my athletic potential,” Sharpe stated in the course of the broadcast. “That is about a possibility, one other HBCU alum believed in me — Stephen A. Smith — he believed in me and gave me a possibility when lots of people wrote me off. He known as me and stated Large Daddy you are not finished but, I’ve bought large plans for you.”

After the present, Sharpe posed for numerous photographs with the coed physique and stopped to talk to the media for a second.

“To have a few of my former teammates and lecturers got here out to assist me, and the coed physique itself — lots of these children hadn’t even thought of being born but once I attended Savannah State, and the love and admiration they confirmed me right this moment would not go unnoticed,” Sharp stated.

“I’ve come again right here earlier than as an NFL participant and Corridor of Famer, however to come back again on this capability, when jobs like this did not even exist once I went to Savannah State, and be from right here. That is my residence, that is the place it began from,” stated Sharpe, who was named the SIAC Participant of the Yr in 1987. “I stayed in Peacock Corridor many an evening dreaming of taking part in within the NFL and offering for my household and all of the whereas I used to be offering for my household I used to be representing Savannah State. I by no means forgot what Savannah State meant to me and the worth of what I discovered.”

There was a section of the present the place Sharpe listed his Prime 5 HBCU soccer gamers of all time, with SSU coach Aaron Kelton accompanying him. Sharp went with Doug Williams at No. 5, adopted by Artwork Shell, Mel Blount, Walter Payton and Jerry Rice, the Mississippi Valley State legend, at No. 1.

Kelton laughed and stated Sharpe was being too humble and will undoubtedly be on the listing, as he began the gang in a chant of “Shannon, Shannon, Shannon.”

A short while later there was a touching second when Sharpe introduced up his former highschool mentor — Coach William Corridor.

“Coach Corridor lives in Savannah and drove 65 miles daily to Glenville to show and coach. He would take us to trace meets in Savannah driving the college bus then drive everybody residence and get in his automobile and drive again to Savannah,” Sharpe stated. “He did that daily for 50 years. He’s the person. Thanks coach for every thing you’ve finished for my household, you have been a household staple for over 60 years. I recognize it from the underside of my coronary heart.”

Certainly one of his former SSU teammates who was readily available was Earl Bryant, the previous Groves star who was a quarterback and receiver with the Tigers. Bryant works for the Metropolis of Savannah and is an assistant coach at Jenkins Excessive now.

“We got here to SSU and constructed a bond as teammates and pals over these 4 years,” Bryant stated. “Shannon went on to prosper and do greater and higher issues. However’s we have at all times been shut. He invited me to Canton (Ohio) for his Corridor of Fame ceremony. However it’s actually a blessing to have him come again right this moment and provides phrases of encouragement to the scholars right here. He is letting them know that something is feasible.”

That was Sharpe’s message — that something is feasible in case you work exhausting.

“Our motto is ‘You may get wherever from right here,’ ” Sharpe stated. “You possibly can. Do not let folks let you know that an HBCU is lower than. You may get to wherever from an HBCU.”

Dennis Knight covers sports activities for the Savannah Morning Information. Contact him at Dknight@savannahnow.com. Twitter: @DennisKnightSMN

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