'Just don't be an ugly cryer'

By Clark Judge

Talk of Fame Network

CANTON, Ohio -- Michael Strahan has a message for his classmates in this year's Hall of Fame class: It's OK to cry.

In fact, Strahan said he might tear up when he makes his acceptance speech Saturday, and, as he said, that's OK because, as he put it, "if you're going to cry this is your opportunity when nobody can say anything to you."

Except, apparently, somebody can: Michael Strahan.

"Just don’t be an ugly cryer," said Strahan. "Please. I beg you. And if you get out of hand, even if it's not protocol, I will go up there and pull you to save your family."

He will not go up there and pull Ray Guy. Guaranteed. And the former Oakland punter -- a member of the league's 75th anniversary team -- predicts he could ... and probably will ... get choked up. It's not only that Guy had to wait 25 years to be recognized, making it on his eighth -- and, presumably, final try. It's more that a lot of people close to him who will be missing Saturday.

"It's going to be very emotional," said Guy, "from the standpoint that my Mom and Dad aren't here. My brother ... I'm not sure about him because he's got cancer bad. He could not even come out of the hospital to come up here. And when he couldn't make it, it's even worse. It's things like that. Of course, my college coach is not here. He's passed away. And Al Davis is not here. It's going to be emotional either way, but where it's tough for some it's going to be a little bit more for something that's transpired the last month or so. You never know. I just know it's going to be very emotional."

The Pro Football Hall of Fame handed out gold jackets Friday night when inductee Aeneas Williams became the first to break down, tearing up when he walked the gauntlet of Hall of Famers. Uh-oh. Maybe it should hand out gold hankies Saturday.

"I didn't think I was going to be emotional," said Strahan, "then (Hall of Fame defensive lineman) Howie Long surprised me the other day and got me a little bit. I didn't tear up and cry, but I will say I kinda walked through the stadium (Friday) and pictured everybody sitting in those seats -- especially with my parents and my kids sitting there, having an opportunity to look at them and with the other hall of famers there ... it might be a little tough. I'm not going to be the first one to crack because I'm one of the last to speak. But it will be interesting."