CANTON, Ohio – Joe Thomas will have special company on the stage when he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August: Monday, he said his wife, Annie, and their four children will serve as his presenter.
“That was the crazy thing,” he said. “After it became official people asked me, ‘Have you thought about your speech?” Which I haven’t. ‘Have you thought about your presenter?’ I figured the presenter probably had to happen before I could start worrying about the speech.
“I was thinking a lot of guys played in one place, had one head coach, one ownership group. They have maybe one buddy who has been with them forever. Well, I was lucky to have played for six head coaches, nine offensive coordinators and about 1,000 teammates. Which makes the tickets tricky, but it also makes the presenter situation a little bit tricky because I feel like I’m really close with a lot of them. As much losing as we did in Cleveland I still made so many great relationships and friends.”
Early on, Thomas said he mulled who the presenter would be. He leaned toward Alex Mack, his best buddy from his time in the game and former linemate who protected the litany of quarterbacks.
But Thomas’ agent told him a video could be made, which lessens the pressure on the presenter. Then they just stand on stage with the inductee.
“I thought about it,” he said. “As much as I love Alex, who’s been an even bigger part of my career and my life from even before I got into the NFL? Who was that rock that I always came home to? It became pretty obvious I wanted my wife and kids to be my presenter.”
Joe and Annie’s four kids are Logan, 10; Camryn, 8; Jack, 6; and Reese, 4.
When he told them the other night, he said three of his kids were crying. Jack bounced excitedly on the bed. The only one not fully comprehending was daughter Reese, who as a 4-year-old had to let the moment sink in.
“It reaffirmed it in that moment, that those are the people who I want to be the ones who are on the stage with me as the cape comes off the bust as my presenter.”
Enshrinement ceremony is noon Saturday, Aug. 5, at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.