Sharpe has his late grandmother to thank

By: AP
By: AP

Shannon Sharpe grew up under a leaky tin roof in a tiny house in rural Georgia. The home was small but filled with relatives and lots of love.

Sharpe overcame a speech impediment and his hardscrabble childhood, much of which was spent in the tobacco fields, to become one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history.

When he's inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, he'll thank his brother Sterling, who motivated him, Dan Reeves, who drafted him, Albert Lewis, who challenged him, John Elway, who believed in him and Mike Shanahan, who pushed him.

He says he owes his biggest debt of gratitude to his grandmother, Mary Porter, who raised him, and who died July 6, one month shy of his induction ceremony.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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