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Suffering Fueled His Greatness: John Hannah on What It Took to Be the Best Offensive Lineman of All Time

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
May 15, 2023 3:00 am

Suffering Fueled His Greatness: John Hannah on What It Took to Be the Best Offensive Lineman of All Time

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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May 15, 2023 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, from a father who called him to hard-fought greatness, to the most brutal Alabama scrimmages and a career of out-working his competitors, John Hannah pushed his limits often, and pushed hard.

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To search for the Our American Stories podcast, go to the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Our next story comes to us from the guy Sports Illustrated said was the greatest offensive lineman of all time. John Hannah was a two-time All-American at the University of Alabama, was selected fourth overall by the New England Patriots in the 1973 NFL Draft. Hannah received nine Pro Bowl selections and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991. Hannah shared this story first with 1819 News, a multimedia company for the state of Alabama. Here's John Hannah sharing two moments in his life that pushed him towards excellence. One story is from his youth, another from his time spent under legendary coach Bear Bryant in Alabama. Let's take a listen. In the fourth grade, I was nine years old in Canton and there was two playgrounds and they were on terrace.

There's one upper terrace and the playground down below and I was up on down on the lower terrace playing kickball with a bunch of guys and all of a sudden about seven or eight guys on the top of the top terrace started serenading me with a song called and it went like this it says fatty fatty two by four can't get through the kitchen door and so it hurt so I go home told my mom about it mom called my dad now you know most parents would either call the principal or call the parents dad didn't do any of that he was different the boy that was coaching the sixth seventh and eighth grade football team had played for dad so dad called him up asked him if I could play for him he said sure so that night dad comes in and he says john I talked to the junior high coach and it ain't going to be easy it's going to be hard but if you you can go out for that sixth seventh and eighth grade team I believe you can do it and if you go out there and make that team they'll no longer call you fatty fatty two by four anymore so I went out as a nine-year-old and played not only that one starting position first game broke my nose dad wanted to pull me from the game I told him no and he said why not I said fatty fatty table four so the whole first part of my life when it was football it was because I wanted to be somebody besides fatty fatty two by four so that was kind of what got me going into football well coach Bryant you know was a legend way before I got there and um but immediately before I got there Alabama was going through some struggling times you know and struggling for them is six and four so you know it was it was it was it wasn't a great time to go to Alabama so the biggest lesson that coach Bryant taught me was was that you can go further than you ever thought you could I remember my sophomore year a week before we played southern cow it was I mean scorching hot humid and coach Bryant came through the tunnel to get to the practice field and he was whistling amazing grace I knew it was going to be a roughing so after about a 45-minute individual drills we got to doing our scrimmage a controlled scrimmage and we went and we went and we kept going and all of a sudden guys in the huddle would just fall out and it was you know we I think at the end of the day uh there are about 10 guys who sent to hospital with heat stroke and dehydration several other hit gone with either knees or broken bones or something I mean it was just one of those rock-em-sock-em days and uh anyway I get back to crawled up the stairs to my bedroom and I hear all the suitcases clicking and hear the trunk of cars closing and people driving off and a lot of people left and I said I'm gonna quit too but bad blame it I've earned supper so anyway uh so anyway uh I fell asleep and didn't go to eat supper woke up the next morning and I said well heck I'm here might as well stay and anyway we went to the three had a three o'clock meeting and coach Bryant comes in and he winds that watch he said well boys I'm a little early but we'll go ahead and get started get started anyway every day five minutes before that's when the meeting started not he goes in he says boys y'all learned a big lesson yesterday he said you'll push yourself and push yourself and you'll think you're gonna die but the human body is an amazing machine it'll always pass out before it dies and it clicked and you know my dad had also told me you know and he preached the same gospel that coach Bryant did he said there's an invisible barrier out there somewhere and he says you'll push yourself up to that barrier and you'll back off and you'll push it and you'll back off but he says someday either fear or anger or some emotion is going to drive you through that barrier and if you ever break that barrier you're going to find out that there's a whole world out there that you've never experienced and it and that's what that's what coach Bryant got for I when I went into pro ball I knew wasn't I wasn't a great get most gifted athlete but I knew I could probably outwork everybody and played in front of even in the you know if I got my butt whooped in the first quarter I'd last out to where I'd come out ahead in the end anyway that was that was kind of the attitude I had because of what I'd learned from coach Bryant and a special thanks to the folks at 1819 news for the audio and thanks to Greg Hengler for editing and producing that piece of storytelling and a special thanks to John Anna for sharing those two stories that enduring memory of how his father treated that discrimination basically that weight discrimination that taunting and he just said like buckle up strap up and just work through it push yourself through it there's victims and there's victors and sometimes legitimate victims but often it's our own expectations and our own diminished expectations from ourselves and our adult supervising us that create the limits that stop us John Hannah's story storytelling about fatherhood about 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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-15 04:17:18 / 2023-05-15 04:21:32 / 4

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