By David Schuster

CANTON, Ohio (WSCR) — Richard Dent thanked just about everybody in North America when he finally got up and spoke to the gathered audience here at the Hall of Fame on Saturday. He was told in advance that his speech should go no longer than eight minutes.

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Fat chance.

Dent spoke for at least 20 minutes, but each minute was worthwhile as he gave thanks and paid homage to all those who shaped his life.

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Dent thanked those who he grew up with, those who he went to high school with and all his coaches there. He thanked his college friendships, and he especially thanked his college coach Joe Gilliam, who also was his presenter. Gilliam got special mention for helping Dent overcome so much in his life.

And, of course, Dent thanked all his teammates whom he played with. He singled out Jimbo Covert, Otis Wilson, Mike Richardson, Emery Moorehead and Dan Hampton, who were all in attendance. And he said the years that he played in Chicago were incredibly special.

“It meant so much for me to have played there where guys like Walter Payton and Dick Butkus did. It was a pleasure to get a chance to entertain the fans on Sunday and come into their home and have so much fun,” Dent said.

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Dent said he was going to have fun the rest of this weekend, and deservedly so.