When Spielman found out, he was moved to tears. It was an emotional moment for someone who thought he was coming to the facility to read a teleprompter for a promo. Instead, however, he was reading his own induction announcement. If you have two minutes and 17 seconds to spare, grab some tissues and watch Spielman’s reaction.
Spielman spent eight seasons (1988-1994) as the heart and soul of the Lions defense. He racked up 1,138 tackles, becoming the all-time Lions leader in tackles, while garnering four pro-bowl nods. He was one of the most fearsome linebackers of the 90s, but off the field, Spielman dealt with more heartache than anybody should have to.
“I was just thinking about Steph there for a second,” Spielman said in the video.
Stefanie Spielman, Spielman’s wife, was diagnosed with breast cancer four times during their marriage. Spielman even took a season off in 1998 to be with his wife during her battle, shaving his head in solidarity with her. The disease returned for a fifth time and Stefanie passed away on Nov. 19, 2009, while they were actively raising funds for breast cancer research.
Spielman immediately thinking about his late wife after receiving the greatest accomplishment of his career shows the kind of man he is. He’s always prioritized his family and continues to do so today.