One of my favorite movie characters is Shrek. He is a big guy but very gentle. Shrek does not have a big ego and is satisfied with being with the woman he loves, his family and enjoying a quiet lifestyle.
If anyone ever needs help, they can always depend on Shrek. It is impossible not to like Shrek.
This week another gentle giant was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This man stands over 6'3" and weighes close to 300 pounds. For many years he played offensive guard for the Minnesota Vikings and gave the quarterback time to throw the ball.
The man's name is Randall McDaniel.
They don't come any better. In any profession. Randall is beyond special. Drafted 19th -- meaning that 18 teams passed him over -- he played in every single game as a rookie. He started 15 of 16 of those games. He would become known as the finest player to ever play his position. He played for 15 seasons and got into the Hall of Fame the first year he was eligible.
If you were a defensive man trying to get to the quarterback or tackle the runner, you would never go through Randall McDaniel -- you had to find another way.
Yet despite being the best of the best in a league that is made up of the best of the best, Randall McDaniel displayed a characteristic you never see -- he was and still is excessively modest.
Today he works in an elementary school in Minneapolis, because he and his wife believe it is better to help kids with reading and writing than it is to teach them to knock each other down on a football field.
A woman wrote a short article recently about sitting next to Randall McDaniel on an airplane. Various people were asking for his autograph and he politely signed each one. Finally the woman said "you must be pretty special" and Randall said "Well, my mother thinks so, I guess." It was not until she got home that her family explained who the big man was sitting next to her in the plane.
In fact, most of the kids at the elementary school where he teaches did not even know Mr. McDaniel was a former football player until he was drafted into the Hall of Fame! One child said "I always knew he was a big guy but I never knew he played football." In other words, Randall McDaniel never said anything to the kids about having played football to them.
There are different kinds of big in the world. Some people are physically big but mentally small or so into themselves they are repulsive. The typical person who is an all star athlete might not brag about it all the time, but they will probably tell lots of stories about their glory days.
Randall McDaniel is truly a very, very big man in every way and I have a ton of respect for him. I wish more people were like him.