The award is part of a national program that honors the hometown roots of football’s greatest players with special ceremonies and plaque dedication events in local communities.
Powell Latimer of StarNewsOnline.com covered the event today, as Jurgensen fondly remembered his time as signal caller for the New Hanover High School ‘Wildcats’ and Duke University ‘Blue Devils’ in the 1940s and 50’s. He stood near the field that bears his name, to address students and media alike:
“What a wonderful place to grow up,” Jurgensen said. “It’s a very sports-oriented town and community.”
“It’s just special,” Jurgensen said. “To be recognized here, and go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and to have that extended back here, and to have Allstate get involved, and to come back down here to Wilmington and have this nice plaque, what a nice thing.”
Jurgensen briefly addressed the New Hanover football team, telling them to enjoy their time playing in high school.
“This is when it’s fun,” Jurgensen said. “The level at which you’re playing right now is when it’s fun.”
The five-time Pro Bowler and NFL Hall of Famer asked a few questions of his own to the current crop of New Hanover Wildcats before he finished:
“It’s how badly do you want it,” Jurgensen said. “What commitment do you have, what passion do you have to be the best you can be? That’s what I tried to do.”
Latimer noted that the best part of Jurgensen’s speech was his humble acceptance of the award, and how he repeatedly asserted that he wasn’t even the best player on his high school team.
Having not been around to blog about him during his high school career, I’ll have to take his word for it. But seeing as how he is not immortalized on a bust in Canton and a plaque in Wilmington, I think he gets the last laugh.
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