A Hall of Fame Farewell Post

#73 gave Stanford fans some wonderful years of Stanford football. After his last game, Mike McLaughlin left us something equally wonderful to remember him by...

To all hard core Stanford fans,

The time has come for me to hang up me cleats as the center for the Stanford football team. For 5 years now, I have quietly sneaked onto this board to read about what all the fans, haters, and railbirds had to say about the football team. I must say, you are a very interesting bunch, but a very knowledgeable, and very loyal group.

Unfortunately, as most of you know, I was injured the week of the Rose Bowl game (ACL right knee) and was not able to play more then one snap of the game. Leading up to the game, I tried everything I could, and, because the coaches trusted me enough, I was allowed to try at least one snap to see if it would work. It did not work, my knee was just too loose, and that first play, I blocked with only one leg. I would trade my 46 game streak any day just to play in that game. I want to say thanks to all of you who had a kind word to say to me in the days that followed. You all kept my chin up, and the hope that I can still play pro ball.

But most importantly, I wanted to thank each and everyone of you that was out there on every walk we made to the stadium, cheering us on, hoping for a great game and a win for Stanford. I want to thank the railbirds for always being at practice, keeping an eye on us. I don't know all of your names, but I could pick your picture out any day. I want to thank all the parents that took their kids to our game, and encouraged them to look up to us. You really don't know how much that means to the players when we see a parent telling their kids that we are smart, good football players, and good people, and that we are good role models for them. It makes us feel like we all made the right decision to come to Stanford, and that we can make a difference, even considering the problems that most college football programs get into. 

I hope that each of you continue to support the program as you have in my 5 years here. There have been some tough years, and some really good years. I want to encourage you to support Coach Willingham and all he has done for the program. I know that you all want a winning program, but that's not all college sports is about. I have never met a coach like Willingham before. He has taught me more then anyone in my life about being a man. It's because of this that Stanford will one day have the greatest program in all of football. He teaches us to be good people, students, and football players, and that will make the difference. 

Last of all, I urge you to be careful talking about recruits on the board too much. Believe me, kids who think about coming to this school for football or basketball read this site. Try not to run any of them out of town before they get here. Don't get me wrong, you have all been good, I just warn you. The next Heisman trophy winner could change his mind to come to Stanford if he reads something bad.

Once again, thank you all for all of your support. I will miss everything about Stanford football, especially all the fans who have been there for us, even when we were 3-8 last year. Take care.

Mike McLaughlin #73

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