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Tuesday, May 08, 2018 11:10 pm

Bradshaw charms, preaches, applauds at Big Brothers Big Sisters event

Terry Bradshaw showed the same funny and charming style the Pro Football Hall of Famer possessed in his playing days with the Pittsburgh Steelers as well as in his current broadcasting career with Fox Sports on Tuesday at the Grand Wayne Center.

But there was also a serious side to the affable former quarterback, who was the keynote speaker for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana's 45th annual Gourmet Dinner.

"You realize no matter if you are a four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, no matter what you have accomplished ... what I have done is nothing compared to all you out there who have volunteered to help a young person to see what life is all about through the eyes of someone who cares, who loves and is a person of faith," Bradshaw said to the packed crowd in attendance to benefit the local agency. "I applaud you because my role up here is a secondary if not a third; I am just here to have fun with you."

Bradshaw, who turns 70 in September, won four Super Bowl titles (1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979) with the Steelers in a 14-year career from 1970-83 and went into broadcasting in 1994. 

"We have all needed somebody," he said. "None of us have accomplished anything without somebody – a big brother, a big sister, a great mom, a great dad, a coach, a player, an owner – whatever it was in life, we have all needed somebody."

When talking about the NFL, his attention turned mainly to the same position that Bradshaw starred at – quarterback. He mentioned some of today's best QBs, including the New England Patriots' Tom Brady, the Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan, the New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees, a Purdue product, and the Manning brothers, the New York Giants' Eli and former Indianapolis and Denver standout, Peyton. 

Bradshaw evened referred to himself as the "original TB," in reference to the initials he shares with Tom Brady. He also talked about the enormous salaries of today's NFL quarterbacks, including Ryan's recent $100 million guaranteed deal. 

"Do I wish I had $25-30 million guaranteed over the next five years? Yes," Bradshaw said to the laughter of the crowd, which included his wife Tammy. "But that's not the way it worked out. As it turns out ... we say 'haven't I been blessed?' and haven't you been blessed by this awesome event?"

Bradshaw was also part baptist preacher in a tent religious revival at times. 

"These kids are calling for our help," Bradshaw said about the many kids waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister. "They are saying we need a mentor and can I hang out with you? That's why ... hats off to you from the Bradshaw family. We respect you, we admire you, and we love your mission. We have been so honored to be here tonight."

gjones@jg.net