Ex-NFLer Tyrone Keys Honors His 6th Grade Teacher
“The courage she had and the compassion she had for us as young people, I never forgot it.” Tyrone Keys
Tyrone Keys was a fifth-round pick for the New York Jets in 1981…over the course of seven seasons he played with the San Diego Chargers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers…but you most likely know him as a member of the Chicago Bears when they kicked ass and won Super Bowl XX…this victory prompted the birth of the ‘Shuffling Crew’ and The Super Bowl Shuffle.
And sometimes, on Sundays, when football is at its peak, I think about our current players and what they’ll do once the NFL is done with them…many will simply fade away, others will land a gig as an ESPN analyst and a few-(a very special few)- will embrace their retirement with love…in this case, Tyrone Keys took it a step further.
First, he established the All Sports Community Service organization, a Tampa-based non-profit supported by various charities that provide opportunities for student/athletes to attain personal enrichment. Since its inception in 1993, they’ve assisted hundreds of students obtain over $20 million in support for their college education…And here’s where he takes it a step further: He spent YEARS looking for his sixth-grade teacher, Mary Hagan.
- Tyrone Keys’ sixth-grade teacher, Mary Hagan, never drifted far from Keys’ thoughts…even after he played for the Bucs and Chargers…retired from the league in 1988 and launched a successful nonprofit in Tampa. “She just radiated love and compassion,” Keys said. Keys and his fellow students at Dawson Elementary School in Jackson, Miss., needed love and compassion in the worst way. It was 1970, the first year Jackson’s public schools integrated, and Keys said the racial strife surrounding the change engulfed the children in negativity and chaos. Hagan stepped into the fray and became the first white teacher at predominantly black Dawson. “She didn’t have all the supplies and tools, but she had a gift for inspiring the students,” Keys says…and, on Friday, October 9th, Tyrone Keys brought his 6th grade grammar school teacher, Mrs. Hagan to Tampa where he gave her a tour of what her inspiration actually inspired.
Read the full article here…it’s an amazing and touching story of how one man searched for years to locate the teacher who inspired him to be the man he is today. “That’s what makes the teaching profession what it is. The rewards you get,” Hagan said. One such reward? Hagan was Keys’ special guest when he was recently inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
Keys is a former NFL player for the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers. His Bears team won Super Bowl XX in January 1986. In 2003, People Magazine published an article featuring Keys and All Sports Community Service in one of its issues. Keys has been recognized twice by the USA Freedom Corp. and the White House.
As always, thanks for reading. Delinda@athlebrities.com