Remembering Pat Summerall

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by TED MADDEN

WFAA Sports

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 2:03 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 23 at 3:09 PM

A good number of men from the NFL were in Plano Saturday morning to say good bye to their friend.

These are men whom NFL fans look up to, and all of them looked up to Pat Summerall.

"Pat had a great way about him," said Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman. "Just a real gentlemen."

"I don't know that there's anybody that I've ever seen in that business who is as humble as he is," said Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.

"It's just something about Pat that you trusted," said Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach. "I thought he was a really good person."

More than a quarter of Summerall's life was spent with John Madden, his broadcast partner for 22 years. Madden said in all that time, they never had an argument -- not one.

"If there was ever a book written about good guys, he'd be the star of that book," said Madden during the memorial service. "[Because] that's what Pat was -- genuinely, card-carrying good guy."

Summerall lived to be 82 years old, obviously older than almost everybody who came to Prestonwood Baptist Church to say their farewells, and old enough to have an influence on them as they were growing up.

"We lost somebody pretty special when we lost Pat Summerall," said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. "In a way, he made me want to be involved in sports long before the NFL."

"As a kid, being a fan of the game, he was a big part of the reason why you were," Witten said. "Just the impact he had and getting to know him at this level was special, because I was such a big fan and had so many great memories with his voice."

Summerall's life story always includes his battle with alcohol and successful rehabilitation, something that saved his life and influenced countless others.

"If there's one thing that I'm most proud of about my Dad," said Kyle Summerall, Pat's youngest son, "it's the fact that he dealt with his problem and he never looked back."

"Probably his greatest achievement was his sobriety," Aikman said. "Considering the lack of success for those who go in the first time, and for him to come out and remain sober for as long as he did, I think is very impactful."

"What Pat did is what, I think, most men want to do," said Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin. "You go through life, you have your downs, but you climb on top of those downs and you end life, after recovering it all. And he recovered it all and he should be honored, and that's what we're going to do today."

They did it with words and with song, including Summerall's favorite, "Amazing Grace."

An appropriate end to the ceremony and a life worth remembering.

E-mail tmadden@wfaa.com

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