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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Dirty. A cheap shot artist. Even a dirty Christian for wearing a cross on his face mask and then using every trick Kevin Mawae knew to open holes for his running back or protect his quarterback.
Mawae heard all that chatter, and it bothered him.
Then he realized he was playing football the only way he knew how as an undersized center in the NFL.
“I wasn’t stronger and bigger than a lot of guys,” Mawae said. “Early in my career, I was considered a finesse player, and that bothered me because I wasn’t. I was a technician. And I learned my craft, and I took it to an art form in some sense that I knew what I was doing. I put my body in position to do things that guys didn’t know how to counter, and they didn’t like that.”
And on Saturday, Mawae will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame , capping a career of 241 games played over 16 seasons with three teams. A three-time All Pro, he was an eight-time Pro Bowl center and a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s. He also blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher in 13 seasons by five different running backs, capped by the NFL’s sixth 2,000-yard rushing performance in his final season.
This honor is still a sur
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