MIAMI (AP) —
John Randle looked around the ballroom like a child at the Magic Kingdom.
"Unbelievable," was his reaction to being surrounded by many of his idols and pro football's icons at a dinner for the NFL's all-time team. "I've never seen myself as being one of the top 100 players or getting a gold jacket. But these guys ...
"Tonight is like having the gold ticket."
Randle and 39 other members of that exclusive squad selected to celebrate the NFL's 100th season gathered at a Miami Beach hotel for the NFL Foundation's “Making an Impact Reception.” Also on hand were 25 family members of players unable to attend a function through which the NFL Foundation raised $75,000 to support youth football and other philanthropic initiatives.
Recognized as well were 25 of the 32 finalists for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
"Sure, I get to be one of these guys," Randle said. "It's a fan's dream, and for a kid who grew up in Texas watching some of the great players like Bob Lilly and Randy White — hey, I wore their T-shirts on Sundays."
Randle said he was thrilled to be part of an event that would help youngsters, noting that he chopped cotton in the fields with his mom for $2 an hour as a child.
"That was a hard job," he said with a laugh.
"I do fundraising for special needs kids, so anytime you can motivate people to endorse something like NFL Legends Community giving back to the community, it is an amazing thing. It changes lives. I am proud to be a part of that, when you can positively affect so many people and so many families. The game of football is not just about the Super Bowl, it is about changing people's lives."
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