NEW YORK --- Chris Spielman's wife, Stefanie, was never impressed by all the honors her husband received for being a star linebacker at Ohio State and in the NFL.
The only one that ever got her excited was when she found out in the spring that her husband had been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
"There was such a genuine smile on her face and pure joy that she'd gotten out of this, because she understood what my passion for college football is. It's amazing," Spielman said Tuesday.
Stefanie Spielman died Nov. 19 at age 42 after a long battle with breast cancer, a few weeks before Chris was to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
"I have no doubt she's smiling down on us today, and I take great solace and joy in that," Spielman said during a news conference at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan.
Spielman was one of a group of 16 players and two coaches to be inducted at the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame's awards banquet Tuesday night.
Among the others were Heisman Trophy winners Gino Torretta of Miami and Tim Brown of Notre Dame. Coaches Dick MacPherson and John Robinson were also inducted.
Spielman was an All-American linebacker for the Buckeyes, finishing his career in 1987 as the school's career leader in tackles, a record he still holds.
The others in the latest class included defensive end Pat Swilling of Georgia Tech (1982-85); halfback Pervis Atkins of New Mexico State (1959-60); defensive back Chuck Cecil of Arizona (1984-87); fullback Ed Dyas of Auburn (1958-60); quarterback Major Harris of West Virginia (1987-89); tight end Gordon Hudson of Brigham Young University (1980-83); center William Lewis of Harvard (1892-93); linebacker Woodrow Lowe of Alabama (1972-75); wide receiver Ken Margerum of Stanford (1977-80); defensive lineman Steve McMichael of Texas (1976-79); linebacker Larry Station of Iowa (1982-85); running back Curt Warner of Penn State (1979-82); and defensive end Grant Wistrom of Nebraska (1994-97).