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Sharpe's grandmother dies before ex-Bronco's HOF induction

Former Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe's grandmother died Wednesday night, exactly one month before he will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, *The Denver Post* reported.

Mary Porter, 89, had suffered from diabetes, according to the newspaper. She raised Sharpe -- along with his brother, retired NFL wide receiver Sterling Sharpe, and their sister, Libby -- in addition to nine children of her own, outside the small town of Glennville, Ga.

Sharpe told The Post on Thursday that Porter now can do what she couldn't amid declining health -- listen to his speech Aug. 6 in Canton, Ohio.

"She's in a better place now," Sharpe said. "She'll be able to hear my (Hall of Fame) speech now. She would not have been able to understand my speech in the body she was in. She'll be able to hear my speech in the body she has now."

Sterling Sharpe, who scored 65 touchdowns in seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers and whose career was cut short in 1994 because of a neck injury, will introduce his younger brother at the Hall induction ceremony. Shannon Sharpe will receive 12 minutes to speak, and much that time will be devoted to his grandmother, according to The Post.

When Sharpe retired in 2003, he was the NFL's all-time leader among tight ends in receptions (815), receiving yards (10,060) and touchdowns (62). He had hoped to be elected to the Hall of Fame the first year he was eligible -- 2009 -- which would have allowed his grandmother to witness the induction. Instead, he had to wait until his third try.

"I'm thankful I got to spend 43 years with her and she got to see the type of man I became," Sharpe said.

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