Patrick Willis reveals initial emotions after HOF induction

Patrick Willis reveals initial emotions after HOF induction originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Former 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis still is relishing the news of his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction.

During an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco and Jennifer Lee Chan on Friday at Radio Row in Las Vegas, Willis detailed his emotions since finding out he became a member of the NFL's most prestigious club.

"It has been an amazing last 24 hours; I'm still taking it all in. I still feel like each breath, I want to smile," Willis told Maiocco and Lee Chan. "It really has happened, it's time. So I'm just really excited about everything that has taken place over the last 24 hours."

When asked about how he learned of his induction, Willis revealed he was at his sister's house setting up a basketball hoop for his nieces when he was surprised by fellow Hall of Famer Bryant Young, who delivered the news.

"My assistant kept asking questions like, 'Where are you going to be?' And I was like why does he keep asking me all these questions like [he wants me to be] somewhere? He was like, 'Hey, there is a package coming.' And it was my birthday, so I was there putting together my niece's basketball goal, which I still have halfway put together in the driveway.

"I'm out there putting it together, and they come out and tell me, 'The girls got you something for your birthday.

"Went to the front door and opened the front door and it's kind of almost like I was looking at an offense -- I could see everything -- I was like, 'Wow, it's time.' That's when it popped in my head. I saw [Bryant Young], I saw the jacket, it was a surreal moment."

Willis is one of the most dominant players to ever play the linebacker position, taking home All-Pro honors in six of his eight NFL seasons, and earning a Pro Bowl nod in all but one of his campaigns in the league.

Known for his fiery pregame speeches and uncanny ability to level opponents on the field, Willis proudly took on the role of the vocal leader during a dominant 49ers run in the early 2010s that offered a generation of fans their first taste of success supporting the team.

Long ago, Willis secured his place as one of the most beloved figures in San Francisco's rich sports history, but now, his Hall of Fame induction undoubtedly reserves him a spot among the greatest players to ever step on an NFL field -- which comes as no surprise to anyone who watched him during his time patrolling the middle of the field at Candlestick Park.

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