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John Hannah talks about his book, the NFL and the Iron Bowl

One of the greatest offensive linemen of all time talks about a variety of topics, including the Iron Bowl and safety in the NFL.

Before Tom Brady came around, John Hannah was arguably the greatest New England Patriots player ever to wear the uniform.

Now 62 years old, Hannah remains a massive figure both literally and figuratively in the history of the NFL. Recently, Hannah worked with Tom Hale on his biography, Offensive Conduct: My Life on the Line, telling the story of his life on and off the field, focusing on his faith and how it is intertwined forever with football.

Retired since 1985, Hannah reflected on his career which made him a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Hannah, who has dealt with a knee that is ruined from years of pounding and other various aches, believes the NFL is making a legitimate effort to make the game safer.

Despite feeling he was held back personally at times by the game and sold short financially by former Patriots owner Billy Sullivan, one of the greatest guards of all-time wouldn't change anything about his playing past except for one thing.

The ride was a lot of fun but the game itself doesn’t have a lot of good memories.

"I’m glad I played," Hannah told SB Nation. "The difference is why I played football. That’s the key. The motivation was basically to glorify myself. I wish I had played realizing that I wanted to give the glory to God."

Hannah played from 1973-85 for the Patriots, with his final season landing him in the Super Bowl for the first time. New England entered the postseason as an unheralded wild card before beating the New York Jets, Los Angeles Raiders and Miami Dolphins. However, the season would end in a 46-10 drubbing at the hands of the Chicago Bears.

"It was bittersweet, the ride was a lot of fun but the game itself doesn’t have a lot of good memories," Hannah said. "I wish I could have played 16 years but the knee injury caught up to me, and I had to drop out."

Hannah also played at Alabama under the late, great Paul "Bear" Bryant. While in Tuscaloosa, Hannah became a two-time All-American  selection, attending the same school his father and hero, Herb attended. He still follows the Crimson Tide closely, making this year's legendary Iron Bowl an instant memory.

"We got beat, no question," Hannah said. "The offensive line got beat, and we missed field goals. Can't have the penalties at the wrong time. Auburn deserved to win."

Throughout the book, Hannah explains how he lived as an impostor while playing football, never able to take off his game-face. Now, he finds himself living in Alabama and for a higher calling. In fact, his religion was the main reason he decided to sit down with Hale and share his interesting story.

Hannah has been working with those who also share his passion and others who have fallen on hard times, letting them come to his property to enhance important relationships.

"I put away about 15 acres and set it aside," Hannah said. "One of the reasons to write the book was to finance the (mission). With the money we wanted to put up as many bunk houses as we can and have a retreat center for fathers and sons."

Ultimately, Hannah's life has been a story of football, faith and family. With his career of knocking men around the field over, he's decided to help lift people around him in hopes of them finding happiness.

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