As nearly 110,000 fans inside Penn State's Beaver Stadium looked on, a name familiar to both Nittany Lions fans and Bills fans was celebrated last Saturday.
In an on-field ceremony between the first and second quarters of the Penn State-Ohio State football game, Shane Conlan was honored by Penn State and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame for his upcoming induction to the latter this December.
During the former linebacker's on-field salute, which is held for each of the inductees by his alma mater, Conlan and his family received a loud cheer by those 110,000 fans who were assuredly remembering his many tackles, interceptions, accolades and national championships during his time at "Linebacker U."
"It was great," said Conlan of the recognition. "Got the family all there so it was fun. All my kids were down on the field and it was fun to watch them take pictures and video of everything. Obviously there are a lot more people in the stands now than when I was playing but it was quite a thrill with the white out and how bright it is and everything else. It was beautiful."
"Shane Conlan was one of the fiercest linebackers of his era," said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. "He was the undisputed leader of the Penn State defense, leading the Nittany Lions to a perfect 12-0 national championship season in 1986. We are thrilled to honor him in front of the Penn State faithful at Beaver Stadium."
Selected by the Bills in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft, Conlan retired from a nine-year NFL career in 1995. But he still has a football-filled fall with one son quarterbacking for the Hobart William Smith Statemen, and another playing high school ball near their home outside of Pittsburgh.
Because of his hectic schedule, he rarely makes it to Bills or Penn State games despite his proximity, but he had the chance to attend the Bills-Vikings game at Ralph Wilson Stadium this season as a guest of his friends and new Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula.
"Terry's a Penn State guy so I met him two years ago at a Penn State tailgate and we've been friends ever since, so obviously I was thrilled when he was able to purchase the Bills," said Conlan. "He's just a great guy. What he's done for Penn State with the Pegula Ice Arena, it's just all great."
Of his two worlds colliding in Pegula family involvement in the Bills and at Penn State, he calls it "crazy" and "awesome," and says he's looking forward to seeing the great things to come for both in the future.