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Jimmie Giles inducted to state HOF

lorman — Former Alcorn State University standout Jimmie Giles already has plenty of accolades to his name, but on Nov. 7 he added another trophy to his case.

The four-time NFL Pro Bowl tight end was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

“It was truly an honor for me to be elected by the committee into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame,” Giles said.

Giles grew up in Greenville, and Alcorn State almost missed out on the fond memories he created if it hadn’t been for a young lady named Vivian Davis.

Giles was headed to the University of Michigan, but when graduation came around he decided he did not want to go battle the cold in Ann Arbor.

“I had a drastic change of heart,” he said. “I thought about the fact that I didn’t want to be in that kind of cold weather, and I also met a young lady.”

Davis was headed to Alcorn State, and Giles decided he would follow, but he did not go to play football.

“I went to Alcorn as a walk on, and then I had the opportunity to watch the guys practice, and I didn’t want any part of football,” he said. “They practiced too long, and I was there to get an education.”

Giles did play baseball, however, and was very successful, but he had no intentions of playing football until the opportunity to play in the Louisiana Superdome inspired him to pick up the game again.

“That’s what inspired me to play football. It was like a field of dreams, going on and participating with the football team in (the Superdome),” he said.

After a year of successful football, Giles tried professional baseball in Washington, but his offensive struggles and the attention of NFL scouts drew him back to the gridiron.

“Those (baseball players) had played 100 games a year, and I hadn’t played 100 games in four years at Alcorn, so I was at a big disadvantage,” he said. “Coach (Marino) Casem told me he had football scouts calling and asking about me, and I decided to come back for another year of college football.”

Giles said Casem’s love for the game and his players inspired him.

“The moment I saw the passion our coaches had for their players, I understood what playing football for Alcorn was about,” he said.

Giles went on to a 13-year NFL career and played for four teams. But he said it all started with a dream and his drive to succeed.

“You have to be inspired by whatever you do,” he said. “I would tell any young person that you have to dream, and you can’t stop dreaming. That’s what I’ve never done throughout my career.

“I’m just a young man from Greenville, Mississippi who knew what I wanted to do when I was growing up,” he said.