NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kevin Mawae was walking on a treadmill in Chicago earlier this week when he received an important phone call.
When he hung up, his heart rate spiked. The person on the other end informed Mawae he’d been selected as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2017.
“The whole range of emotions, the excitement,” said Mawae, an offensive lineman who played 16 NFL seasons, including from 2006-09 with the Titans. “I looked at my wife and she gave me a fist pump. I got chills. So you are riding this whole range of emotions when you hear news like that, your whole career flashes before you in a moment.
Mawae, an offensive line assistant with the Bears, played from 1994-2009, including four seasons with the Titans, beginning in 2006. He began his career with the Seahawks and also played with the Jets before retiring after the 2009 season in Tennessee.
Mawae was named to eight All-Pro teams, and eight Pro Bowls during his career while playing in 241 career games.
He said his days with the Titans were special, from his days with offensive line coach Mike Munchak to blocking for running back Chris Johnson during his 2,006-yard season in 2009.
“My first year in Tennessee we opened up with the New York Jets, and I had been cut by them,’’ said Mawae, recalling the 2006 season opener. “I had so many emotions that game. But I remember so many other things about my days in Tennessee. I remember Leroy Harris getting the first start of his career, and how I was so happy for him. Chasing the record with Chris Johnson that year, I’ll never forget that. Finishing my career with a running back that went over 2,000 yards in Seattle, where I started my career, and the last game of my career was the 2010 Pro Bowl.
“And then that year we had the 99-yard walk-off touchdown (led by Vince Young) against Arizona, I’ll never forget that game. The 60-yard field goal Rob Bironas kicked to beat the Colts. There were so many moments, lasting moments for a lifetime, special memories that I have, and they’ll always be with me.”
Mawae recognized his teammates with the Titans, and his offensive line coach who would later become a head coach with the franchise, a Hall of Famer.
“Playing for Munchak was a dream,” Mawae said. “Any offensive lineman would die to have a coach like him. Tennessee is a great place to play football, great fans, with a great environment. And it was great for someone like me on the back end of my career to be a part of that.
“I had the privilege of playing for Munchak, who shared his Hall of Fame experiences with the offensive line every year. All those stories, she shared them with us.”
Mawae is one of four offensive linemen in the final 15 -- Alan Fanaca, Joe Jacoby and Tony Boselli are the others.
The full list of 15 modern-era finalists was announced Tuesday night.
The Hall of Fame’s 2017 class will be voted on and announced on Feb. 4, the day before Super Bowl LI in Houston.