Mick Foley Honors Tim Russert on Air

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June 27, 2008

HOUSTON -- For those such as Hardcore Legend and SmackDown color commentator Mick Foley, who knew the late Tim Russert, host of NBC's Meet the Press, knew of his admiration for his hometown Buffalo professional athletic teams. Friday night on SmackDown, Foley wore his Buffalo Bison baseball jersey to pay homage to the journalism great.

"I was reading a Newsweek article on Tim, and saw a photo of Mr. Russert, with his dad and his son, Luke, all wearing their Buffalo Bisons' jerseys. I went upstairs and grabbed my Bison jersey and told my wife I was going to wear it at the next SmackDown show," Foley said. "That's why I wore it and I hope that somebody, somewhere tells Luke that I really appreciated his dad and miss him. I was thankful to have gotten the chance to talk to him."

After interviewing key public figures, Russert would turn to the camera and say, ‘Go Bills.' Three years ago, Foley was given the jersey by Bison players after making a personal appearance for the AAA semi-professional baseball team. It became one of his favorite clothing items to wear, so he saved it.

Russert and Foley were both huge Bruce Springsteen fans and once ran into each other after the legendary rocker's New York show. Foley, a best-selling author, will never forget the first time he met Russert after an appearance on NBC's Today Show. It's a moment that brings a huge grin across the commentator's face.

"I had just finished my segment with Katie Couric. I was as giddy as a schoolboy. I went around the corner and there was Tim Russert who said to me, ‘Hello Mr. Foley.' I just looked at him in disbelief that he knew who I was. He said that he and his son Luke watched WWE together regularly. It was one of the most flattering things to me. Of all the people I met, who expressed an interest for what we do, none surprised me as much as Tim Russert," Foley recalled.

On June 13, Russert collapsed, due to a heart attack, while completing voice-overs on his Meet the Press set, in Washington, D.C. He was rushed to nearby Sibley Memorial Hospital where he later died. The award-winning journalist was 58. According to Foley, the journalism business lost a true gem in American politics, which would be irreplaceable.

"He had such an amenable style. He had the ability to ask tough questions without seeming adversarial. Somehow he made the vicious business of politics seems humane. He called things down the line. Everybody had the utmost respect for him. He always seemed to enjoy life. I will miss his presence on TV each week. I'm honored to have known him," Foley explained.

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