SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — NFL and Bay Area football legend Ronnie Lott stared across the line of scrimmage at some of the game’s greatest players, but none were a match for the pair of eyes returning his glaze Wednesday.

Lott was part of a contingent of NFL Hall of Fame legends who were in Rome for a private audience with Pope Francis.

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“The peace of his (Pope Francis) life. The peace of his soul. We should all try to practice that,” said Lott following the meeting. “We are great competitors, but he was a great competitor of showing us peace today.”

Also joining the players was Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

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“To have gotten a chance to meet Pope Francis and have him have a recognition of what pro football is and what’s behind it — it was just a magical day,” he said.

Pope Francis also showed his lighthearted side citing his love of soccer.

“As many of you know, I am an avid follower of ‘football,’ but where I come from, the game is played very differently!” Pope Francis said when he greeted the delegation.

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Joining Lott, Jones and officials from the Hall of Fame were former stars Curtis Martin, Franco Harris, Floyd Little, Chris Doleman and Jim Taylor. They presented the Pope with a signed helmet and jersey.