Larry Foote fought back tears.

The former Michigan linebacker was overcome with emotion about losing his mentor and friend Keith Lee, the veteran Kronk Gym boxing trainer who died suddenly last Friday at age 57.

Foote, 33, the longtime Pittsburgh Steeler who played briefly for the Detroit Lions and is currently with the Arizona Cardinals, spoke at Lee’s funeral service today at Word of Faith International Christian Center in Southfield.

The congregation was packed with family, friends and former and present-day boxers, including Lanardo Tyner, Cornelius (K-9) Bundrage, Milt McCrory, William (Caveman) Lee and the Kronk’s first world champion, Hilmer Kenty.

“He did it the right way — he was a man who did it God’s way,” said Foote, who grew up in Detroit and said, if it were not for the guidance of Lee, might have ended up in trouble like many other kids in the neighborhood.

Foote recalled training with Lee and Kronk boxers on Belle Isle.

“We’d be up running early in the morning,” Foote said. “Mr. Lee would make you work hard. He was always there for you.”

Tyner, the current USBO welterweight champion, also spoke of the man whom late Kronk legend Emanuel Steward called the “caretaker” of the famous boxing facility.

“He touched so many —he built men into champions,” Tyner said. “I’d be on the streets doing something I shouldn’t be doing now if it had not been for Keith. I loved this man and I’ll never forget what he has done for me. He helped change my life around, and I’m a better person for it.”