Strahan, Brooks headline 2014 Hall of Fame induction class
08/03/2014 12:02 AM
08/03/2014 12:06 AM
Canton, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Derrick Brooks and Michael Strahan headlined the enshrinement of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2014.
Also inducted on Saturday during the lavish outdoor ceremony were Andre Reed, Aeneas Williams, Walter Jones, Claude Humphrey and Ray Guy. Jones and Brooks were in their first year of eligibility while Guy and Humphrey were both finalists chosen by the Hall's Seniors Committee.
The newest members of the Hall of Fame were selected from a list of 17 finalists who had been determined earlier by the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Selection Committee.
Brooks was a linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1995-2008. He made 11 Pro Bowls and never missed a game during his 14-season career.
"I stand here so humble to be here amongst all this greatness," Brooks said. "This is what it's all about."
The 40-year-old Brooks was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2002 after helping the Buccaneers win the franchise's first Super Bowl.
"For the first time in my life I get to enjoy the successes of my individual career in a team game," Brooks said.
Strahan was a defensive end for the New York Giants from 1993-2007. He was not chosen for the Hall of Fame last season in his first year of eligibility.
"This has been the best weekend of my life," Strahan said. "This is right where I belong."
The 42-year-old Strahan was named the 2001 NFL Defensive Player of the Year after setting an NFL single-season record with 22 1/2 sacks. A five-time All- Pro selection and seven-time Pro Bowler, Strahan amassed 141 1/2 sacks in his 15-season career.
"Life is about lessons and my life is improbable. I'm an improbable Hall of Famer ... My brother's called me B.O.B. and B.O.B meant 'Booty On Back,'" Strahan joked about his husky physique as a child.
And yes, Strahan's bust had the infamous gap between his two front teeth.
Jones was an offensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks from 1997-2009. A member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 2000s, he was named All-Pro six times and voted to nine Pro Bowls.
"It's an honor to join Steve Largent and Cortez Kennedy as the third player to represent the Seahawks (in the Hall of Fame) and the 12th man," Jones said.
Reed caught 951 passes for 13,198 yards and 87 touchdowns in his 16-season career with the Buffalo Bills (1985-1999) and Washington Redskins (2000). He was the Bills' leading receiver in each of their four Super Bowl seasons.
"Patience is a virtue, and believe me I've waited nine long years for this patience," Reed said. "It's a life defined by many things, but none more important than hard work."
Williams was a cornerback and safety with the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals (1991-2000) and St. Louis Rams (2001-2004). A four-time All-Pro and eight-time Pro Bowl selection, he intercepted 55 passes for 807 yards and nine touchdowns during his 14-year career.
"Begin with the end in mind and die empty," Williams said throughout his speech, referencing how it's important to set goals in life.
Williams went from walking on as a junior at Southern University to becoming a Hall of Famer.
"The goal isn't to prove people wrong. It's to reach your potential," he said.
Humphrey was a defensive lineman with the Atlanta Falcons (1968-1978) and Philadelphia Eagles (1979-1981). He was named first-team All-Pro five times and earned six Pro Bowl nods during his career.
"Now they tell me I only had 10 minutes up here, but let me start off by telling you that I've waited 30 years to get to this podium. So don't rush me guys, I'm gonna be here for a minute," Humphrey said before giving the rest of his 30-minute speech.
Guy is the first pure punter to make the Hall of Fame. He played with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders from 1973-1986 and averaged at least 40 yards per punt in 13 of his 14 NFL seasons.
"It's been long, long overdue. But now the Pro Football Hall of Fame has a complete team." Guy said. "Punters keep the faith, you're an important part of every game."
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