Six African American new legends were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 in New Orleans, La. The group, which included Los Angeles native Larry Allen, Cris Carter, Curley Culp, former UCLA star Jonathan Ogden, Dave Robinson, and Warren Sapp – will be formally inducted during a memorable Enshrinement Ceremony at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 3. Below are their memorable quotes at the ceremony and Hall of Fame qualifications.
“Of course I want to thank my heart and soul, my wife, Janelle. On our first date, she cooked for me. She cooked me two chickens, French fries and baked me a cake and gave me a 40 ounce. I knew then, that was my wife right there (laughing).”
Guard/Tackle … 6-3, 325 … Sonoma State, Butte Junior College (CA) … 1994-2005 Dallas Cowboys, 2006-07 San Francisco 49ers … 14 seasons, 203 games … Selected by Cowboys in 2nd round (46th player overall) of 1994 draft … Versatile, played every position on offensive line except center during 12 seasons with Dallas … Led way in second season for Emmitt Smith who set Cowboys’ franchise record with 1,773 yards … Started at right guard in two NFC championship games and Super Bowl XXX victory … Named NFL Alumni’s Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1997 and the NFL Players Association NFC Lineman of the Year twice (1996-97) … Named first-team All-Pro seven straight years … First-team All-NFC six times, second-team once … Moved to tackle late in 1997 and entire 1998 season, earned All-Pro honors at position … Signed as free agent with San Francisco in 1996 … First season with 49ers led way for Frank Gore who set team single-season rushing record (1,695 yards) … Elected to 11 Pro Bowls … Named to NFL All-Decade Teams of 1990s and 2000s … Born November 27, 1971 in Los Angeles,
“I appreciate the process you have to go through to get to be a Hall of Famer. To be able to join these men on this stage in football heaven is the greatest day of my life.”
Wide Receiver … 6-3, 202 … Ohio State … 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins … 16 seasons, 234 games … Selected by Philadelphia in the 4th round of the 1987 Supplemental Draft … First reception as a pro was a 22-yard touchdown catch … Durable; he played a full 16-game season in 13 of his 16 seasons … In 2000, became only the second player in NFL history to catch 1,000 career passes … Recorded 1,000 receiving yards in a season eight straight years … Broke the 100-yard receiving plateau 42 times during his career … Ranked second on the NFL’s all-time list for total receptions (1,101) and receiving touchdowns (130) at retirement … His 130 TD receptions came from 13 different passers … Caught 70-plus passes in 10 seasons … His 122 receptions in 1994 was a then-NFL single-season-record … Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s and received the 1999 NFL Man of the Year Award … In 2002, returned to the field when he joined the Miami Dolphins in midseason when injuries decimated team’s receiving corps … Was first- or second-team All-Pro 1994, 1995, and 1999 … Selected to play in eight Pro Bowls (1994-2001) … Born November 25, 1965, in Troy, Ohio.
“It gives me joy and inspiration that will last the rest of my life. I am just overwhelmed by the struggles, joys and tears of those who made it here. I’m happy to join them in the Hall of Fame.
Defensive Tackle … 6-2, 265 … Arizona State … 1968-1974 Kansas City Chiefs, 1974-1980 Houston Oilers, 1980-81 Detroit Lions … 14 seasons, 179 games … Selected in 2nd round (31st player overall) in 1968 draft by Denver Broncos … Denver attempted to switch him to offense before trading him to Chiefs during training camp … Fit in perfectly with Chiefs’ dominating defense … Member of team’s Super Bowl IV championship team in second season, … Started at left defensive tackle in Super Bowl win over Vikings and registered three tackles, one assisted tackle … Dealt to Houston Oilers in blockbuster trade during 1974 season … Key veteran leader with 11.5 sacks to help Oilers to 10-4-0 record in his first full season with club … Winning record in ’75 was Oilers first winning season in eight years and just second in 13 seasons …. Named NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year by Newspaper Enterprise Association, 1975 … Culp led defense that helped Oilers earn back-to-back appearances in AFC championship game, 1978-79 … Named All-Pro, 1975 … All-Pro Second Team 1971, 1977, 1978, and 1979 …. First- or second-team All-AFC five times … Elected to six Pro Bowls … Born March 10, 1946 in Yuma, Arizona.
“I’ve often thought about that day back in 1996 when you drafted me instead of Lawrence Phillips, I think that worked out well for everybody (joking).”“When we got there, those first few years at Memorial Stadium, the Ravens were new to everybody. It was a new team and we were new to the city. We were all rookies together. I watched us grow, myself as a player and the fans as an NFL city from infancy to one of, if not the best, football towns in the National Football League.”
Tackle … 6-9, 345 … UCLA … 1996-2007 Baltimore Ravens … 12 seasons, 177 games … First-ever draft pick by Ravens … Taken in 1st round (4th player overall) in 1996 draft … Won Outland Trophy Award as top lineman in college … Instant starter for Baltimore, earned All-Rookie honors … Leader of offensive line that helped Ravens amass more than 5,000 yards of offense in back-to-back seasons, 1996-97 … Noted as strong pass protector as well as effective run blocker … Led way for running back Jamal Lewis who became fifth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season, 2003 … Key blocker for Lewis’ then-record 295 rushing yards versus Cleveland Browns, Sept. 14, 2003 … Started at left tackle in Ravens’ 16-3 win over Oakland Raiders in 2000 AFC Championship Game and 34-7 victory over New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV … NFL Alumni’s NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year, 2002 … Named All-Pro in 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2006 … Earned All-AFC honors nine times … Voted to 11 Pro Bowls … Selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of 2000s … Born July 31, 1974 in Washington.
“I’m finally here. I’m here forever. There’s a lot of people looking down [on me] up there . . . And some of my friends may be looking up at me.”
Linebacker … 6-3, 245 … Penn State … 1963-1972 Green Bay Packers, 1973-74 Washington Redskins … 12 seasons, 155 games … Selected in 1st round (14th player overall) by Packers in 1963 NFL Draft … Chosen in 3rd round (17th player overall) by San Diego Chargers in AFL Draft … Signed with Green Bay and quickly built reputation as big-play performer on Vince Lombardi-coached Packers dynasty … Started at left outside linebacker in three straight NFL championship wins, 1965-67 … Starting OLB in Packers victories in Super Bowls I and II … Recorded two tackles, five assisted tackles, one fumble recovery and pass defensed in Green Bay’s 33-14 win over Oakland Raiders, Super Bowl II … Rebounded from Achilles tendon injury in 1970 to regain form as one of game’s finest linebackers … Intercepted 27 passes which he returned for 449 yards in career … Lone interception return for touchdown came in first season with Washington … Named All-Pro second-team in 1968 and 1969 … First-team All-NFL selection three straight seasons, 1967-69 … Elected to three Pro Bowls … Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1960s … Born May 3, 1941 in Mt. Holly, New Jersey.
MERCEDES SAPP (daughter) and WARREN SAPP
“I never played this game to get in the Hall of Fame. I played this game to retire my mother, because my mother worked so hard, and I wasn’t going to allow her or myself to be in that position again. I love this game. I love the passion of it. I sit here with the greatest among the great. As Michael Irvin said the other day, this is the Bible of football because you can read it, get inspiration, gain strength, and look to tomorrow.”
Defensive Tackle … 6-2, 300 … Miami (FL) … 1995-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Oakland Raiders … 13 seasons, 198 games … Selected in first round (12th player overall) by Tampa Bay in 1995 NFL Draft … Instant starter … Named to All-Rookie Team, 1995 … Amassed 96.5 career sacks despite playing on interior of defensive line … Recorded double-digit sack totals four times … Had more than one sack in a game 23 times … Named 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the Year after helping lead Tampa Bay to first division title in 18 years … Registered 12.5 sacks, 54 tackles, three forced fumbles, and recovered two fumbles, 1999 … Recorded career-high 16.5 sacks, 2000 … Started in two NFC championship games, one Super Bowl … Recorded two tackles, one sack, two passes defensed, and forced fumble in Bucs’ 48-21 win over Raiders, Super Bowl XXXVII … Additional career statistics include four interceptions, two touchdown receptions … First-team All-Pro four straight times (1999-2002) … Second-team All-NFL in 1997, 1998 … All-NFC five times … Selected to seven Pro Bowls … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Teams of the 1990s, 2000s … Born December 19, 1972 in Orlando, Florida.