The 2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees were elected Saturday.
Jack Butler, Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin, and Willie Roaf make up the class of 2012 – they were chosen from a list of 17 finalists.
This makes me smile because I think back to when my Dad fulfilled a promise to his boys by taking the family to our first NFL football game, a Falcons game that was the final game at the old Fulton County Stadium. That was a fantastic day full of great memories. The Falcons took on the Seattle Seahawks that day. Being young and excited, my brother and I wanted to do everything we could including maybe getting some autographs from the players. My parents saw this and wanted to help us make every dream we had a reality so we split up with my brother and I staying at the Falcons players gate, while my Dad and Mom wandered to another gate. As it turned out, when they came back they told us that they had found the Seattle players gate and managed to get a few guys to sign a hat for us. One of those signatures was Cortez Kennedy's. I remember being very excited and I remember my Dad remarking that he was amazed by just how big Kennedy was in person, but what a nice guy he was. Being a proud man's man type of guy, I know it was a big deal that my Dad would ask another grown man for his autograph for his sons...with no sons to be seen...without hesitation. I'm sure I told him, but I doubt he truly knew how much it meant to us and I know he would never have thought that it would mean so much to us to this day or that I would be writing about it to share it with the world. As a child, I loved my parents for doing something like that and as a grown man I am extremely proud of them both.
So, here's to my parents for making a child's dream come true and here's to the players that were elected to the Hall today. They are BEASTS, every one.
The official release regarding the elections is below.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee held its annual election meeting today and elected six individuals to the Class of 2012. Bringing the total number of members in the Hall of Fame to 273 are cornerback Jack Butler, center Dermontti Dawson, defensive end/linebacker Chris Doleman, defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, running back Curtis Martin, and tackle Willie Roaf.
Today’s annual selection meeting was held in Indianapolis, site of Super Bowl XLVI. The newest members of the Hall of Fame were selected from a list of 17 finalists who had been determined earlier by the Selection Committee.
Butler, a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1950s, intercepted 52 passes, four of which he returned for scores, in his nine-season career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Dawson, a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s, was named to the Pro Bowl seven straight seasons and was an All-Pro selection six consecutive years. The NFL Alumni’s Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1996, Dawson played in 184 career games for the Steelers.
Doleman racked up 150.5 career sacks in his 15-season career which ranked fourth all-time when he retired. He had 10 or more sacks in a season eight times.
Kennedy, the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1992, earned eight Pro Bowl berths and was named first-team All-Pro three straight seasons. He was also named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.
Martin rushed for 1,000 yards in each of his first 10 NFL seasons. He retired as the game’s fourth all-time leading rusher with 14,101 yards and had 90 rushing touchdowns.
Roaf, a seven-time, first-team All-NFL choice, starred for nine seasons with the New Orleans Saints and four years with the Kansas City Chiefs. In all, he played in 189 career games and was voted to 11 Pro Bowls.
The 2012 class will be formally enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012. The Enshrinement Ceremony takes place at Fawcett Stadium in Canton and will be televised live by both NFL Network and ESPN.
The annual NFL/Hall of Fame Game which kicks off the NFL’s preseason will be played on Sunday, Aug. 5 and broadcast live by NBC. Teams have not yet been announced.
The Enshrinement Ceremony is the marquee event of the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival which consists of 18 public events over an 11-day period.
Individual enshrinement tickets and Festival Fan & Travel Packages are on sale now.
PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2012
Cornerback … 6-1, 200 … St. Bonaventure … 1951-59 Pittsburgh Steelers … Nine seasons, 103 games … Undrafted free agent … Established himself as one of game’s most effective cornerbacks … Ranked as NFL’s second all-time leading interceptor when he retired following 1959 season ... Known as a great tackler, showed knack for finding football in rookie campaign when he registered five interceptions … Following season led all Steelers with seven interceptions … Had nine interceptions a season later (1953) including record-tying four interceptions in game vs. Redskins … Following season added four more interceptions, two he returned for touchdowns, an NFL record at time … Despite 25 interceptions in first four seasons, accolades eluded Butler … Oddly, first of four Pro Bowl nods came following 1955 season, only year he failed to intercept a pass … In sixth season (1956), selected as second-team All-NFL choice … In 1957 picked off career-best 10 passes tying league lead and was named first-team All-NFL … Had nine interceptions in 1958 and two interceptions in 1959 and was voted first-team All-NFL in each of those seasons … Suffered career-ending leg injury late in 1959 season … Career totals include: 52 interceptions for 827 yards, and four pick-sixes … Also had four touchdown receptions and returned one fumble for a score ... Was named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1950s … Born November 12, 1927 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Center … 6-2, 288 … Kentucky … 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers … 13 playing seasons, 184 games … Steelers’ second-round draft pick (44th player overall), 1988 NFL Draft … Second-team All-SEC at Kentucky … Started five of eight games played as a rookie at right guard … Missed eight weeks at midseason with knee injury … Became starting center in 1989 replacing future Hall of Famer Mike Webster … Doubled as team’s long snapper, 1988-1993 … Named Co-AFC Offensive Lineman of the Year (with Richmond Webb) by NFL Players Association, 1993 … Selected as NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year, 1996 … Played in 170 consecutive games before streak ended in 1999 due to hamstring injury … His exceptional speed and strength enabled him to do things not typical of a center … Named first-team All-Pro six consecutive years (1993-98) … Selected to play in seven consecutive Pro Bowls (1993-99) … Anchor on offensive line that led Steelers to five AFC Central Division championships and one AFC championship … Born June 17, 1965 in Lexington, Kentucky.
Defensive End/Linebacker … 6-5, 270 … Pittsburgh … 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers … 15 playing seasons … 232 games … Selected by Vikings in 1st round (4th player overall) in 1985 draft … Drafted as linebacker, moved to starting defensive end position final three games of second season … Tallied team-high 11 sacks in 1987… First of six sack titles with Vikings … Named All-NFL, All-NFC and voted to first Pro Bowl in 1987 ... Finest season came in 1989, led NFL with 21 sacks, one shy of single-season record at time … In 1992, named NFC’s Defensive Player of the Year when he recorded 14.5 sacks and 64 tackles, returned interception for touchdown, forced six fumbles, recovered three fumbles, and had safety … Spent two seasons with Atlanta (1994-95) three with the San Francisco (1996-98) … Returned to Vikings for final season, 1999 … His 150.5 sacks was NFL’s fourth best at time of retirement … Tied for third in the NFL Record Book with eight seasons 10 or more sacks … Also intercepted eight passes returning two for touchdowns; recorded two safeties; and scored touchdown on a fumble recovery during career … Named to eight Pro Bowls; first-team All-Pro in 1987, 1989, 1992 and first-team All-NFC four times … A member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1990s … Born October 16, 1961 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Defensive Tackle … 6-3, 298 … Northwest Mississippi Community College; Miami (FL) … 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks … 11 playing seasons, 167 games … Seahawks 1st round draft pick (3rd player overall), 1990 NFL Draft … First Team All-America choice at Miami in 1989 … Extremely durable, played in 167 of possible 176 games … Injury ended streak of 116 straight games played and club record 100 consecutive games started … Named first-team All-Rookie by PFWA … Voted to a team-record eight Pro Bowls (1992-97, 1999, 2000) … Named first-team (1992, 1993, 1994) or second-team (1991, 1996) All-Pro five times … Named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 while playing for a 2-14 team … That season led all interior linemen with 14 sacks and career best 92 tackles; had four forced fumbles; recovered fumble and batted down two passes … Recorded one of finest seasons in 1999 recording 73 tackles, 6.5 sacks, intercepting two passes, helping Seahawks reach playoffs for first time since 1988 … In all, registered 58 sacks, intercepted three passes and scored one touchdown on fumble recovery during career … He twice led the team in sacks (1992 and 1995) … Born August 23, 1968 in Osceola, Arkansas.
Running Back … 5-11, 207 … Pittsburgh … 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets … 11 playing seasons, 168 games … New England Patriots third round draft pick (74th player overall) of 1995 draft … Although missed most of senior season with ankle injury, showed no effects during rookie season … Ran 30 yards on first NFL carry, scored game-winning touchdown and became first Patriots player to rush for 100 yards in pro debut … Had rookie-record-tying nine 100-yard games … Finished year as AFC’s leading rusher; 1,487 yards, 14 touchdowns … Named Rookie of the Year, voted to first of five Pro Bowls … Joined Hall of Famer Barry Sanders as only runners ever to start careers with 10 straight 1,000-yard seasons … Led his team in rushing in each of his 11 seasons … Had finest year in 2004 with career-high 1,697 yards winning his lone NFL rushing title … Also tied career-high nine games with 100-plus yards rushing … Suffered knee injury in final year snapping streak of 119 consecutive starts that kept him from reaching 1,000-yard mark for only time in career … First- or second-team All-Pro 1999, 2001, 2004 … Retired as NFL’s fourth all-time leading rusher; 14,101 yards on 3,518 carries, 90 rushing touchdowns ... Rushed for 100-plus yards 56 times ... Caught 484 passes for 3,329 yards and 10 touchdowns … His 17,421 combined net yards placed him 10th all-time … Born May 1, 1973 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Tackle … 6-5, 300 … Louisiana Tech … 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs … 13 seasons, 189 games … Selected by New Orleans in 1st round (8th player overall) of 1993 draft … First offensive lineman selected … Started all 16 games at right tackle, did not miss offensive snap during first season earning All-Rookie honors ... Following year switched to left tackle and was voted to first of 11 Pro Bowls, named first-team All-Pro, All-NFC, and NFLPA’s NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year for first of two consecutive seasons ... Played nine seasons in New Orleans, starting 131 regular season games … Also started two playoff games including franchise’s first-ever postseason win, a 31-28 victory over defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams in 2000 NFC Wild Card Game … Knee injury shortened 2001 season to just seven games … Traded by the Saints to Chiefs in exchange for a third-round draft pick ... Rebounded from injury to regain form and earned All-Pro honors in three of four seasons with Chiefs … Was a key part of Kansas City’s offensive line that helped Chiefs lead NFL in points scored in 2002, 2003 ... Team also led AFC in total yards in 2003 and NFL in 2004, 2005 … Was named first-team All-Pro seven times (1994-96, 2000, 2003-05), All-NFC six times, and All-AFC three times … A member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s … Born April 18, 1970 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.