The 2012 NFL Hall Of Fame class was installed last Saturday at the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The 2012 class includes Willie Roaf, Jack Butler, Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, and Curtis Martin.
To give a fair presentation of each NFL Hall Of Fame 2012 Class Member, here’s a partial description of all from the website of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, followed by my own comments:
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) … Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1990s … 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 both the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s and 2000s … Born April 18, 1970 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
The two members that stick out most to me are Chris Doleman and Curtis Martin; Willie Roaf is a close second because he played for the Saints against the 49ers, and then for the Chiefs against the Oakland Raiders – since I’m a Raiders and 49ers fan, you see what I mean.
Chris Doleman was the second person I thought of after Lawrence Taylor when it came to “edge” pass rushing. Curtis Martin will always be a New York Jet to me, as well as a steady rusher who was always good for the “short gain” both in Strat-O-Matic Football, and in real life on the field.