Guest Author - Mona McKenzie
Saturday’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony will be one for the record books, literally. Both Jerry Rice, the NFL’s All-Time Leading Receiver (22,895 yards) and Emmitt Smith, the NFL’s All-Time Leading Rusher (18,355 yards) will be enshrined in the same class. These two spectacular players are joined by five other athletes whose stellar careers, spanning over four decades, made football the sport to watch. Here’s a brief career overview for the Class of 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinees:
Grimm (Left Guard / University of Pittsburgh) was a third round draft choice by the Washington Redskins in 1981. He played his entire career with the Redskins (1981-1991) and was a member of the famed “Hogs” offensive line. Grimm, an All-Pro, played in four Super Bowls, earning three rings. Grimm becomes the 18th Redskins enshrinee.
Jackson (Linebacker / University of Pittsburgh) was drafted in second round by the New Orleans Saints in 1981. He was known as a ferocious pass rusher, tackler and sack-master, spearheading the Saints preeminent defense. Jackson played for the Saints (1981-1993) and the San Francisco 49ers (1994-1995) and was named to the Pro Bowl six times. Jackson becomes the first New Orleans Saints player to be enshrined.
LeBeau (Cornerback / Ohio State) was a fifth round selection by the Cleveland Browns in 1959. He signed with Detroit Lions during rookie camp after being cut by the Browns. LeBeau played his entire career with the Lions (1959-1972) and ranks third all-time amongst cornerbacks for interceptions. LeBeau is currently known to NFL fans as the architect for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ dominant defense. As a Senior Nominee, LeBeau becomes the 14th person from the Lions organization to be enshrined.
Little (Running Back / Syracuse) was a first round draft selection by the Denver Broncos in 1967. He won the NFL Rushing Title and became the Broncos’ first 1,000 yard rusher during his fourth year in the League. Little was an all-purpose running back, receiver, and punt return specialist responsible for more than 12,000 yards for the Broncos’ offense. A Senior Nominee, Little is only the second career Broncos player to be enshrined.
Randle (Defensive Tackle / Texas A&I) signed as an undrafted free agent with the Minnesota Vikings in 1990. Well known for getting in the heads of the opposition, Randle retired with 137.5 career sacks. Randle played with the Minnesota Vikings (1990-2000) and Seattle Seahawks (2001-2003) and was named to the Pro Bowl seven times. Randle becomes the 10th Viking player/coach/administrator to be enshrined.
Rice (Wide Receiver / Mississippi Valley State) was a first round draft selection by the San Francisco 49ers in 1985. He is arguably the greatest wide receiver to ever play the game. Rice attained 1,000 yards receiving in 11 straight years and holds just about every NFL receiving record. Rice was named an All-Pro 11 consecutive seasons, earned three Super Bowl rings, and was Super Bowl XXIII’s MVP. Rice, a member of the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team, becomes the 13th 49ers player/coach to be enshrined.
Smith (Running Back / Florida) was a first round draft selection by the Dallas Cowboys in 1990. Right out of the gate, Smith earned the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. During his career with the Dallas Cowboys (1990-2002) and Arizona Cardinals (2003-2004), Smith lead the NFL in rushing four times. A member of the famed “Triplets,” Smith earned three Super Bowl rings. He is the only player ever to be named NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP in the same year. Smith becomes the 12th Cowboys player/coach/administrator to be enshrined.
The induction ceremony will be carried live on ESPN and NFL Network beginning at 7:00 pm EST. The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, featuring the Cincinnati Bengals vs. the Dallas Cowboys, will be played on Sunday at 8:00 pm EST on NBC.