Hall of Fame Class of 2007
A capsule look at the six members who will be enshrined Aug. 4 (the finalists who were not voted in are also listed below):
Guard, 6-3, 248
Played: 1958-1973 Cleveland Browns. 15 seasons, 202 games.
Selected as future choice in seventh round of 1957 draft. ... A tackle in college, was shifted to guard. ... Was lead blocker for three Hall of Famers: Jim Brown, Bobby Mitchell and Leroy Kelly. ... Suffered broken leg in 1961 preseason opener, missed entire season. ... Fractured leg again later in year when hit while standing on sideline. ... After sitting out two games in 1962, never missed another game during his career. ... First-team All-Pro five consecutive seasons (1966-1970). ... Voted to Pro Bowl six straight times (1966-1971). ... During Hickerson's tenure, Browns never had a losing season. ... Started at right guard in four NFL title games, including Browns' 27-0 win over Colts in 1964. ... Before Hickerson joined Browns, just seven runners in NFL history reached 1,000 yards rushing. With Hickerson as lead blocker, Browns posted 1,000-yard rushers in nine of his first 10 seasons. ... Cleveland featured league's leading rusher in seven of those 10 seasons. ... Chosen for NFL's all-decade team of the 1960s.
Wide receiver, 6-2, 207
Played: 1988-1999 Dallas Cowboys. 12 seasons, 159 games. Cowboys' first-round pick (11th overall) in 1988 draft. ... Became the first rookie wide receiver to start a season opener for Dallas in more than 20 years. Irvin's 20.4-yards per catch average during his rookie year led the NFC. ... Led league with 1,523 yards on 93 catches in 1991. ... Had 1,000-yard seasons in all but one year from 1991-1998 ... In 1995, Irvin played his finest season: 111 catches for 1,603 yards. He also established an NFL record with 11 100-yard games and scored 10 touchdowns. ... Cowboys made four straight appearances in NFC championship game (1992-1995) and won three Super Bowls. ... Finished career with 750 receptions for 11,904 yards and 65 TDs. ... Selected to five straight Pro Bowls. ... Picked for NFL's all-decade team of the 1990s.
Guard, tackle, center, 6-5, 289
Played: 1983-2001 Houston Oilers/Tennessee Oilers/Titans. 19 seasons, 296 games.
Selected by Houston in first round (ninth overall) of 1983 draft. ... Regarded as one of game's finest offensive linemen for nearly two decades. ... Played in more games than any positional player in NFL history. ... Started 292 of 296 games he played and 15 playoff games. ... Played at every position on line. ... Was also team's long snapper for majority of career. ... Most starts came at guard (99 on left side, 67 as right guard) and at center (87). ... Also had 22 starts at right tackle, 17 at left tackle. ... Was anchor on offensive line that contributed to team's seven consecutive playoff seasons. ... Voted to first of 14 consecutive Pro Bowl teams (nine at guard, five at center) following 1988 season, tying Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen for most ever. ... Was voted All-Pro nine times. ... Selected as guard on NFL's all-decade team of the 1990s.
Tight end, 6-4, 230
Played: 1968-1977 Detroit Lions. 10 seasons, 128 games.
Selected by Detroit in third round (74th player overall) of 1968 draft. ... In an era of blocking tight ends, he became team's secret weapon as a receiver. ... Combined great leaping ability, big hands, strength, speed and elusiveness. ... As a rookie recorded impressive 40 receptions for 533 yards. ... Had a 10-reception, 133-yard game against Redskins in rookie season finale. ... Was only rookie selected to play in Pro Bowl following 1968 season. ... Was voted to seven Pro Bowls. ... In second season, caught 42 passes for 656 yards and three TDs, earning first of three consecutive All-Pro honors. ... Missed five games due to injury in 1972, but still managed 27 receptions for 416 yards. ... Made 30 or more receptions in a season seven times and had more than 500 yards receiving in six seasons. ... At time of retirement was Lions' all-time receptions leader (336), his career yards receiving (4,817) ranked second. ... Was Lions' leader or co-leader in receptions six of his 10 seasons. ... Chosen for NFL's all-decade team of the 1970s.
Running back, 5-10, 198
Played: 1988-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Miami Dolphins. 13 seasons, 182 games.
Selected in the second round of the 1988 draft. ... A key part of Bills' unprecedented run of four straight Super Bowl appearances. They lost all of them. ... Set record by leading NFL in total yards from scrimmage four consecutive seasons. ... In 1991, gained over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and was voted league's MVP. ... At time of retirement, ranked sixth all-time in career yards from scrimmage (16,532). ... Rushed for 12,074 yards. ... Only Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders ran for more yards in the 1990s. ... One of only five running backs (Walter Payton, Marcus Allen, Marshall Faulk and Tiki Barber) to have over 400 receptions and 10,000 yards rushing. ... Played in six AFC title games and four Super Bowls. ... Set playoff records for career points (126), touchdowns (21), and consecutive games with a TD (9). ... Selected to play in five consecutive Pro Bowls.
Cornerback, 6-0, 190
Played: 1969-1982 St. Louis Cardinals. 14 seasons, 193 games.
Selected in first round (19th overall) of 1969 draft. ... Starter as rookie, making three interceptions and leading team in punt returns. ... In 1970 picked off career-high six passes (a feat he matched in 1975) to earn first All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. ... Led or tied for lead in interceptions for Cardinals four times. ... Maintained enough speed and savvy to play demanding position for 14 seasons. ... Registered interception in all but two seasons and amassed 40 career interceptions, two for touchdowns. ... From 1974-76, picked off 12 passes as Cardinals put together string of three straight double-digit win seasons, including back-to-back NFC East titles (1974, 1975). ... Intercepted three of Roger Staubach's passes during key 31-17 win over division rival Dallas, Dec. 7, 1975. ... In 1981, was moved to left cornerback position. ... Recovered franchise record-tying 19 fumbles during career. ... Voted to NFL's all-decade team of 1970s, was first-team All-Pro five times (1970, 1974-1977) and made Pro Bowl seven times.
Defensive end, 6-3, 230
Played: 1975-1981 San Diego Chargers, 1981-1985 San Francisco 49ers. 11 seasons, 141 games.
Selected by San Diego in the second round (33rd player overall) in 1975 NFL draft. ... Played linebacker in college, moved to defensive line with the Chargers. ... Quickness, speed, strength made him a feared pass rusher. ... Recorded seven sacks, 93 tackles and had four fumble recoveries in his rookie year. ... Career sacks total near 100, but unofficial because sacks were not an official NFL statistic until 1982. ... Unofficially had 15½ sacks in 1978, nine in 1979, 10½ in 1980. ... Contributed 12 sacks in 11 games with the 49ers in 1981. ... Had career best 17½ sacks in 1983, including a then-NFL record six in one game, Nov. 13 vs. New Orleans. ... Played on five division winners and two Super Bowl championship teams. ... Voted All-Pro in 1980 and 1981, selected to play in four Pro Bowls.
Defensive end, 6-5, 265 Played: 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles. 15 seasons, 203 games.
Selected by Chicago in eighth round (203rd overall) of 1983 draft. ... Became full-time starter early in 1984, beginning a 10-year period in which he made 10 or more sacks in eight of 10 seasons. ... An intimidating player, could speed rush or power rush the quarterback. ... Twice had 4½ sacks in a game, both vs. Raiders (1984 and 1987). ... One of game's top pass rushers with 137½ career sacks, which ranked third all-time at his retirement. ... Recorded double-digit sacks eight times, including streak of five consecutive years (1984-1988). ... Led NFC with team record 17½ sacks in 1984. ... In following year, led NFL with 17 sacks as an integral part of Bears' dominating defense. ... Won Super Bowl MVP honors following Bears' 46-10 win over Patriots in 1986. ... Career statistics include eight interceptions (one touchdown), a safety, and fumble recovery for touchdown. ... First- or second-team All-Pro four times, selected to play in four Pro Bowls.
Defensive end, 6-6, 245
Played: 1969-1981 Pittsburgh Steelers. 13 seasons, 170 games.
Steelers' 10th-round pick in 1969 draft. ... Teamed with Hall of Famer Joe Greene to give Steelers superior left-side strength for their ``Steel Curtain'' defense. ... Possessed exceptional quickness. ... Used height to knock down passes or rush passers. ... Noted for his reckless, freewheeling style as a pass rusher, he had 73½ sacks (unofficial) in 13 seasons. Six times he led team in that category. ... Also recovered 14 fumbles. Played in six AFC title games, four Super Bowls. ... Played a major role in Pittsburgh's 16-6 Super Bowl victory over Minnesota by batting down three of Fran Tarkenton's passes. ... In Pittsburgh's Super Bowl win over Dallas the next year, he sacked Roger Staubach three times. ... In 1991, he was chosen for the Super Bowl silver anniversary team. ... Was All-Pro in 1974 and 1975.
Guard, 6-3, 273
Played: 1981-1991 Washington Redskins. 11 seasons, 140 games. Redskins' third-round pick in 1981 draft. ... Originally pegged to play center, he moved to left guard, where he earned a starting role as a rookie. ... Became a steadying force on Redskins' offensive line that earned nickname "Hogs'' ... Teaming with tackle Joe Jacoby, the pair formed the most punishing side of an offensive line in the NFL at the time. ... He possessed speed and strength crucial to Redskins' dominating running attack. ... Appeared in five NFC championship games and four Super Bowls. ... Selected to four straight Pro Bowls (1983-86) ... Elected to NFL's 1980s all-decade team.
Punter, 6-3, 195
Played: 1973-86 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders. 14 seasons, 207 games.
First punter ever drafted in first round, Raiders 1973 (23rd player overall). ... Became impact player from very first game as a rookie. ... Had best average (45.3 yards) as rookie. ... Career average was 42.4 yards. ... Averaged under 40 yards only one season in NFL career. ... Led NFL in punting in 1974, 1975, 1977. ... Had only three of 1,049 punts blocked. ... Had 619 punts without a block, 1979-1986. ... Veteran of 22 postseason games, adding 111 punts for 42.4 average. ... All-Pro six straight seasons, 1973-1978. ... Played in seven Pro Bowls, including six straight from 1974 to 1979. ... Played in seven AFC championship games and three Super Bowls. ... Three-game Super Bowl totals: 14 punts, 41.9-yard average. ... Had 57 punts inside 20-yard line, 1984-1985. ... First punter to hit Louisiana Superdome scoreboard, 1977 Pro Bowl.
Guard, 6-2, 253
Played: 1970-83 Miami Dolphins. 14 seasons, 196 games.
Selected by Philadelphia Eagles in fourth round of 1969 draft. ... Released by Eagles and Atlanta Falcons. Played semipro football before signing as free agent with Dolphins in 1970. ... Played in more regular-season games (196) than any other player in Dolphins history at the time of his retirement. Only player to play in all 19 playoff games in franchise's history at that time. ... Also spent time at tackle and center. In 1978 played eight games at guard and seven at tackle, earning Pro Bowl spot at guard. ... In 1977, suffered two fractures in back in August, but returned to lineup after missing just two regular-season starts. ... Picked for six Pro Bowls. ... Had memorable performance in 1973 Super Bowl victory.
Wide receiver, 6-3, 210
Played: 1980-93 Washington Redskins, 1994 New York Jets, 1995 Philadelphia Eagles. 16 seasons, 224 games.
Redskins' first-round pick (18th player overall) in 1980 draft. ... Prototype for today's bigger, stronger receivers. Caught 58 passes as a rookie. ... Had 50 or more receptions in a season nine times. Gained 1,000 or more yards receiving in a season five times. ... Set then-NFL records for catches in a season (106), most consecutive games with at least one reception (164), and career receptions (820). Finished career with 940 catches. ... Had finest season in 1984, catching eight or more passes in six games, five games of 100-plus yards receiving, and in one game caught 10 passes for 200 yards. ... Chosen as Redskins MVP in 1984. ... First Redskins player to produce three consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. ... A three-time Pro Bowl selection, was All-Pro choice in 1984 and 1985.
Wide receiver, 6-2, 190
Played: 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins. 16 seasons, 234 games.
Selected by Buffalo in fourth round (86th overall) of 1985 draft. ... Most prolific receiver in Buffalo Bills history. ... His 951 career receptions were third in NFL history at time of his retirement. ... His 941 career receptions still are a Bills record and 266 more than No. 2 on that list. ... His 13,095 yards receiving and 36 games with 100-plus yards are current team records. ... Known for gaining yards after catch. ... His 13 seasons, including nine consecutive, with 50-plus receptions is exceeded only by Jerry Rice. ... Reed is tied with Bills running back Thurman Thomas for team's most career touchdowns (87), most of them on passes from Jim Kelly. ... Kelly-Reed tandem held NFL record for career receptions (663) until 2004 when eclipsed by Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison. ... Known for toughness, he made many of his receptions over the middle. ... Selected to play in seven consecutive Pro Bowls (1989-1995). ... Had 85 catches for 1,229 yards, including five 100-yard games, in postseason play.
1989-2006, National Football League.
During tenure, NFL grew to unparalleled heights. ... NFL with its competitive equity is nation's most popular sport. ... Committed to a "league think'' philosophy, his leadership enabled NFL to address several key priorities: expansion to 32 teams; nearly two decades of labor peace with the NFL Players Association; support of some 20 new stadium construction projects. ... Established NFL as a global brand with operations in overseas markets. ... Was first league to operate on a weekly basis on two separate continents. ... Created a league-wide Internet network and subscriber-based NFL TV Network. ... Secured largest TV contracts in entertainment history totaling some $25 billion. ... Before becoming league's CEO, represented NFL as attorney.
Linebacker, 6-3, 243
Played: 1989-1999 Kansas City Chiefs. 11 seasons, 169 games.
Chiefs' first-round pick (fourth overall) in 1989 draft. ... Had 10 sacks as a rookie and added 75 tackles to earn Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. ... In 1990, led NFL with team-record 20 sacks, including NFL- record seven in one game. ... Chosen for nine Pro Bowls. ... Accumulated most sacks in NFL during 1990s (116½). ... Recorded 126½ career sacks. Had 10 or more in a season seven times and multisack games 27 times. ... Forced 45 fumbles, recovered 19. Scored four touchdowns on fumble returns and added three safeties. ... In the 11 years he anchored the defense, Chiefs finished first or second in the AFC West 10 times, made seven playoff appearances, and won three division titles. ... All-Pro three times. ... Selected to nine straight Pro Bowls. ... Member of the NFL's all-decade team of the 1990s.
Linebacker, 6-3, 240
Played: 1982-1993 New England Patriots. 10 seasons, 151 games.
Selected in the second round (41st overall) of 1982 draft. ... Used primarily on special teams in strike-shortened rookie season. ... Earned starter's role in following season. ... In 1984 established team record with 18½ sacks and earned first of five consecutive (1985-1989) Pro Bowl selections. ... Was a factor in team's success that led to first Super Bowl appearance in 1986. ... That season (1985) led AFC with 16½ sacks (second in NFL), earning AFC Defensive Player of the Year honors. ... Began 1986 season with 9½ sacks before injury sidelined him for five games following surgery. Returned for final two games of season and earned Pro Bowl spot. ... In 1987 had AFC-leading 12½ sacks. ... Missed four games in 1988 and entire 1989 season due to injuries. ... Remained a dominant player through final four seasons. ... At time of retirement, his 100 career sacks, 18½ sacks in a season, and 17 opponent fumbles recovered were team bests. ... Chosen for NFL's all-decade team of the 1980s.
Tackle, 6-6, 294
Played: 1986-1992 Minnesota Vikings, 1993-1997 Denver Broncos. 12 seasons, 184 games.
Selected in first round (third overall) of 1984 supplemental draft. ... Originally chosen by Giants, signing rights traded to Vikings for two second-round picks in 1986 draft. ... Spent two seasons with the L.A. Express of USFL before reporting to Vikings. ... After joining Vikings, began streak of 169 consecutive starts that lasted until 1996, when surgery sidelined him. ... Anchored offensive line that helped Vikings lead NFC in rushing, 1991. ... One of just handful of players chosen for two NFL all-decade teams, 1980s and 1990s. ... Earned first- or second-team All-Pro honors eight times. ... Selected to play in seven Pro Bowls.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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