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Marcus Allen elected to Hall of Fame

Jan. 25, 2003 at 6:12 PM   |   Comments

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- The scenario was perfect for Marcus Allen this weekend with his former team -- the Oakland Raiders -- playing Super Bowl XXXVII in his hometown.

On Saturday, the franchise's all-time leading rusher became the first player born in San Diego to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"This is the greatest day of my athletic career. It is what I wanted to achieve, especially this year in my hometown," Allen said.

Joining Allen in the Class of 2003 were James Lofton, who ranks third all-time with 14,004 receiving yards; Houston Oilers defensive end Elvin Bethea and Buffalo Bills guard Joe DeLamiellure.

Former Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram, the recommended nominee of the Hall's Senior Committee, also was elected.

The only player to earn a Heisman Trophy, NFL Most Valuable Player and Super Bowl MVP, Allen was elected in his first year of eligibility.

However, Raiders owner Al Davis, who has not spoken to Allen for more than a decade after the two had a falling out, was not on hand to salute the best running back in his franchise's history.

"I don't want to get into anything negative today," Allen said, "I wish the Raiders and Mr. Davis the best in their quest to win another championship. That's all I'm going to say."

Allen played 11 years with the Raiders from 1982-92, when they were based in Los Angeles, and five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. He ran for 12,243 yards, caught 587 passes for 5,411 yards and scored 145 touchdowns.

A six-time Pro Bowler, Allen rushed for a career-high 1,759 yards in 1985 and was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XVIII, rushing for 191 yards and two touchdowns in the Raiders' 38-9 rout of Washington.

That was the last previous Super Bowl trip for the Raiders, who will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers here in Super Bowl XXXVII on Sunday.

Allen did earn a Pro Bowl berth with Kansas City in 1994 and praised Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, who was present to honor both Allen and Stram.

"I'd like to do something special and go into the Hall of Fame as both a Chief and a Raider if that's possible," Allen said. "I had a tumultuous time at the end with the Raiders, but it's hard to ignore all the great things that happened there. And I'd like to honor the Chiefs as well for the way the Hunt family treated me."

An icon in his hometown, Allen was honored earlier this week at his high school and becomes the third San Diegan to make a Hall of Fame -- following Ted Williams in baseball and Bill Walton in basketball.

"That means so much to me," Allen said. "There is a rich tradition of athletes coming out of here, Ted Williams for one, and if you go down to the (San Diego) Hall of Champions, it's a pretty impressive list."

Stram led the Kansas City franchise to a Super Bowl title, one other Super Bowl appearance and three AFL championships.

A minimum of 80 percent of the voting is required from the Hall's of Fame's 39-member Board of Selectors for election.

Former New York Giants linebacker Harry Carson and the late George Young, who was in the contributor category as a general manager and administrator, were among the seven finalists who missed election.

Enshrinement of the Class of 2003 will take place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton on Sunday, Aug. 3.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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