Pro Football Hall of Fame: Facts and quotes on Class of 2017

By The Sports Xchange  |  Aug. 3, 2017 at 11:43 PM
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CANTON, OH -- A new era begins this year at the Pro Football Hall of Fame as the induction ceremony of the Class of 2017 will be the featured event in the unveiling of the $800 million Johnson Controls HOF Village.

That includes the spectacular new Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium and a National Youth Football and Sports Complex.

But still at the heart of all this are the great players who will be inducted Saturday (7 p.m. ET, NFL Network TV).

Here is a closer look at those seven players, their accomplishments and some quotes by or about them:

Facts, quotes on the PFHOF Class of 2017:


Kicker -- 6-foot-2, 218 pounds. Michigan State alum. 1982-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-2000, 2006-07 Atlanta Falcons, 2001 New York Giants, 2002-03 Kansas City Chiefs, 2004 Minnesota Vikings. 25 seasons, 382 games. Selected by Saints in fourth round (86th player overall) of 1982 draft. Began career in strike-shortened 1982 season. Scored more than 90 points in 22 seasons. Topped 100-point total 14 times in career. First 100-plus season, 1985, connected on 31 of 35 field goals, 27 extra point conversions, for 120 points, earning first of seven Pro Bowl selections. Also named All-Pro five times. After 13 years with Saints and ranking as team's all-time leading scorer, joined the Falcons in 1995. Became Falcons career scoring leader. Spectacular 1995 season, scored a career-high 122 points, including then NFL-record for most 50-yard field goals in season (eight). Dec. 10, 1995, became first kicker to convert three field goals of 50 yards or longer in single game. Set NFL records for career points (2,544), most field goals (565), games played (382). His 40 field goals of 50-plus yards most in NFL history at retirement. Named to two NFL All-Decade Teams (1980s and 1990s). Converted 565 of 709 field goal attempts, 849 of 859 point-after-attempts. Led NFL in field goals, 1987. Led NFC in scoring, 1992 and topped all conference kickers in most field goals in 1985, 1987, and 1995. Born August 19, 1960 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

--Kickers in the Hall of Fame: (2) -- Morten Anderson, Jan Stenerud; Also -- George Blanda, QB/K; Lou Groza, T/K).


--"I remember watching him for many years growing up thinking that, 'This guy's the best.' Then finally getting to play against him or be on the same field, I was like, 'Wow this is awesome.'" --Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts kicker

--"Sports has a beautiful way of allowing you into a group of guys and just being accepted because that's the common denominator that we're doing something together here, we're a part of a team. I think football really helped me that way, and kicking helped me that way." --Morten Andersen, Class of 2017


Running Back -- 5-foot-11, 206 pounds. Long Beach State, Georgia, alum. 1995-2001 Denver Broncos seven seasons, 78 games. Selected by Broncos in the sixth round, (196th player overall) of 1995 NFL Draft. Made big splash when he earned starting tailback position as rookie. Despite missing final two games of rookie campaign with hamstring tear, eclipsed 1,000-yard mark and added career-high 49 receptions for 367 yards. In second year, gained 1,538 yards rushing, named Offensive Player of the Year. Rushed for 1,750 yards and league-high 15 TDs in 1997. In 1998 became fourth runner in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in season (2,008) and led NFL with 21 rushing TDs en route to Denver's second straight Super Bowl title. Set NFL playoff record seven straight 100-yard performances spanning 1997-98 postseasons. Earned MVP honors in Super Bowl XXXII after rushing 157 yards, three TDs in victory over Packers. Scored eight rushing touchdowns in '97 playoff run. In 1998 playoffs, rushed for franchise postseason-record 199 yards against Dolphins in divisional playoff, 167 yards vs. Jets in the championship and 102 yards in Super Bowl XXXIII victory over Falcons. Devastating knee injury limited him to just 17 games over his final three seasons. Three-time All-Pro selection. Rushed for 7,607 yards, 60 TDs in just 78 career games. Added additional 1,280 yards on 169 career catches and five TD receptions. Selected to three Pro Bowls and named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s. Born October 28,

1972 in San Diego California.

--Running Backs in the Hall of Fame: (32) -- Marcus Allen, Jerome Bettis, Jim Brown, Earl Campbell, Larry Csonka, TERRELL DAVIS, Eric Dickerson, Tony Dorsett, Marshall Faulk, Frank Gifford, Franco Harris, Paul Hornung, John Henry Johnson, Leroy Kelly, Floyd Little, Curtis Martin, Ollie Matson, Hugh McElhenny, Lenny Moore, Marion Motley, Walter Payton, Joe Perry, John Riggins, Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers, O.J. Simpson, Emmitt Smith, Jim Taylor, Thurman Thomas, LaDAINIAN TOMLINSON, Charley Trippi, Doak Walker.


--"The more you put into football, you train, you prepare, the harder you play, then the better the results are going to be and that is true in life ... you can't think you're going to be great at anything without putting work into it." --Terrell Davis,


Safety -- 6-foot-3, 206 pounds. UCLA alum. 1981-87 Seattle Seahawks seven seasons, 89 games. Drafted as fourth player overall by Seahawks in 1981 NFL Draft. Three-time consensus All-America at UCLA. Made immediate impact in Seattle with his intimidating style on defense. Developed reputation as punishing tackler. Picked as Defensive Rookie of the Year after sensational first season in which he recorded three interceptions for 155 yards and one TD (82-yarder vs. Browns), 1981. Defensive leader of Seahawks' team that advanced to franchise's first-ever AFC championship game, 1983. Registered seven interceptions for 106 yards to earn AFC Defensive Player of the Year honors, 1983. Named Defensive Player of the Year in 1984 after recording league-high and career-best 10 interceptions including pair of pick-sixes (25 yards vs. Patriots; 58 yards vs. Chiefs). All-Pro four straight seasons, 1982-85. Named to five Pro Bowls (1983-86, 1988). Member of NFL's All-Decade Team of 1980s. Intercepted multiple passes in each of seven NFL seasons. Led team in interceptions four times (1982, 1983, 1984, 1987). Career stats: 32 interceptions, 538 yards and three TDs. Also had eight career sacks and returned 26 punts for 302 yards. Born January 15, 1959 in Chesapeake, Virginia.

--Safeties in the Hall of Fame: (12) -- Jack Christiansen, KENNY EASLEY, Ken Houston, Paul Krause, Yale Lary, Ronnie Lott (also CB), Mel Renfro (also CB), Emlen Tunnell, Aeneas Williams (also CB), Larry Wilson, Willie Wood, Rod Woodson (also CB).


--"In my pursuit at trying to be the best, I always felt like I was shooting up to his level because he was the standard. ... Kenny's skills transcended the game...He was a good as there ever was and I mean that right to this day." --Ronnie Lott, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2000

--"He was an outstanding three-time All American player. ... Big, fast, physical, athletic. When you saw him play for Seattle you knew you were watching a Hall of Fame player, without doubt." -Ron Wolf, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2015


Owner, president and general manager. Arkansas alum. 1989-Present Dallas Cowboys. Purchased Cowboys in 1989 and quickly restored winning tradition to franchise. Has led Cowboys to unprecedented success on and off the field. Leadership in sports marketing and promotion has influenced landscape of NFL and America's sports culture. Became first owner in league history to win three Super Bowls in first seven years of ownership. Cowboys made seven playoff appearances, six division titles and wins in Super Bowls XXVII, XVIII and XXX in Jones' first decade of owning team. Dallas has advanced to postseason 13 times under Jones. Cowboys have posted 10 wins in a season 12 times during Jones era. Led franchise to NFC Eastern Division titles five straight seasons, 1992-96. Also won NFC East crowns in 1998, 2007, 2009, 2014 and 2016. Vision was driving influence in the creation and development of AT&T stadium, "crown jewel" of all sports venues. Continues to provide leadership for NFL in areas of marketing, sponsorship, television, stadium management, labor negotiations and television. Leadership has shaped and enhanced NFL's standing as world's premiere sports league.


--"My most important thing is that I don't think I've worked a day since I bought the Dallas Cowboys. It has absolutely been a labor of love every morning and I am more excited about the future, the future about the league, the future of the Cowboys, my future. I'm more excited today than in '89 when I became involved." --Jerry Jones, Class of 2017

--"He's meant a lot to our game. The prosperity of our league in large part, if you had to single one person, you would single Jerry Jones as the guy who's responsible." --Troy Aikman, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2006


Defensive End -- 6-foot06, 260 pounds. Akron alum. 1997-2007, 2009, 2011 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Washington Redskins, 2010 New York Jets. 15 seasons, 233 games. Drafted in third round (73rd overall) by Dolphins in 1997 NFL Draft. Registered double-digit sack total in a season six times over an eight-year span (2000-07). Earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year in Honors in 2006 after recording 13.5 sacks, two interceptions returned for TDs (20 yards vs. Bears and 51 yards vs. Vikings), 11 passes defensed, 10 forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 62 tackles. Returned fumble career-long and team-record 85 yards for TD vs. Broncos, Sept. 11, 2005. Led NFL with career-high 18.5 sacks, 2002. Recorded more sacks than any player in NFL from 2000-2011. Career statistics: 139.5 sacks; eight interceptions for 110 yards and three TDs; league record-tying 29 opponents' fumbles recovered; NFL record six TDs on fumble recoveries; and three safeties (two with Dolphins, one as a member of Jets). Voted to six Pro Bowls. Named first-team All-Pro in 2000, 2002 and 2006. All-AFC four times (2000, 2002, 2004, 2006). Picked as Dolphins' Most Valuable Player four times. Named to NFL's All-Decade Team of the 2000s. Born September 1, 1974 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

--Defensive Ends in the Hall of Fame: (21) -- Doug Atkins, Elvin Bethea, Willie Davis, Fred Dean, Richard Dent, Chris Doleman (also LB), Carl Eller, Len Ford, Charles Haley (also LB), Dan Hampton (also DT), Claude Humphrey, Deacon Jones, Howie Long, Gino Marchetti, Andy Robustelli, Lee Roy Selmon, Bruce Smith, Michael Strahan, JASON TAYLOR, Reggie White, Jack Youngblood.


--"Jason caught my eye when he was outstanding in the Senior Bowl. A lot of teams thought he was undersized and that's why we were able to get him in the third round ... little did any of us realize just how great a player he would become." --Jimmy Johnson, Taylor's enshrinement presenter and Miami Dolphins head coach from 1996-99

--"The games against Jason are some of my most (well, maybe least) memorable. He is one of the greatest opponents I've ever faced, having had the 'pleasure' of looking across the line and seeing him on the opposite side of the ball, not once, but twice each season for a decade. While I entered the league with a healthy respect for Jason and the incredibly talented Miami defense he led, my admiration for him as a player and a person only continued to grow with each play; each game; each season." --Tom Brady, New England Patriots quarterback


Running Back -- 5-foot-10, 221 pounds. Texas Christian alum. 2001-09 San Diego Chargers, 2010-11 New York Jets. 11 seasons, 170 games. Selected by Chargers in first round (fifth player overall) of 2001 NFL Draft. Sensational rookie season with 1,236 yards and 10 TD rushing plus 59 receptions for 367 yards. Eclipsed 1,600-yard mark in back-to-back seasons, 2002-03. Rushed for 1,000 yards in each of first eight NFL seasons. Scored 10 or more rushing TDs each of nine seasons with Chargers. Captured back-to-back rushing titles, 2006-07. Named NFL's 2006 Most Valuable Player with leading-leading and career-high 1,815 yards and 28 touchdowns rushing in addition to 56 catches for 508 yards and three TDs to set NFL record with 31 touchdowns and 186 points in a season. Hauled in 100 receptions in 2003. Set NFL record with rushing touchdown in 18 straight games (2004-05). All-Pro four straight seasons (2004-07). Named Chargers Most Valuable Player five times. Voted to five Pro Bowls over six-season span. Rushed for 13,684 career yards on 3,174 carries and scored 145 rushing touchdowns. Added 4,772 yards on 624 catches and 17 TD receptions. Also threw seven TD passes. Named to NFL's All-Decade Team of 2000s. Born June 23, 1979 in Rosebud, Texas.

--Running Backs in the Hall of Fame: (32) -- Marcus Allen, Jerome Bettis, Jim Brown, Earl Campbell, Larry Csonka, TERRELL DAVIS, Eric Dickerson, Tony Dorsett, Marshall Faulk, Frank Gifford, Franco Harris, Paul Hornung, John Henry Johnson, Leroy Kelly, Floyd Little, Curtis Martin, Ollie Matson, Hugh McElhenny, Lenny Moore, Marion Motley, Walter Payton, Joe Perry, John Riggins, Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers, O.J. Simpson, Emmitt Smith, Jim Taylor, Thurman Thomas, LaDAINIAN TOMLINSON, Charley Trippi, Doak Walker


--"It was almost impossible to defend him. ... Because he had hands like a receiver, he had feet like a ballet dancer and had a heart like a lion -- any time that you have all of those things, you just never know what you are going to get. ... What made him the hardest thing to deal with was that he always kept a calm demeanor. You never could rattle him. He always stayed true to himself." --Ray Lewis, former Baltimore Ravens linebacker

--"He made everyone around him better. He was a phenomenal leader. When LT spoke, everybody listened. And he backed it up with his actions, more so than anything he could ever say." --Drew Brees, Tomlinson's teammate with the San Diego Chargers from 2001-05


Quarterback -- 6-foot-2, 220 pounds. Northern Iowa alum. 1998-2003 St. Louis Rams, 2004 New York Giants, 2005-09 Arizona Cardinals. 12 seasons, 124 games. Not drafted in the NFL. Originally signed by and then released by Green Bay Packers in 1994. Went on to play in Arena Football League with Iowa Barnstormers (1995-97). Returned to NFL with Rams as free agent and allocated to NFL Europe's Amsterdam Admirals. Returned to Rams in 1998. Went on to become a two-time NFL MVP (1999 and 2001) and named Super Bowl XXXIV MVP after leading Rams to victory 23-16 victory over Tennessee Titans. Set Super Bowl record with 414 passing yards. He recorded another MVP season two years later when he guided Rams back to the Super Bowl. His season totals included a league-leading and career-high 4,830 yards and 36 touchdowns to post a 101.4 passer rating. Warner made a third trek to the Super Bowl in 2008 season when he led Arizona Cardinals to franchise's first division title since 1975 and first-ever Super Bowl appearance. First quarterback to throw for 300 or more yards in three Super Bowls. A four-time Pro Bowl choice, led NFL in average gain per attempt, three times. Had highest passer rating and led NFL in TD passes twice. Born June 22, 1971 in Burlington, Iowa.

--Quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame: (26) -- Troy Aikman, George Blanda (also PK), Terry Bradshaw, Len Dawson, John Elway, Brett Favre, Dan Fouts, Otto Graham, Bob Griese, Sonny Jurgensen, Jim Kelly, Bobby Layne, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Warren Moon, Joe Namath, Ken Stabler, Bart Starr, Roger Staubach, Fran Tarkenton, Y.A. Tittle, Johnny Unitas, Norm Van Brocklin, KURT WARNER, Bob Waterfield, Steve Young


--"Some people think that a guy like Kurt came out of nowhere ... but when you really start to peel back the veil and start to peel the orange, you kind of see the work that he put in, his willingness to not give up on his dream." --Isaac Bruce, Warner's teammate with the St. Louis Rams from 1998-2003

--"I've never seen him nervous. Not on the football field. He might have been, but it never came across to me that he was. I guess, when you're preaching something that could change the outcome of people's lives, it's not like throwing football passes. Kurt takes it as a privilege that he has that opportunity." --Larry Fitzgerald, Warner's teammate with the Arizona Cardinals from 2005-09.

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Topics: Morten Andersen, Terrell Davis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor, Adam Vinatieri, Marcus Allen, Jerome Bettis, Jim Brown, Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Frank Gifford, Franco Harris, Curtis Martin, Walter Payton, Joe Perry, Gale Sayers, O.J. Simpson, Emmitt Smith, Jim Taylor, Thurman Thomas, Doak Walker, Jerry Jones, Ronnie Lott, Rod Woodson, Fred Dean, Carl Eller, Claude Humphrey, Bruce Smith, Michael Strahan, Reggie White, Jimmy Johnson, Tom Brady, Ray Lewis, Drew Brees, Terry Bradshaw, Len Dawson, John Elway, Brett Favre, Dan Fouts, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Joe Namath, Bart Starr, Fran Tarkenton, Isaac Bruce, Larry Fitzgerald, Barry Sanders, Denver Broncos, John Henry, Richard Dent, Steve Young, Tom Benson, Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Sept. 11, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, New York Giants, San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, St. Louis Rams
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