CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Linebacker Derrick Brooks has kicked off the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies with what he called a “Thank you letter.”
Brooks was the first of the seven-member 2014 class to open the induction ceremony in Canton on Saturday night.
During a 24-minute speech, the 11-time Pro Bowl selection paid tribute to family members, teammates and coaches, from his Pop Warner playing days to his 14 NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brooks referred to former Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy as his mentor. And he thanked Dungy’s successor, Jon Gruden, for helping the Buccaneers believe they could be champions.
It was under Gruden when Bucs blossomed into Super Bowl winners during the 2002 season in which Brooks earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors.
CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Defensive end Claude Humphrey has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The induction ended a 28-year wait for Humphrey, who split 13 NFL seasons between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles. The 70-year-old was a six-time Pro Bowl selection, and set the Falcons franchise record with 94 1/2 sacks.
Humphrey was credited with 122 career sacks, even though the statistic wasn’t kept until after he retired following the 1981 season.
He was introduced for induction by his daughter, Cheyenne Humphrey-Robinson.
File – Aeneas Williams/AP Photo/Phil Long
CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Defensive back Aeneas Williams has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Williams was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, who split 14 NFL seasons between the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams. He retired after the 2004 season and was selected for induction in his fifth year of eligibility.
Williams, who is now a pastor in St. Louis, was known for his leadership abilities and ball-hawking skills. He had 61 career interceptions including playoffs, and returned nine for touchdowns.
He was introduced for induction by his father, Lawrence Williams.
CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Ray Guy has become the first full-time punter to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Guy was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and spent his 14-year career with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders. At 64, he was selected for induction in his 23rd year of eligibility.
Guy was a specialist in directional kicking, and his booming leg and helped popularize the term “hang time.” He was a member of three Super Bowl champions.
Guy was introduced for induction by former Raiders coach, Hall of Famer John Madden.
CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Receiver Andre Reed has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Reed was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, who spent 15 of his 16 NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills. Reed was a cornerstone of Bills teams that made four consecutive Super Bowl appearances and lost them all in the early 1990s.
He helped revolutionize the slot receiver position by playing in the so-called “K-Gun” no-huddle offense. Reed’s 13,198 yards receiving ranked fourth when he retired following the 2000 season.
He was introduced by former Bills coach, Hall of Famer Marv Levy.
CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Defensive end Michael Strahan has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall ofFame.
Strahan was one of the game’s most dominant pass-rushers during 15 seasons with the New York Giants. He was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2001.
Strahan had 22 1/2 sacks in 2001 to set the NFL single-season record. His 141 1/2 career sacks rank fifth on the NFL list.
He retired following the 2007 season, after helping the Giants win the Super Bowl.
Strahan closed the induction ceremony by being introduced by TV broadcaster Jay Glazer.
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