Six former players inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame
(CNN) — The Pro Football Hall of Fame is about to get a lot bigger.
The hall’s selection committee on Saturday — meeting in New Orleans, on the eve of Super Bowl XLVII — selected six former players and one coach to join the ranks as the NFL’s best. They were all bigger than life, literally and figuratively, in their heydays — from towering, 6-foot-9 inch Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden to the “Big Tuna,” the moniker given to legendary and well-traveled coach Bill Parcels.
“Surreal. Speechless,” Ogden said, on his Twitter page, moments after the announcement. “Still can’t believe it.”
Others members of what’s being called the Class of 2013 include Warren Sapp, who terrorized linemen like Ogden and quarterbacks in his 13 seasons with the Oakland Raiders and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Known for his colorful trash-talking and wide smile, the Florida native racked up 96.5 sacks over his career.
Two other defensive stars will be joining him in the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. One is another defensive tackle Curley Culp, who made six Pro Bowls during his 14 seasons between 1968 and 1981 with the Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Oilers and Detroit Lions. Going further back in NFL history is linebacker Dave Robinson, who amassed 27 interceptions in his career, much of it with Vince Lombardi’s great Green Bay Packer teams.
After narrowly missing out in recent years, wide receiver Cris Carter finally will make the trip to Canton — just 120 miles from where he first emerged at Ohio State University. In his 16 NFL campaigns, most of them with the Minnesota Vikings, he was consistently among the league’s top wideouts with eight straight seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards and 130 total touchdowns.
Just over five years ago, Larry Allen was a dominating presence with the San Francisco 49ers, with whom he played after 12 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Now the mammoth offensive lineman — measuring in at 6 feet, 3 inches and 325 pounds — has another honor to his name as a hall of famer, in addition to having been named to the NFL’s All-Decade teams for the 1990s and 2000s.
Parcells is this year’s other honoree, a man who never played in the NFL though he nonetheless became one of the league’s most recognizable names in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
A graduate of Wichita State University, he was drafted in the seventh round by the Detroit Lions but opted for a carer in coaching. He took stints at several universities before jumping to the NFL. He led the New York Giants to two Super Bowl titles, then took the New England Patriots to the title game in January 1997 (where they lost), before finishing up his career with stops with the New York Jets, Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.
The seven inductees were chosen Saturday from a list of 17 finalists by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s selection committee. They will be enshrined on August 3, in a ceremony expected to include 130 others who have been so honored over the past 50 years.
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