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News » nfl: hall of fame selection day


nfl: hall of fame selection day


nfl: hall of fame selection day
TAMPA, FLA. - Of the more than 20,000 men who have been a part of the NFL during its 89-year existence, only 253 have gotten the phone call Randall McDaniel received while trying to relax in his living room in Shorewood on Saturday afternoon.


"I tried to pretend is was just another Saturday, but, yeah, my mind was on the vote," the former Vikings left guard said during a news conference at Winter Park. "I went to get my hair cut. I came back home and tried not to think about it, but ..."

He definitely thought about it. Then the phone rang.

"I was in a little bit of shock about it," McDaniel said. "For whatever reason, I never thought it would happen."

As humble and unassuming off the field as he was dominant on the field, McDaniel did not travel to the Super Bowl site, as some prospective Hall of Famers do so they can attend the news conference and enjoy the late-night hoopla that follows the selection.

Hoopla and self-promotion do not go hand-in-hand with the 44-year-old McDaniel, who now teaches second-grade special education in the Westonka Public School district.

"I work in the schools, so there was no way I could leave (and go to Tampa)," McDaniel said. "Friday was the end of the school week."

Joining McDaniel in the Class of 2009 is 90-year-old Ralph Wilson Jr., founder of the Buffalo Bills and co-founder of the American Football League; Rod Woodson, a defensive back for the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens and Oakland Raiders; Bruce Smith, a defensive end for the Bills and Washington Redskins; Derrick Thomas, the late outside linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs; and the late Dallas Cowboys receiver Bob Hayes, a Seniors Committee nominee who made it in his 29th year of eligibility.

Former Vikings Cris Carter and John Randle made the first cut from 15 to 10 modern-era finalists. They did not survive the cut from 10 to five. Carter, who was in his second year of eligibility, retired with the second most receptions (1,101) and receiving touchdowns (130) in NFL history. Randle, who was in his first year of eligibility, has more sacks (137 1/2) than any other defensive tackle in NFL history.

Because they made the final 10 modern-era finalists, it's likely they will be selected eventually.

This year's field was especially tough. Shannon Sharpe also didn't make the second cut, and he had more catches, receiving yards and receiving TDs than any other tight end in NFL history.

Missing the cut from 15 to 10 modern-era candidates were former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue; Bills receiver Andre Reed; Bob Kuechenberg, a Dolphins guard who was in his final year of eligibility as a modern-era player; Steelers center Dermontti Dawson; and Cortez Kennedy, the Seahawks defensive tackle who once won NFL Defensive Player of the Year on a 2-14 team.

Besides Carter, Randle and Sharpe, those eliminated in the cut from 10 to five were Chicago Bears defensive end Richard Dent and Redskins guard Russ Grimm. Claude Humphrey, a defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles, was the other Seniors Committee finalist. He did not receive the 35 votes needed from the 44-member committee.

Although McDaniel preferred to share the credit with all the coaches and fellow linemen he played with in Minnesota (1988 to 2000) and Tampa Bay (2000-01), Smith, the NFL's all-time sack leader, was more than willing to describe McDaniel's dominance. "I cannot remember facing another guard that possessed the ability, the tenaciousness, the strength; he was just incredible," Smith said. "Once he locked on to you, you weren't going anywhere."

McDaniel made the NFL's All-Decade team for the 1990s. He was first-team All-Pro nine consecutive years (1990-98) and a Pro Bowl starter for 12 consecutive years (1989 to 2000).

And now, he's also a Hall of Famer. Make that a low-key Hall of Famer whose friends needled him Saturday night because his "big celebration" was ordering takeout from Davanni's.

"My wife (Marianne) got the pizza," McDaniel said. "I had a salad. I couldn't eat pizza. My stomach is still jumping around."

THE RANDALL McDANIEL FILE

Age: 44 (born Dec. 19, 1964, in Phoenix).

Position: Left guard.

Height, weight: 6-3, 287 pounds.

Drafted: Vikings' first-round pick (19th overall) out of Arizona State in 1988.

Career: 14 seasons, 12 with the Vikings (1988-99) and two with Tampa Bay (2000-01).

Career highlights: Set NFL record by starting in 12 consecutive Pro Bowls (1989-2000). Started 202 consecutive games in his career. Blocked for five 1,000-yard rushing seasons with the Vikings (Terry Allen 1992 and `94, Robert Smith 1997-99) and four 3,000-yard passing seasons (Warren Moon 1994 and `95, Brad Johnson `97, Randall Cunningham `98). Was named to Pro Football Hall of Fame's 1990s Team of the Decade. His 190 games played with the Vikings is tied for seventh in team history.

Did you know? The Vikings on occasion lined McDaniel as a blocking fullback in goal-line situations, but his only two career carries came when he was used as a single back in the second half of a 41-17 home blowout of Arizona in December 1996; his first was for 1 yard, the second was for no gain at the Cardinals 1-yard line. In his third game with the Buccaneers in 2000, McDaniel caught his lone career reception, a 2-yard touchdown pass from Shaun King in a 31-10 victory at Detroit. ... After McDaniel, the Vikings didn't have another first-round pick until RB Robert Smith in 1993, with the pick in 1989 going to Pittsburgh for LB Mike Merriweather and the picks in 1990, `91 and `92 going to Dallas for RB Herschel Walker. ... The current iron man streak for consecutive games started by a guard is 112, a tie between Houston's Chester Pitts and the New York Jets' Alan Faneca.

Other Vikings Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinees: DE Carl Eller (2004); administrator Jim Finks (1995); coach Bud Grant (1994); S Paul Krause (1998); DT Alan Page (1988); QB Frank Tarkenton (1986); T Ron Yary (2001); T Gary Zimmerman (2008).

2009 HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES

BOB HAYES

Wide receiver, 1965-75

A Senior Committee choice, the 1964 Olympic 100-meter gold medalist became an NFL star with Dallas and was elected 28 years after first becoming eligible, following off-the-field problems. He died in 2002 at age 59, but his sister, Lucille Hester, read a statement he left for this day: "Just thank everyone in the whole world. I love you all."

BRUCE SMITH

Defensive end, 1985-2003

The longtime Buffalo star, part of four consecutive AFC champions, retired with 200 sacks and made two all-decade teams. He had the most seasons with double-digit sacks (13) and the most postseason sacks (14 1/2) and was NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1990 and 1996. Was elected in first year of eligibility.

DERRICK THOMAS

Linebacker, 1989-99

Played his entire career with Kansas City, which drafted him No. 4 overall, and helped make the Chiefs into a winner. He was on the 1990s all-decade team and was the 1989 Defensive Rookie of the Year. He is 11th in career sacks with 126 1/2. Died in February 2000, 15 days after an SUV accident, at age 33.

RALPH WILSON

Owner, 1959-present

The Buffalo Bills' only owner since they were a charter member of the AFL in 1960, he has steadfastly refused to move the team despite financial pressure as one of the league's small-market owners. At 90, he will be the oldest person ever inducted.

ROD WOODSON

Cornerback, 1987-2003

The 1993 NFL Defensive Player of the Year with Pittsburgh, he made the 1990s all-decade team. He led the NFL in interceptions in 1999 and 2002 with Baltimore, and finished with 71 career interceptions (third all-time), returning 12 for TDs (an NFL record). Like Smith, was elected in first year of eligibility.

WHO DIDN'T MAKE IT?

- Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, right, was denied entry for the third year in a row, not even making it past the first round of cuts. Tagliabue, who retired in 2006 after 17 years in the job, has met strong resistance in his three years of eligibility.

- Besides Randall McDaniel, two other Vikings were among the 15 modern-era players up for consideration: receiver Cris Carter, in his second year of eligibility, and defensive lineman John Randle, in his first. Both will have to wait another year.

- Former Falcons and Eagles defensive end Claude Humphrey was the only candidate among the seven finalists who didn't get in.

- Smith hoped he would be inducted alongside Wilson and former Bills receiver Andre Reed, but he got only half his wish.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 3, 2009

L.J. Smith Name: L.J. Smith
#82
Position: TE
Age: 28
Experience: 6 years
College: Rutgers
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