“The Hall of Fame Walk”
They come from all different walks of life, and this weekend they will jointly walk to the podium for the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speeches in Canton.
Who could have imagined some of them would wind up here. It was because of opportunity and talent, and luck, and health too.
LaDainian Tomlinson will go into the Hall as a San Diego Chargers. He walked, ran, powered his way to Canton with an enormous work ethic. The mighty mite of a running back out of TCU heads in with (13,684Y) rushing and 145-TDs. Add in 642-receptions for another (4,772) and you can tack on 7-TD passes on half back options.
He was a spectacular leader and teammate. It was his work ethic, coupled with the arrival of Marty Schottenheimer’s offense (Martyball) that helped make LT so special.
San Diego should put aside for one afternoon, the hurt and hate directed at anyone named Spanos, to remember the Sunday’s of joy our community shared with Tomlinson’s talent.
Deserved too is the self made quarterback Kurt Warner. How do you explain an undrafted passer from Division 1AA-Northern Iowa? The tenure in the Arena League with the Iowa Barnstormers. Life in NFL Europe. And then the arrival with the Rams.
When he was done , he had thrown for over 32,000-yards and 208-TDs in career that began with him stocking shelves at a Hyvee supermarket, waiting for a chance to go play semi pro ball.
Jason Taylor did not come from a football factory. If you ever saw the Rubber Bowl at the University of Akron, you would now know how hard he worked to become how great he was with 99-quarterback sacks with the Dolphins.
Kenny Easley was everything to the Seattle Seahawks in the secondary. Big hitter, big on turnovers, big on leadership. 32-interceptions later he will speak at the podium.
So will Morten Anderson, who came from Denmark, to kick an amazing (565) field goals in Atlanta and New Orleans.
Adversity is the word that describes Terrell Davis, what he went thru, what he became with the Denver Broncos. He crossed the finish line with 4-phenominal seasons, before knee injuries shortened that career. But he piled upper (7,600) yards in that short span. Not bad for a nose-tackle in high school, whose college program, Long Beach State, folded, taking him to Georgia.
Again opportunity opened the door to so many things in his life.
Jerry Jones, the old Arkansas Razorback, made his money in gas and oil drilling, but made his fame as the big business owner in Big D, leading the Cowboys to success on the field and at the box office. He probably made it to the Hall on his business acumen, not just because of his franchise success.
This is indeed a unique class, where success came for opportunities that led to amazing individual accomplishments.
They all ‘earned it’. Nothing given to them ever, except this weekend where NFL fans will cheer from the heart for what each of these accomplished.