This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

SPORTS Sanders, Sharpe, Faulk, Dent enter Hall of Fame Prime Time comes to Canton

by Barry Wilner AP Pro Football Writer

CANTON, Ohio (AP)—

Prime Time has come to Canton—with an extra touch of gold. And a black do-rag. Deion Sanders strutted

into the Pro FootballHall of Fame on Saturday night sporting a pair of gold shoes to go with the gold jacket emblematic of the special company he has become a

“If your dreams ain’t bigger than you, there’s a problem with your dream.”


part of. At the end of his riveting

acceptance speech, he placed his ubiquitous do- rag on his hall bust. Neon Deion indeed. “This game,” Sanders re-

peated dozens of times, “this game taught me how to be a man. This game taught me if I get knocked down, I got to get my butt back up. “I always had a rule in life

that Iwould never love any- thing that couldn’t love me back. It taught me how to be a man, how to get up, how to live in pain. Taught me so much about people, timing, focus, dedication, submitting oneself, sacrific- ing. “If your dreamain’t bigger

than you, there's a problem with your dream.” Sanders joined Marshall

Faulk in entering the hall in their first year of eligibil- ity. Shannon Sharpe, Richard Dent, Chris Han- burger, Les Richter and Ed Sabol also were enshrined before an enthusiastic crowd of 13,300—much lower than the usual turnout. With Sunday's Hall of Fame game a victim of the 4½-month NFL lock- out, Fawcett Stadium was half full. Not that Sanders needs a

big audience. The dynamic cornerback

and kick returner ran off a list of people who influ- enced him as smoothly as he ran past opponents, whether running back kicks or interceptions—or even catching passes when he appeared as a wide re- ceiver, or dashing around the bases in the major leagues, including one World Series appearance. He spoke of promising his

mother she could stop working in a hospital when he became a success, and of how he created the Prime Time image at Florida

“When people told me I’d never make it, I listened to the one person who said I could: me.”


State—then turned it into a persona. A Hall of Fame persona. “What separates us is that

we expect to be great,” he said. “I expect to be great, I expect to do what had to be done. I expect to make change.” Just as Sharpe expected

to change his life as a kid who went to college with two brown grocery bags filled with his belongings. When Sharpe headed to

Savannah State, all he heard was how he was des- tined to fail. “When people told me I’d

never make it, I listened to the one person who said I could:me,” Sharpe said. Failure? Sharpe went

from a seventh-round draft pick to the most prolific tight end of his time. He won two Super Bowls with Denver and one with Balti- more, and at the time of his retirement in 2003, his 815 career receptions, 10,060 yards and 62 TDs were all NFL records for a tight end. Three times he went over

1,000 yards receiving in a season—almost unheard of for that position. In a 1993 playoff game, Sharpe had 13 catches against Oak- land, tying a record. Sharpe patted his bust on

the head Saturday before saying, “All these years later, it makes me proud when people call me a self- made man.” In a captivating accep-

tance speech, Sharpe pas- sionately made a pitch to get his brother, Sterling, who played seven years with the Packers, consid- ered for election to the shrine. Sterling, who intro- duced his younger brother for induction, wept as Shannon praised him. “I am the only player who

has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and am the second-best player in my family,” Sharpe said. “I am so honored. You

don’t know what this means for me. This is the fraternity of all fraterni- ties." Faulk was the running

back of running backs for much of his 12-season ca- reer. As versatile and danger-

ous a backfield threat as the NFL has seen, Faulk

“When you have dreams, it is very tough to say you can do everything by yourself. It’s all about other people.”


was voted the NFL's top of- fensive player in 1999, 2000 and 2001, and was the NFL's MVP in 2000. He was the league’s scoring leader in 2000 and '01, made seven Pro Bowls, and was the first player to gain 2,000 yards from scrim- mage in four consecutive years. The second overall draft

pick in 1994, when Faulk was offensive rookie of the year, he played five seasons in Indianapolis, then his final seven for St. Louis, helping the Rams to their only Super Bowl victory in 1999. Through tears,Faulk said,

“Boy this is pretty special. ... I am glad to be a part of it. This is football heaven. “I am a football fan just

like all of you,” Faulk told the crowd. “I have always, always been a fan and had an abiding passion and love and respect for this game of football, even when I was a kid selling popcorn in the Superdome because I couldn't afford a ticket. “It’s tough going from the

projects to the penthouse.” Dent was a dynamic pass

rusher on one of the NFL's greatest defenses, the 1985 NFL champions. He was the MVP of that Super Bowl and finished with 137½ career sacks, third all-time when he left the sport. He epitomized the Mon-

sters of the Midway: fast, fierce and intimidating. “Richardwas like a guided

missile,” Joe Gilliam,Dent’s college coach, said during his introduction. “You must dream and you

must be dedicated to some- thing in your life,” added Dent,who asked everyone in

“It’s tough going from the projects to the penthouse.”


the audience to rise in ap- plause for the legendary Gilliam, then thanked dozens of people, including many fromthe ’85Bearswho alsowere in the stadium.He saved his highest praise for the lateWalter Payton. "When you have dreams,

it is very tough to say you can do everything by your- self," Dent said. "It's all about other people."

AUGUST 10-16, 2011 C5

NEON DEION—Deion Sanders poses with a bust of himself during the induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Aug. 6, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

PROLIFIC PASS CATCHER—Shannon Sharpe poses with a bust of himself during his induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 6. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

DYNAMIC PASS RUSHER—Richard Dent waves to the crowd after receiving his gold jacket from Joe Gilliam. Gilliam is a former Ten- nessee State coach. (AP Photo/The Repository, Scott Heckel)

VERSATILE AND DANGEROUS—Marshall Faulk is introduced at the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame, Aug. 6, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54