2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame Recap: Michael Strahan, Andre Reed Lead Class
Seven skilled football players — most of whom never played “skill” positions during their distinguished NFL careers — were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio on Saturday night.
When the loud cheering from the thousands of fans, family members and former teammates gathered at Fawcett Stadium stopped, Michael Strahan, Andre Reed, Derrick Brooks, Ray Guy, Claude Humphrey, Aeneas Williams and Walter Jones had been enshrined among the gridiron’s greatest players.
Former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Reed and former New York Giants defensive end-turned-talk show host Strahan delivered the most memorable speeches, but each of the newly inducted members of pro football’s most elite group spoke about their unique path to Canton.
Reed thanked many of his former teammates, but his personal message to Jim Kelly, the Hall of Fame Bills quarterback who has spent more than a year fighting cancer, garnered the most attention and emotion on this special night. Reed and Kelly, who combined for a then-record 663 completions in Buffalo, shared another completed pass on the stage.
Strahan wrapped up the night’s speeches by thanking his teammates and acknowledging others who helped him attain football’s greatest individual honor.
A seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver who played for the Bills and Washington Redskins during his career from 1985 to 2000, Andre Reed was a key part of the Buffalo teams that won four consecutive AFC titles.
A seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end, Michael Strahan anchored the New York Giants defense from 1993 to 2007, including two Super Bowl appearances.
The first punter ever to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, Ray Guy revolutionized the kicking game in the NFL and gave the Raiders franchise the advantage in the battle for field position from 1973 to 1986. See a clip of his speech.
An 11-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1995 to 2008, Derrick Brooks was among the best in the game at his position for more than a dozen years, winning NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2002. See a clip of his speech.
As a defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles from 1968 to 1981, Claude Humphrey recorded 122 career sacks and made six Pro Bowl appearances. See a clip of his speech.
A shutdown defensive back who played for the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams during his career from 1991 to 2004, Aeneas Williams was selected to eight Pro Bowls. See a clip of his speech.
An unsung superstar of the offensive line, Walter Jones was a nine-time Pro Bowl tackle who spent his 12-year career with the Seattle Seahawks from 1997 to 2008. See a clip of his speech.