Class of 2011 Finalists: Capsule Bios

01/09/2011

JEROME BETTIS
Running Back … 5-11, 243 … Notre Dame … 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
13 seasons, 192 games … Selected by Rams in 1st round (10th player overall) of 1993 draft … Earned Rookie of Year honors ... Finished rookie season with seventh best rookie rushing total in league history... As rookie finished second in rushing yards and third in total yards from scrimmage ... First Rams rookie to rush for 1,000 yards since Eric Dickerson, 1983 … Rams leading rusher 1993-95 … Steelers leading rusher 1996-2001, 2003-04 … Steelers leader in total yards from scrimmage, 1996-2001 … His fifty 100-plus yard games ranks 1st in Steelers history … At time of retirement, his eight 1,000-plus yard seasons was tied for third-best in NFL history … His 13,662 ranks fifth all-time in career rushing yards … Ranked 19th all-time in combined net yards at time of retirement … Voted to Pro Bowl six times: 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2005 … Named All-Pro in 1993 (AP, PFWA), 1996 (AP); All-Pro second-team 1997 (AP); All-NFC 1993 (UPI, PW); All-AFC 1996 (UPI, PW), 1997 (PW) … Born February 16, 1972 in Detroit, Michigan.

TIM BROWN
Wide Receiver/Kick Returner … 6-0, 195 … Notre Dame … 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
17 seasons, 255 games … Heisman Trophy Winner … Selected by Raiders in 1st round (6th player overall) of 1988 draft … As rookie led NFL in kickoff returns, return yards, and yards per return average  …  Led NFL in receptions, 1997 … Set Raiders franchise records for receptions, receiving yards, and punt return yards … At time of retirement his 14,934 receiving yards were second-highest total in NFL history; 1,094 receptions were 3rd; and 100 touchdown catches were tied for 3rd … Also gained 190 rushing yards; 3,320 punt return yards, 3 fumble return yards; 1,235 kickoff return yards … Total of 19,682 combined net yards, 5th all-time at time of retirement … Scored 105 total touchdowns (100 receiving, 1 rushing, 3 punt returns, 1 kickoff return) … Voted to Pro Bowl nine times, 1989 and 1992 as kick returner, 1994-98, 2000 and 2002 as a receiver … All-Pro choice as a kick returner, 1988 … All-Pro wide receiver, 1997 … Was named All-AFC as a kick returner, 1988, punt returner, 1991, and wide receiver, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997 … Born July 22, 1966 in Dallas, Texas.

CRIS CARTER
Wide Receiver … 6-3, 202 … Ohio State … 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
16 seasons, 234 games … Selected by Philadelphia in the fourth round of the 1987 Supplemental Draft … First reception as a pro was a 22-yard touchdown catch … Durable; he played a full 16-game season in 13 of his 16 seasons … In 2000, became only the second player in NFL history to catch 1,000 career passes … Recorded 1,000 receiving yards in a season eight straight years … Broke the 100-yard receiving plateau 42 times during his career … Ranked second on the NFL's all-time list for total receptions (1,101) and receiving touchdowns (130) at retirement … His 130 TD receptions came from 13 different passers … Caught 70-plus passes in 10 seasons … His 122 receptions in 1994 was a then-NFL single-season-record … Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s and received the 1999 NFL Man of the Year Award … In 2002, returned to the field when he joined the Miami Dolphins in midseason when injuries decimated team’s receiving corps … Was first- or second-team All-Pro 1994, 1995, and 1999 … Selected to play in eight Pro Bowls (1994-2001) … Born November 25, 1965, in Troy, Ohio.

DERMONTTI DAWSON
Center … 6-2, 288 … Kentucky … 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
13 playing seasons, 184 games … Steelers’ second-round draft pick (44th player overall), 1988 NFL Draft … Second-team All-SEC at Kentucky … Started five of eight games played as a rookie at right guard … Missed eight weeks at midseason with knee injury … Became starting center in 1989 replacing future Hall of Famer Mike Webster … Doubled as team’s long snapper, 1988-1993 … Named Co-AFC Offensive Lineman of the Year (with Richmond Webb) by NFL Players Association, 1993 … Selected as NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year, 1996 … Played in 170 consecutive games before streak ended in 1999 due to hamstring injury … His exceptional speed and strength enabled him to do things not typical of a center … Named first-team All-Pro six consecutive years (1993-98) … Selected to play in seven consecutive Pro Bowls (1993-99) … Anchor on offensive line that led Steelers to five AFC Central Division championships and one AFC championship … Born June 17, 1965 in Lexington, Kentucky.

RICHARD DENT
Defensive End … 6-5, 265 … Tennessee State … 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
15 seasons, 203 games … Selected by Chicago in eighth round (203rd player overall) of 1983 NFL Draft … Played in every game as rookie … Became full-time starter early in 1984, beginning a 10-year period in which he recorded 10 or more sacks in eight of 10 seasons … An intimidating player, could speed rush or power rush the quarterback … Twice, once in 1984 and again in 1987, recorded 4.5 sacks in a game, both vs. Raiders … One of game’s premier pass rushers with 137.5 career sacks, which at time of retirement third all-time best … Led NFC with team record 17.5 sacks, 1984 … Following year, led NFL with 17 sacks as an integral part of Bears dominating defense … His three tackles, 1.5 sacks, one pass defensed and two forced fumbles earned him Super Bowl XX MVP honors following Bears lopsided 46-10 win over Patriots … Career statistics include eight interceptions (one touchdown), a safety, and fumble recovery for a touchdown … Named first- or second-team All-Pro four times, All-NFC five times … Selected to play in four Pro Bowls (1985, 1986, 1991, 1994) … Born December 13, 1960 in Atlanta, Georgia.  

CHRIS DOLEMAN
Defensive End/Linebacker … 6-5, 270 … Pittsburgh … 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers
15 playing seasons … 232 games … Selected by Vikings in 1st round (4th player overall) in 1985 draft … Drafted as linebacker, moved to starting defensive end position final three games of second season … Tallied team-high 11 sacks in 1987… First of six sack titles with Vikings … Named All-NFL, All-NFC and voted to first Pro Bowl in 1987 ... Finest season came in 1989, led NFL with 21 sacks, one shy of single-season record at time … In 1992, named NFC’s Defensive Player of the Year when he recorded 14.5 sacks and 64 tackles, returned interception for touchdown, forced six fumbles, recovered three fumbles, and had safety … Spent two seasons with Atlanta (1994-95) three with the San Francisco (1996-98) … Returned to Vikings  for final season, 1999 … His 150.5 sacks was NFL’s fourth best at time of retirement … Tied for third in the NFL Record Book with eight seasons 10 or more sacks … Also intercepted eight passes returning two for touchdowns; recorded two safeties; and scored touchdown on a fumble recovery during career … Named to eight Pro Bowls; first-team All-Pro in 1987, 1989, 1992 and first-team All-NFC four times … A member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1990s … Born October 16, 1961 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

MARSHALL FAULK
Running Back … 5-10, 208 … San Diego State … 1994-98 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams
12 playing seasons … 176 games … Selected by Colts 1st round (2nd player overall) in 1994 draft … Rushed for 143 yards, scored three touchdowns in rookie debut … Finished season with 1,282 rushing yards and AFC-leading 11 TDs … Also caught 52 passes for 522 yards and touchdown … Named Rookie of the Year … Rushed for 1,000 yards in seven of first eight seasons … In 1999 became second in NFL history to eclipse 1,000-yard mark in both rushing and receiving and set then-record for yards from scrimmage (2,429) and was named NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year for first of three straight times … Named NFL MVP in 2000 after setting single-season record for touchdowns (26) that included league-leading 18 rushing touchdowns … Was first of two straight seasons he led NFL in scoring and touchdowns … First-team All-Pro 1999, 2000, 2001 … Second-team All-Pro in 1994, 1995, 1998 … Voted to seven Pro Bowls… All-AFC twice and All-NFC three times in career … First player in NFL history to gain 2,000 yards from scrimmage in four straight seasons (1998-2001) … Retired as NFL’s ninth-ranked rusher (12,279 yards) … Recorded 767 receptions (16th all-time at retirement) for 6,875 yards, 36 touchdowns … His 19,154 yards from scrimmage was sixth all-time … Born February 26, 1973 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

CHARLES HALEY
Defensive End/Linebacker … 6-5, 242 … James Madison … 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
12 playing season, 169 games … Selected by 49ers in 4th round (96th player overall) in 1986 draft … Only player in NFL history to play on five winning Super Bowl teams (SBs XXIII, XXIV, XXVII, XXVIII, XXX) … Began career at linebacker and led 49ers in sacks in each of first six seasons … Recorded four double-digit sack totals with 49ers including 12 as rookie and career-high 16 in 1990 … Moved to defensive end after trade to Dallas … Added two more double-digit sack seasons, 1994, 1995 … Suffered serious back injury, limited to just five games, 1996 … Retired after undergoing surgery … After a two-year hiatus, signed with 49ers as backup defensive end for two playoff games in 1998 … In 1999 came back for final season, added three sacks to finish career with 100.5 … Twice named NFC Defensive Player of the Year (1990, 1994), voted to five Pro Bowls, named All-Pro twice, once as linebacker, once as defensive end … Played in six NFC championship games over seven seasons … Starting at left outside linebacker in 49ers 1988, 1989, 1990 championship games; at right defensive end in Cowboys’ 1992, 1993, 1994  conference championships … Member of 10 division championship teams during his 12 seasons … Born January 6, 1964 in Gladys, Virginia.

CHRIS HANBURGER
Linebacker … 6-2, 218 … North Carolina … 1965-1978 Washington Redskins
14 playing seasons, 187 games … Selected by the Redskins in 18th round (245th player overall) in 1965 NFL Draft … Made mark as a rookie as big-play maker … Was “defensive quarterback” and one of most dependable and steady linebackers of era … An integral part of dominant Redskins teams of the 1970s … Selected first-team All-NFL four times in five-season span (1972-76) … Named All-Eastern Conference, 1968 and 1969; All-NFC six times in seven seasons (1970-76) … Voted to nine Pro Bowls ... Outstanding play in 1972 helped lead the Redskins to first Super Bowl berth … Recorded numerous game-changing plays throughout season as team won NFC East with 11-3 mark … Shared team lead with career-high four interceptions … Strong play continued into postseason as the Redskins downed Green Bay 16-3 in divisional playoff before facing Dallas in 1972 NFC Championship Game … Recorded two tackles and six assists as Redskins routed Cowboys 26-3 … Added another strong game in Super Bowl appearance recording four solo tackles, assisting on two in 14-7 loss to Dolphins in Super Bowl VII … In all, Hanburger recovered three fumbles for touchdowns, an NFL record at time of retirement … Also recorded 19 career interceptions for 347 yards and 2 TDs … Born August 13, 1941 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

CORTEZ KENNEDY
Defensive Tackle … 6-3, 298 … Northwest Mississippi Community College; Miami (FL) … 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
11 playing seasons, 167 games … Seahawks 1st round draft pick (3rd player overall), 1990 NFL Draft … First Team All-America choice at Miami in 1989 … Extremely durable, played in 167 of possible 176 games … Injury ended streak of 116 straight games played and club record 100 consecutive games started … Named first-team All Rookie by PFWA … Voted to a team-record eight Pro Bowls (1992-97, 1999, 2000) … Named first-team (1992, 1993, 1994) or second-team (1991, 1996) All-Pro five times … Named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 while playing for a 2-14 team … That season led all interior linemen with 14 sacks and career best 92 tackles; had four forced fumbles; recovered fumble and batted down two passes … Recorded one of finest seasons in 1999 recording 73 tackles, 6.5 sacks, intercepting two passes, helping Seahawks reach playoffs for first time since 1988 … In all, registered 58 sacks, intercepted three passes and scored one touchdown on fumble recovery during career … He twice led the team in sacks (1992 and 1995) … Born August 23, 1968 in Osceola, Arkansas.

CURTIS MARTIN
Running Back … 5-11, 207 … Pittsburgh … 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets
11 playing seasons, 168 games … New England Patriots third round draft pick (74th player overall) of 1995 draft … Although missed most of senior season with ankle injury, showed no effects during rookie season … Ran 30 yards on first NFL carry, scored game-winning touchdown and became first Patriots player to rush for 100 yards in pro debut … Had rookie-record-tying nine 100-yard games … Finished year as AFC’s leading rusher; 1,487 yards, 14 touchdowns … Named Rookie of the Year, voted to first of five Pro Bowls … Joined Hall of Famer Barry Sanders as only runners ever to start careers with 10 straight 1,000-yard seasons … Led his team in rushing in each of his 11 seasons … Had finest year in 2004 … Rushed for career-high 1,697 yards winning his lone NFL rushing title … Also tied career-high nine games with 100-plus yards rushing … Suffered knee injury in final year snapping streak of 119 consecutive starts that kept him from reaching 1,000-yard mark for only time in career … First- or second-team All-Pro 1999, 2001, 2004 … Retired as NFL’s fourth all-time leading rusher; 14,101 yards on 3,518 carries, 90 rushing touchdowns ... Rushed for 100-plus yards 57 times ... Caught 484 passes for 3,329 yards and 10 touchdowns … His 17,421 combined net yards placed him 10th all-time … Born May 1, 1973 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

ANDRE REED
Wide Receiver … 6-2, 190 … Kutztown … 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
16 seasons, 234 games … Selected by Buffalo in fourth round (86th player overall) of 1985 NFL Draft … Most prolific receiver in Buffalo Bills history … His 941 career receptions still Bills record and 266 more than number two on that list … His 13,095 career reception yardage, 36 games with 100-plus receiving yards, and 15 catches in a game are current team records … Known for his “yards after catch” … His 951 career receptions were third all-time in NFL history at the time of his retirement … His 13 seasons, including nine consecutive, with 50-plus receptions is exceeded only by Jerry Rice … Reed is tied with Bills running back Thurman Thomas for team best career touchdowns (87), most on passes from Jim Kelly … Kelly-Reed tandem held NFL record for career receptions (663) until 2004 when eclipsed by Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison … Known for toughness as he made most of his receptions over the middle … A four-time All-AFC choice and three-time All-NFL second-team, was selected to play in seven consecutive Pro Bowls (1989-1995) … Added an additional 85 catches for 1,229 yards, including five 100-yard games in postseason play … Born January 29, 1964 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

LES RICHTER
Linebacker … 6-3, 238 … California …1954-1962 Los Angeles Rams
Nine playing seasons, 112 games … Selected by New York Yanks in first round (2nd player overall) of 1952 draft …Yanks folded two days after NFL Draft … Team assets, including signing rights to Richter, were granted to expansion Dallas Texans … Los Angeles Rams dealt 11 players to Texans to obtain Richter ... Rams waited two years while Richter served in military … Upon return signed with Rams and embarked on nine-season career that earned him reputation as one of the best linebackers of his era … Known for rugged, punishing style of play … Was selected to eight straight Pro Bowls, missing only final season in 1962 … Also named a first- or second-team All-NFL each season during a six-year span, 1955-1960 … Also saw some time at center and handled Rams placekicking duties early in career … Received much attention in 1955 for his play on defense as well as clutch placekicking that helped Rams to 8-3-1 record and NFL Western Division crown and berth in championship game … Led Rams in scoring, 1955 and 1956 … In all, totaled 193 points off of 29 field goals and 106 extra points during career … Recorded 16 career interceptions for 206 yards … Twice had four picks in a season (1957 and 1961) and was Rams leading interceptor in 1957 … Battled through various injuries but never missed game during 112-game career … Born October 6, 1930 in Fresno, California … Died June 12, 2010 at the age of 79.

WILLIE ROAF
Tackle … 6-5, 300 … Louisiana Tech … 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs
13 seasons, 189 games … Selected by New Orleans in 1st round (8th player overall) of 1993 draft … First offensive lineman selected … Started all 16 games at right tackle, did not miss offensive snap during first season earning All-Rookie honors ... Following year switched to left tackle and was voted to first of 11 Pro Bowls, named first-team All-Pro, All-NFC, and NFLPA’s NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year for first of two consecutive seasons ... Played nine seasons in New Orleans, starting 131 regular season games … Also started two playoff games including franchise’s first-ever postseason win, a 31-28 victory over defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams in 2000 NFC Wild Card Game … Knee injury shortened  2001 season to just seven games … Traded by the Saints to Chiefs in exchange for a third-round draft pick ... Rebounded from injury to regain form and earned All-Pro honors in three of four seasons with Chiefs … Was a key part of Kansas City’s offensive line that helped Chiefs lead NFL in points scored in 2002, 2003 ... Team also led AFC in total yards in 2003 and NFL in 2004, 2005 … Was named first-team All-Pro seven times (1994-96, 2000, 2003-05), All-NFC six times, and All-AFC three times … A member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s … Born April 18, 1970 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

ED SABOL
Founder/President/Chairman … Ohio State … 1964-1995 NFL Films
Man behind idea of NFL Films …Aspiring filmmaker, who at age 45 hatched idea of forming Blair Productions, a film company named after daughter … In 1962 contacted NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle with offer to double $1,500 bid for rights to film 1962 NFL Championship Game … Rozelle accepted and Sabol’s film company was off and rolling …  From start, incorporated unique creative angles inspired by his background in drama society at Ohio State and brief stint on Broadway … Rather than single camera located high in stadium, Sabol added sideline camera to catch intensity of players … Blair Productions continued to shoot NFL action for next two years before Sabol convinced NFL it needed own motion picture company … With that, NFL Films was born … Served as President until 1985 when he turned over role to son Steve … Senior Sabol continued to serve as Chairman through his retirement in 1995 … During tenure, NFL Films won 52 Emmy Awards … With Ed Sabol’s vision, NFL Films revolutionized manner in which sports are presented … Firsts in film include use of microphone on coaches, referees and players; use of reverse-angle replay; adding popular music to footage; and popular bloopers videos … Began producing weekly NFL highlight shows in the late 1960s, introduced first sports home video in 1980 … Born September 11, 1916 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

DEION SANDERS

Cornerback/Kick Returner/Punt Returner … 6-1, 195 … Florida State … 1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-99 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-05 Baltimore Ravens
14 seasons, 188 games … Selected by Atlanta in 1st round (5th player overall) of 1989 draft … Returned punt 68 yards for touchdown in NFL debut … Scored total of six touchdowns on punt returns, three TDs on kickoff returns, and returned nine interceptions for scores during career … Multi-faceted athlete returned one fumble for TD and had 60 receptions for 784 yards and 3 TDs … In all, recorded 53 career interceptions including five with Ravens when he returned to field after three-year retirement …  Member of NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1990s as both cornerback, punt returner … Led NFL in punt returns, 1998, with 15.6 average … Led NFC in kickoffs in 1992 and interceptions in 1991, 1993 … Was widely regarded as “shutdown corner” during career … Named first-team All-Pro nine times at cornerback in addition to receiving All-Pro as kick returner in 1992 and punt returner 1998 … Elected to eight Pro Bowls … Retired second all-time in interception return yardage (1,331), tied for second for most interceptions returned for touchdown in a career (9) and a season (3) … His 303 yards gained on interception returns in 1994, third best in NFL at retirement …. In 1994 became first player to have two 90-yard interception returns for touchdowns in same season … Named NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, 1994 … Born August 9, 1967 in Fort Myers, Florida.

SHANNON SHARPE
Tight End … 6-2, 230 … Savannah State … 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens
14 playing seasons, 204 games … Three-time All-America at Savannah State … Selected by Broncos in the seventh round (192nd player overall) of the 1990 NFL Draft … At time of retirement, his 815 career receptions and 10,060 yards and 62 TDs were all NFL career records for a tight end … His 214 receiving yards vs. Kansas City in 2002 is an NFL single-game record for a tight end … Tied NFL record with 13 receptions in single post-season game (vs. Raiders, 1993) … Three times during career amassed over 1,000 yards receiving … Earned first- or second-team All-Pro honors five times and first- or second-team All-AFC honors six times … Selected to play in eight Pro Bowls (1993-99, 2002) … In 1996 led all tight ends in receptions (80), receiving yards (1,062 yards), and receiving touchdowns (10) … Following season had career best 1,107 receiving yards for career best 15.4 yard average … An integral part of Broncos Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII and Ravens Super Bowl XXXV championships … Born June 26, 1968 in Chicago, Illinois.  



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Recent Comments
  • Brian - February 01 2011 03:22 AM

    It's always annoyed me when people use Haley's Super Bowl wins as a tribute to his "greatness" or "legacy". I have nothing against him but people always seem to forget that championships are team accomplishments, not individual accomplishments (which is also the most annoying aspect of the Manning/Brady debate). Haley was on great teams and was a big contributor to them, but he didn't win them himself and it should never be used as an argument for or against someone's greatness. A player on the right teams could have ten Super Bowl rings and have never even seen the field, that certainly doesn't make them anything more than lucky. On a completely different note, Andre Reed is way overdue. Should have been in at least three years ago!

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  • Leroy Gonzales - January 30 2011 08:25 AM

    hey Gary that was a slap in the face against haley. That man was a beast and has 5 super bowl rings.

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  • gary - January 21 2011 09:46 PM

    this is the only class i've ever viewed where ALL the finalists should be elected, except for Charles Haley. ALL of them were exceptional at what they did, except for Charles Haley. The Hall of Fame is reserved for GREATNESS; Charles Haley was merely a VERY GOOD player. Not intended as any type of "slap in the face" against Haley but the fact of the matter remains that he was a very good, but NOT GREAT player. End of discussion.

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