Class of 2012 Finalists: Capsule Bios

01/07/2012


<<< Main story: Class of 2012 finalists named 



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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.

JACK BUTLER
Cornerback … 6-1, 200 … St. Bonaventure … 1951-59 Pittsburgh Steelers
Nine seasons, 103 games … Undrafted free agent … Established himself as one of game’s most effective cornerbacks … Ranked as NFL’s second all-time leading interceptor when he retired following 1959 season ... Known as a great tackler, showed knack for finding football in rookie campaign when he registered five interceptions … Following season led all Steelers with seven interceptions … Had nine interceptions a season later (1953) including record-tying four interceptions in game vs. Redskins … Following season added four more interceptions, two he returned for touchdowns, an NFL record at time … Despite 25 interceptions in first four seasons, accolades eluded Butler … Oddly, first of four Pro Bowl nods came following 1955 season, only year he failed to intercept a pass … In sixth season (1956), selected as second-team All-NFL choice … In 1957 picked off career-best 10 passes tying league lead and was named first-team All-NFL …  Had nine interceptions in 1958 and two interceptions in 1959 and was voted first-team All-NFL in each of those seasons … Suffered career-ending leg injury late in 1959 season … Career totals include: 52 interceptions for 827 yards, and four pick-sixes … Also had four touchdown receptions and returned one fumble for a score ... Was named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1950s … Born November 12, 1927 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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.

EDWARD DeBARTOLO, JR.
Owner … Notre Dame … 1977-2000 San Francisco 49ers
Purchased 49ers in 1977 with vision to create top-notch organization, on and off field … Known as a "players’ owner,” led franchise to unprecedented winning during tenure …  In 1979, hired Bill Walsh as team’s head coach, drafted quarterback Joe Montana, and created atmosphere conducive to winning … Fortunes of franchise changed soon thereafter … In 1981, 49ers finished 13-3 to claim NFC Western Division title and won hard fought playoff battles with New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys and capped the year with a thrilling 26-21 victory over Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI … DeBartolo infused team roster with talent that resulted in San Francisco enjoying amazing string of winning seasons … Team averaged 13 wins per season, including playoffs, during a span from 1981 to 1998 (not including strike-shortened 1982 season). During DeBartolo’s ownership team claimed 13 division titles, made 16 playoff appearances, advanced to NFC championship game 10 times, and was first franchise ever to win five Super Bowls (XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV, XXIX) …  Franchise posted the best winning percentage in NFL in both the decades of the 1980s and 1990s …  Was named NFL Man of the Year by Football News, 1989 as the nation’s top sports executive … DeBartolo was also highly respected inside NFL circles and served on league’s realignment and expansion committees … Born November 6, 1946 in Youngstown, Ohio.

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.

KEVIN GREENE
Linebacker/Defensive End … 6-3, 247 … Auburn… 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers
15 seasons, 228 games … Selected by Rams in 5th round (113th player overall) in 1985 draft ... Played primarily on special teams as rookie, only season he didn’t register a sack  … Did not have any starts in second season, but played in all 16 games and managed seven sacks … Added 6.5 sacks in 1987 and by fourth season was bona fide pass rusher for Rams, registering career-high 16.5 sacks, including career-best 4.5 sacks in win over 49ers in season finale that clinched playoff spot for Rams … Following year matched his 16.5 sacks total … Had double-digit sack totals ten times, second in record book at the time … Only time missed recording 10 sacks in any of last eight seasons was 1995 when he had team-leading nine sacks for Steelers … Named to Pro Bowl five times (once with the Rams, twice with Steelers and Panthers) … Selected first-team All-Pro, 1989 with Rams, 1994 with Pittsburgh and 1996 with Carolina … Captured league sack title twice, 1994 and 1996 … A member of NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1990s … Played in six conference championship games and one Super Bowl … Led team in sacks 11 times and amassed 160 total sacks, third all-time at time of retirement … Also had three safeties, 26 opponent fumble recoveries, and five interceptions … Born July 31, 1962 in New York, New York.

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.

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 with 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 56 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.

BILL PARCELLS
Coach … Colgate, Wichita State … 1983-1990 New York Giants, 1993-1996 New England Patriots, 1997-99 New York Jets, 2003-06 Dallas Cowboys
19 seasons, 303 games … Regular season record: 172-130-1 … Postseason record: 11-8 … Overall record: 183-138-1 … Parcells reversed the fortunes of four NFL teams … After a 3-12-1 season (1983), he took Giants to playoffs twice as Wild Card … In 1986 led Giants to 14-2 record and defeated Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI … Led Giants to NFC Eastern Division title in 1989 … In 1990 won second world championship with dramatic victory over Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV … Left coaching for two years, returning in 1993 with New England Patriots … Within two years led Patriots to playoffs after seven-year absence … Two years later, 11-5 Patriots were AFC representative in Super Bowl XXXI … In 1997 took over 1-15 New York Jets and led them to 9-7 record in 1997, 12-4 record and AFC championship game in 1998 for the best two-year turnaround of a 1-15 team in NFL history … Coached Dallas Cowboys from 2003 until 2006 … Became first coach to coach four different teams into the playoffs when his 10-6 Cowboys played in the 2003 Wild Card Game … NFL Coach of the Year 1986, 1994 … Born August 22, 1941 in Englewood, New Jersey.

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 was exceeded only by Jerry Rice at time of Reed’s retirement … 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.

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.

WILL SHIELDS
Guard … 6-3, 320 … Nebraska … 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs
14 seasons, 224 games … Selected by Chiefs in 3rd round (74th player overall) of 1993 draft … Placed into lineup in first NFL game after starting left guard suffered injury … Next week was inserted as starting right guard … Started every game from that point through retirement … Never missed a game during 14-season career, 224 games played, 223 starts are franchise records … As rookie helped Chiefs to an 11-5-0 mark and AFC Western Division crown, first division title for team since 1971 … Chiefs won four division titles and made six playoff appearances during Shields’ career … Earned 12 straight Pro Bowl berths … Named first-team All-Pro in 1999, 2002, and 2003, picked as second-team All-Pro four times … Was All-AFC seven times including each of final six seasons … Chiefs led NFL in total yards gained in 2004 and 2005 and topped AFC in that category in 2003 … Led NFL in points scored in 2002 and 2003 highlighted by running back Priest Holmes’ then-record 27 rushing touchdowns in ’03 … In 1994, Chiefs offensive line established a franchise record allowing a mere 19 sacks … A member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s … Joined Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Thomas in 1999 as only active players named to Chiefs’ 40th Anniversary Team … Born September 15, 1971 in Fort Riley, Kansas.

DICK STANFEL

Guard … 6-3, 236 … San Francisco … 1952-55 Detroit Lions, 1956-58 Washington Redskins
Seven seasons, 73 games … Selected by Detroit in 2nd round (19th player overall) of 1951 draft … Anchor of dominant Lions team of that era … Suffered knee injury while preparing to play in the College All-Star game before joining the Lions … Injury sidelined him for entire 1951 season … Took the field following year, quickly established himself as team leader … Lions advanced to the NFL championship game in first three seasons Stanfel played … Won back-to-back world titles 1952-53 … Teammates recognized his outstanding play, naming him team’s Most Valuable Player in 1953 championship season … An honor rarely bestowed to an offensive lineman … After four seasons in Detroit, was traded to Washington Redskins as part of blockbuster four-team deal … In Washington, was reunited with college coach and mentor Joe Kuharich … Played three seasons in Washington and continued to be regarded among NFL’s elite players … While still at the top of game, retired at age 31 to pursue coaching career … Followed Kuharich to Notre Dame as an assistant coach before embarking on lengthy NFL coaching career … Earned first-team All-Pro honors in five of seven seasons including all three years with the Redskins … Voted to four Pro Bowls … Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1950s … Born July 20, 1927 in San Francisco, California.

AENEAS WILLIAMS
Cornerback/Safety … 5-11, 194 … Southern University … 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams
14 seasons, 211 games … Selected in the 3rd round (59th player overall) of 1991 NFL Draft … One of finest defensive backs ever … Starred at cornerback for first 12 years of career before moving to safety … Earned Pro Bowl nods at both positions, seven times at cornerback and once as safety … Had first career pick and four deflected passes in NFL debut … Finished year tied for most interceptions in NFC with six, also recorded 17 passes defensed, 48 tackles … Named NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year by NFL Players Association … Earned Pro Bowl nod and All-NFC acclaim for first time in 1994 when he added another conference interception title with career-high nine interceptions … Named first-team All-NFC 1995, 1996, 1997, and 2001 … Selected to NFL’s All-Decade Team 1990s … Recorded interception in every season but last and had five or more picks in a season six times … Led Cardinals in interceptions seven times and Rams leading interceptor in 2003 … In all, registered 55 interceptions for 807 yards … His nine pick-sixes tied him for second all-time at time of retirement … Shared NFL record for longest fumble return in upset victory over Redskins 11/5/00, 104 yards for a TD … Recorded interception in record four straight postseason games during span from 1998 to 2001 … Started at left cornerback for St. Louis in 2001 NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl XXXVI … Born January 29, 1968 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

 


Recent Comments
  • herman kaufman - February 05 2012 08:47 AM

    While Butler and Stanfel are clearly deserving [Why did it take so long?], have the writers ever heard of Bob Gain, Billy Wilson, Joe Fortunato, or Jim Ray Smith? do the voters even know of the existence of these HOF players?

    Report Violation

  • itemsold1 - February 04 2012 05:27 PM

    Absurd that Haley and Bettis weren't named.

    Report Violation

  • Mombo - February 04 2012 11:55 AM

    Still no Art Modell? THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Report Violation

  • Thomas Stokes - January 30 2012 12:05 PM

    Still no Drew Pearson? Really? WOW man how to you guys pick em???????

    reported

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