Excerpts from the press conference held shortly after the seven new members learned they had been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
- It’s great that someone like myself who comes from a humble background can get to the top of the mountain. I appreciate everything the NFL and pro football has given me.
- I started with the Patriots when we use to have to sit on milk crates (in the locker room) and had sheets hanging from the walls to look at game films. I had seven great years with Boston.
- As I go into Canton, I won’t be just representing Nick Buoniconti; I’ll be representing a “no-name defense” that had a lot of names on it.
- When I heard my name announced I was stunned. The names of thousands of people who I’ve known through my 47 years of coaching flashed across my mind. I can’t begin to thank them all. They made it possible for me to be standing here today joining the outstanding others that are going into the Hall of Fame.
- It’s nice to have something to celebrate on a Super Bowl weekend, for a change.
- Earlier I heard the words of Deacon Jones who said that from the Hall of Fame team, you can’t be cut, you can’t be traded, and you can’t quit. Did he say anything about being fired?
- I was on my way to my daughter’s basketball game when I turned on the TV to see who was elected and I was shocked to hear my name called.
- It’s an amazing honor that you can only dream about happening to you. Playing in the NFL is your first dream and getting a chance to make the Pro Bowl and accomplish things as an individual…this is unbelievable.
- When I heard Ron Yary’s name called, I knew what a great career he had. I watched him growing up and saw what a great player he was. I was just happy as heck for him because I know how long he waited. But then to hear my name and Jackie’s, just to be a part of that group right there is just amazing to me.
- This man right here (motioning to Jack Youngblood) whipped my butt every day for three straight years. I owe a large part of my success – because I learned to be a pro from Jack Youngblood and Merlin Olsen. I can honestly say that.
- Once I realized that Jack wasn’t just a physical guy, I realized, ‘hey, I can’t block this guy.’ Just when I thought I had him figured out, he’d do something else.
- This is quite an honor for my family and me. To play 20 years in the National Football League, I thought that people might think that I was more crazy than worthy of being in the Hall of Fame.
<<b />Lynn Swann
- When I was on Monday Night Football and we covered the Hall of Fame Game, I would see these guys at the podium, and I had the pleasure of introducing Franco Harris for induction into the Hall of Fame, and the guys were up there crying, and I said ‘oh no that’s not going to be me.’ I cried all the way over here (from his hotel to the press conference center several blocks away).
- Me being here, it’s obviously not just me. It’s Dan Rooney. It’s all of my teammates…. I’m here because I played on a football team of great people not just great athletes.
- I appreciate the fact that while it may have taken 14 consecutive years as a finalist before getting elected, that while it was difficult, maybe it will make me appreciate more the honor of being elected to the Hall of Fame.
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- Lynn may have waited 14 years to get in, but I waited 18 years to get in. Heck most offensive linemen don’t live 18 years after retiring. I’m just happy to be here and be alive.
- It was absolutely worth the wait. It made it a lot sweeter today.
- I thank the Lord for his blessing to give me the talent to be able to play this game the way we did and for as long as we did.
- Ron Yary, Rayfield Wright, and Dan Dierdorf, those kinds of players caused you to raise your level of play. You knew it was going to be an all-day battle when you went on the field against those guys. Not only was it difficult, it made you better. That was the fun part of the game.
- This is the epitome. I am humbled to be in the same class as Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones and six other inductees today.
Did You Know? TRIVIA….
How things have changed. When Nick Buoniconti was a player for the Boston Patriots, he also managed to raise a family, hold down a fulltime off-season job and earn a law degree by attending classes at night.
It was January 27, the day after Jack Youngblood’s birthday, that the Hall of Fame announced its newest class of enshrinees. The formal induction ceremony of the Class of 2001 will take place on August 4, the day after 2001 enshrinee Marv Levy’s birthday.
When the Minnesota Vikings traded quarterback Fran Tarkenton to the New York Giants, they received a first-round draft pick in the 1968 draft as compensation. With that pick the Vikings chose Class of 2001 enshrinee Ron Yary.
During his 20 playing seasons, Class of 2001 enshrinee Jackie Slater blocked for 24 different quarterbacks and 37 different running backs, including seven who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season.
Lynn Swann, who studied ballet, tap, and modern dance as a youngster, actually performed once with the legendary dancer/actor Gene Kelly on a segment of an ABC-TV series “Omnibus.”
Mike Munchak, who was born in Scranton, PA, is the twenty-fourth Hall of Famer born in Pennsylvania. Only Texas has as many Hall of Fame native sons.