Behind the Bronze: James Lofton

12/29/2010
Two-hundred-sixty bronze busts reside in the Hall of Fame Gallery inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. They "immortalize" the greatest players, coaches, and contributors that this game has produced.

James Lofton

James Lofton was the Green Bay Packers first round draft pick (6th player overall) of the 1978 NFL Draft. Throughout his 16-year career he was viewed as a constant deep threat to opposing defenses. Proof of this was the fact that he was the first player to catch a touchdown in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s . He retired as the NFL's all-time leader in receiving yardage with 14,004 yards on 764 receptions and 75 TDs. Lofton's HOF Bio>>>

Behind the Bronze Series:

Jack Ham>>>
Joe DeLamielleure>>>
Charlie Sanders>>>
Dave Wilcox>>>
Randall McDaniel>>>
Jack Youngblood>>>
Willie Lanier>>>
Mel Blount>>>
Sonny Jurgensen>>>
Larry Csonka>>>
Kellen Winslow>>>
Deacon Jones>>>
Alan Page>>>
Larry Little>>>
Raymond Berry>>>

Hobbies: I still love sports. One of my hobbies is I compete in Master's Track and Field which is an age group competition. I enjoy bike riding and I also golf.Another hobby, a non-athletic hobby, is that I'm a coin collector.

Last Book You Read: Blood, Sweat & Chalk by Tim Layden.

Favorite Movie: That's a tough one. It's tough to pick out just one favorite movie. The last movie that I saw with my dad was Field of Dreams, so I'll pick that one.

Favorite Music: Anything where I can just sit there and hold my wife's hand.

Favorite Food: I live in California and we get great Mexican food out here.

Favorite Athlete in Sport other than Football: Is there another sport other than football? Wow, I'm thinking. It's funny, coaching football and now broadcasting and playing, you get so consumed with it. I'll go with Carl Lewis.

Favorite NFL Team as a Child: I was a Baltimore Colts fan. Johnny Unitas.

First Job: Smart & Final Warehouse. I loaded up the trucks for deliveries to the grocery stores.

Your Favorite NFL Stadium During Your Career (other than the Lambeau or Rich): I really liked playing at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium.

One Person Who Influenced You Most: I would have to say Bart Starr. He's such a high-character individual. Just the way that he carried himself as a coach and as a man.

Did you have any pre-game rituals/superstitions? I did not.

Any special stories behind your uniform numbers No. 80 (86, 22)? Yes, 22 was kind of unique because I went to the locker room at the Los Angeles Rams. They already had a number 80, Henry Ellard was wearing that number. Since I had always been number 80, I figured you add up all the twos on the front and back and that's an eight. So that's why I chose number 22. And obviously Bob Hayes wore number 22 but it was kind of just the quirkiness of all the twos adding up to an eight.

Watch: James Lofton describes his most memorable game.

Toughest Opponent: When I was at the Raiders, my teammates were Mike Haynes and Lester Hayes and I don't think that there was any combo that was better than those two. Also a guy that I remember playing against and I was proud that I had good games against him was Mel Blount.

How would you spend time during the offseason? We were real fortunate, the Pro Bowl was in Hawaii and we spent a couple extra months there after the Pro Bowl game.

What makes you most proud about your Hall of Fame career? After the years go on, it's one of those things that nobody can take it away from you. It's also just a great honor because when I look at the selection process now, I realize how tough it is to get in. The fact that I'm in is still overwhelming because I still look at myself as a skinny high school quarterback.

When, if ever, did you ever realize that you had a Hall of Fame career? Towards the end of my career. Steve Largent had a bunch of the NFL records, Charlie Joiner had some, and then I was able to break the yardage record. Once you become a guy that has an all-time NFL record, then you go, "maybe?" But you're not sure.

Where were you when you learned that you had been elected to the Hall of Fame? I was here in San Diego. The Super Bowl was here in 2003 and I was about to go on stage for a talk show. So I was back stage waiting for that when I got the call.

Did you consider anyone other than your son David to be your presenter? You know I had talked to Bart Starr about it previously. He said that he wished he had used his son Bart Jr. as his presenter.

Who was your favorite coach during your football career – high school, college, or pro? Bill Walsh had a huge impact on me. He was my coach my senior year of college. His influence, his belief in me as a player really buoyed my confidence and helped me grow.

If you could do your Enshrinement Speech over today, what would you change? Nothing. I think I got it right. I was able to take enough time to thank everybody that had an impact on my career.

Your greatest accomplishment outside of football: I'm coming up on 30 years of marriage in January. I like that one.

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