(Note: Howie Long and Marcus Allen were teammates for 11 seasons with the Raiders. They played against each other one season, when Allen was with the Chiefs – Long calls that one of the “weirdest” experiences of his career. Long, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 2000, will be on hand on August 3rd when Allen is inducted into the Hall.)
Marcus, your induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is one I’ve really been looking forward to. We came up together in the NFL. Your first year in the league was my second year. That 1982 season seems like only yesterday -- practicing in Oakland and playing our games in L.A. You and I were living in the Oakland airport hotel and catching commuter planes to and from Oakland and L.A.
When you joined the Raiders, we were all immediately awe-struck by your on-field abilities. In my mind, you were the most complete football player that I played with. I would view Walter Payton as the most complete halfback of our generation, and I would put you right up there in that category. Like Walter you excelled in every aspect of the game. Having played quarterback in high school, you threw the football exceptionally well, your blocking was an aspect of your game that in my mind goes unnoticed. Whether it be chipping on a defensive end that one of our tackles needed help with or picking up the blitz, something most backs aren’t interested in doing, this was an aspect of the game that you dominated. Your ability to excel at that part of the game comes from a number of attributes: intelligence, technique, desire and most of all toughness. In my mind you were one of the toughest players that I played with or against.
Many felt you weren’t fast enough coming out of college but you made up for that with extraordinary vision and the ability to read defenses and make the appropriate cut. Still, I don’t recall seeing you caught from behind very much – in particular on one play in the biggest game of your career, Super Bowl XVIII in Tampa versus the Washington Redskins. Running to the left, cutting back across the backfield and then taking the ball all the way in for a touchdown – your 74-yard run is still the longest in Super Bowl history.
One of the strangest experiences of my career would have to be during my final year in the NFL when you had moved on to play with the Chiefs. Seeing you in that uniform, lining up across from you, and then hitting you? Well, needless to say, it just didn’t seem right to me. Looking back on it now it almost seemed funny at the time. You and I came up together, we made our mark on the game together, and won a World Championship together. For 11 years we were teammates and come August 3rd we will again become teammates on the greatest team ever assembled -- our final team: the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Marcus - Diane, Chris, Kyle, Howie and I are all looking forward to your induction.
Hall of Fame week is an extraordinarily special week – not only for you, but for your teammates, your coaches, and your family. I’m looking forward to seeing the faces of your mom, dad and brothers, and the joy the week will bring to them.
There are a lot of special aspects to the week you are about to embark on. To hear the other Hall of Famers talk about what it means to be in the Hall, the kind of respect that has to be given to that honor, the fact that you’re now with your final team – and it’s the greatest team ever assembled. You’re with the best of the best of the best. And you are extremely deserving of that. Take every moment that you can of that week and stop and freeze-frame it and enjoy the moment.
It’s certainly something you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Welcoming Committee: Elvin Bethea
Welcoming Committee: Joe DeLamielleure
Welcoming Committee: James Lofton
Welcoming Committee: Hank Stram