List of returning HOFers growing

Many members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame return annually in support of the newest Class.
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Each year, dozens of previously elected members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame return to Canton, Ohio to welcome the newest Class of Enshrinees as they join pro football’s most exclusive fraternity. This year will be no exception as the confirmation count is already at 80 returning Hall of Famers who plan to be on hand as the Class of 2011 – Richard Dent, Marshall Faulk, Chris Hanburger, Les Richter, Ed Sabol, Deion Sanders, and Shannon Sharpe – are enshrined on Saturday, August 6. More names will likely be added over the next several days. 

Among the pro football legends scheduled to return to Canton are four from last year’s class of enshrinees, Rickey Jackson, Floyd Little, John Randle and Emmitt Smith. While the current count includes a Hall of Fame representative from 28 of the 32 NFL clubs, the franchise best represented is the Oakland Raiders with nine returning Hall of Famers. The Raiders contingent includes Marcus Allen, Fred Biletnikoff, Willie Brown, Dave Casper, Mike Haynes, Ted Hendricks, Howie Long, John Madden and Art Shell. The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins have six Hall of Famers appearing and the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings will each have five.

Attending this year and celebrating the 10th anniversary of their enshrinement will be Nick Buoniconti, Marv Levy, Lynn Swann, Ron Yary, and Jack Youngblood. Jan Stenerud, elected in 1991 will celebrate the 20th anniversary of his enshrinement and Willie Davis, a member of the Class of 1981, will celebrate the 30th anniversary of his enshrinement.

Counting Class of 2011 Enshrinee Richard Dent, there will be eight Super Bowl MVPs on the Enshrinement stage including Franco Harris, (Super Bowl IX), Lynn Swann (Super Bowl X), Fred Biletnikoff (Super Bowl XI), Marcus Allen (Super Bowl XVIII), Dent (Super Bowl XX), Troy Aikman (Super Bowl XXVII), Emmitt Smith (Super Bowl XXVIII), and John Elway (Super Bowl XXXIII).  Between the 2011 Class and the current number of 75 returning Hall of Famers, there are a total of 71 Super Bowl rings that were awarded to the group.

Other notable Hall of Fame members returning to Canton this year include Earl Campbell, Dick Butkus, Eric Dickerson, Deacon Jones, Jim Kelly, Bob Lilly, James Lofton, Warren Moon, and Rod Woodson.

For many Hall of Famers, like Willie Lanier and Jim Taylor, the journey back to Canton is a “not to be missed” annual event.  Each year, the veteran Hall of Famers like Lanier and Taylor emphasize to the newest Hall of Fame Class, usually during the “enshrinees only” Ray Nitschke Luncheon, the importance of returning to Canton for the Enshrinement Ceremony as often as possible. Others make sure the new enshrinees understand the significance of their honor. As Deacon Jones likes to remind the new Hall of Famers, they are “joining a team from which they cannot be cut, cannot be traded and cannot quit. It’s forever.”

The list of returning Hall of Famers (updated August 4, 2011)

Troy Aikman
Marcus Allen
Lem Barney
Bobby Bell
Raymond Berry
Elvin Bethea
Willie Brown
  Dick Butkus
Earl Campbell (20th Anniversary)
Harry Carson
Dave Casper
Willie Davis (30th Anniversary)
Fred Dean
Joe DeLamielleure
Eric Dickerson
Dan Dierdorf
Carl Eller
John Elway
Joe Gibbs
Frank Gifford
Joe Greene
Forrest Gregg
Bob Griese
Dan Hampton
Franco Harris
Mike Haynes
Ted Hendricks
Ken Houston
Sam Huff
Michael Irvin
Rickey Jackson
Deacon Jones
Sonny Jurgensen
Jim Kelly
Leroy Kelly
Paul Krause
Jack Lambert
Willie Lanier
Yale Lary
Marv Levy (10th Anniversary)
Bob Lilly
Floyd Little
Larry Little
James Lofton
Howie Long
Tom Mack
John Madden
Dan Marino
Randall McDaniel
Tommy McDonald
Bobby Mitchell
Ron Mix
Warren Moon
Lenny Moore
Anthony Muñoz
Ozzie Newsome
John Randle
Mel Renfro
Dan Rooney
Bob St. Clair
Charlie Sanders
Gale Sayers
Billy Shaw
Art Shell
Jackie Slater
Bruce Smith
Emmitt Smith
Jan Stenerud (20th Anniversary)
Lynn Swann (10th Anniversary)
Charley Taylor
Jim Taylor
Andre Tippett
Charley Trippi
Paul Warfield
Roger Wehrli
Dave Wilcox
Larry Wilson
Kellen Winslow
Rod Woodson
Rayfield Wright
Ron Yary (10th Anniversary)
Jack Youngblood (10th Anniversary)
Gary Zimmerman


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Recent Comments
  • Cosme ripol - August 03 2011 11:09 PM

    Chris Hanburger was a great linebacker, but Chuck Howley was better. The defenses Howley played on were much superior to the Redskins defenses of the same era, and Howley was a major reason. Howley was a better outside linebacker than Dave Wilcox, a contemporary of Howley and Hanburger, who is in the Hall of Fame. It is a disgrace that Chuck Howley is not in the Hall of Fame.

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  • laurie - July 30 2011 10:13 AM

    Can't believe Patriots couldn't take the time yesterday to greet fans and sign autographs after morning practice! What happened?? They usually do...very disappointing (and that's putting it mildly)!


  • Tom - July 26 2011 10:56 AM

    I will say Drew Pearson of the Cowboys should get in, and Chuck Howley was the MVP of Super Bowl 5. The problem is that Super Bowl was full of miscues by both teams and besides the ending it was a terrible played game. Chris Hanburger went to the pro bowl 9x compared to Howley 6x. Chris Hanburger won defensive player of the year in 1972 when the Redskins went to the Super Bowl. Howley is a good player, but the Hall of Fame is for great players. Howley will always be in the Hall of Good.

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  • RAMSrule - July 23 2011 12:46 PM

    Everything you just wrote is a joke...Chris Hanburger not worthy of induction? Give me a obviously are a Cryboy fan who's crying now because a precious player Dallas player isn't being inducted....get over it...Hanburger is deserving if not more than Chuck Howley...your two cents worth was about a penny...GO RAMS!!

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  • Daniel Hamrick - July 13 2011 03:40 PM

    The Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions will remain a joke until the Hall begins doing a couple of additional things: 1. Inducting offensive and defensive linemen on a par with the so-called skill players. 2. Inducting Chuck Howley, described by Coach Tom Landry as the greatest linebacker he ever saw. The joke is compounded by the induction of Chris Hanburger, who couldn't tie Chuck Howley's shoe laces.


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