Haynes returns home

Haynes returns home

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Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback Mike Haynes, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection with the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Raiders, was honored Wednesday as a Hometown Hall of Famer™ by the Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company. A special plaque ceremony took place at Haynes’ alma mater John Marshall High School in Los Angeles as Haynes was presented the historic hometown plaque in front of a full auditorium of more than 800 students, friends, family, and community members.

Presenting Haynes with his plaque was Los Angeles City Councilman and former teammate and lifelong friend, Tom LaBonge, who shared stories about their childhood and playing football at John Marshall High School.  To the crowd’s delight, the two reenacted a play on the stage where LaBonge hiked the ball to Haynes who then threw the ball to the football team seated in the crowd.

“The key today is we are relating to someone who sat where you sat,” said LaBonge.  “We’re relating to someone who worked hard every day and had great work habits. He got knocked down and got back up.”

After the plaque was unveiled, Haynes took the stage to thank all in attendance. He focused on the importance of community and delivered a message to students about goal setting.

“My goals were too low and I was lucky – I am a diamond in the rough,” said Haynes. “You need to dream big, set big goals, and keep going after them.”

In addition to the plaque, a commemorative Mike Haynes Hometown Hall of Famer™ road sign will be on display in Los Angeles.

“This plaque represents the spirit of hard work and community that helped Mike get to the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” said George Veras, president and CEO of Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises. “That same spirit exists today at John Marshall High School and take advantage of that, like Mike did,  to become a Hall of Famer in your own chosen path.”

Other special guests in attendance included school board member Bennet Kayser; Paul Salata, a former player with the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Colts in 1949-1950 and known for creating the “Mr. Irrelevant Award;” and local Allstate agent Charles Stewart.

“What a better way to show our pride for where Allstaters and our customers live and work than to have a program like this that honors the legacy of a professional football legend like Mike Haynes and brings his family to where it all began here in his hometown at John Marshall High School,” said Stewart.

A three-year All-WAC star at Arizona State University, Haynes was the New England Patriots’ first round pick, fifth overall and first defensive back chosen, in the 1976 NFL Draft. He became an elite defensive back and punt return specialist by relying on his speed, quickness and range. In a remarkable rookie year with the Patriots, he snagged eight interceptions and an AFC-leading 608 yards on 45 punt returns. That year, Haynes gave the Patriots their first-ever touchdown on punt returns with 89-yard and 62-yard returns. The first of his nine Pro Bowl invitations came as a rookie, and he went on to be named first-team All-Pro four times and an All-AFC pick eight times.

In late 1983, Haynes moved across the country to his hometown of Los Angeles, where he spent the second half of his Hall of Famer career as a member of the Los Angeles Raiders. Haynes played the last five games of the 1983 season for the Raiders and recorded an interception in the team’s Super Bowl XVII victory over the Washington Redskins.

Haynes, a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1980s and to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

Watch ceremony highlights>>>

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