Returning enshrinees

Returning enshrinees

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Class of 2002 inductee Jim Kelly often states that the Hall of Fame won’t have a problem with him returning to Canton, but will have trouble getting rid of him.

HOF GroupKelly, and more than 40 other football legends, will join Dan MarinoSteve Young, and representatives from the families of the late Benny Friedman and Fritz Pollard on stage at the August 7 enshrinement ceremony.

“It just seems like the right thing to do,” commented Bill Dudley, who has returned to the annual induction ceremony nearly every year since his enshrinement in 1966. A large number of Hall of Famers make the effort to return to Canton annually to help welcome in the newest class.

“It becomes one of being able to acknowledge those (being inducted) – that you were a fan of them and you appreciate them being able to get into the Hall of Fame,” commented former Chiefs linebacker Willie Lanier from the Class of 1986. “The only people who truly understand what it means are those who have ascended to the podium just as you will.”

Willie Lanier

Willie Lanier

“By going back, what you’re doing is saying to the new entrants that you appreciate the effort that it took for them to be there,” continued Lanier. “So, from that standpoint, it becomes an annual trek to really acknowledge the dedication and work that is required.”

Former 49ers great Jimmy Johnson is returning for the first time in several years because of a back injury that prohibited travel.

“You can’t even think straight,” he shared in recalling his induction into the Hall of Fame in 1994. “You think, ‘wow, this is the ultimate.’ But that’s nowhere near ultimate.

“The ultimate is interacting with your fellow Hall of Famers. It’s just that camaraderie that you share that gets better, and better, and better every year,” Johnson said. “It’s like family, and can never get enough family. And, that’s what the Hall is – family.”

The following members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame will return for the 2005 enshrinement celebration:

Marcus Allen Tommy McDonald
Lem Barney Bobby Mitchell
Bobby Bell Ron Mix
Elvin Bethea Lenny Moore
George Blanda Anthony Muñoz
Nick Bouniconti Merlin Olsen
Joe DeLamielleure Joe Perry
Dan Dierdorf Mel Renfro
Mike Ditka Dan Rooney
Tony Dorsett Bob St. Clair
Bill Dudley Gale Sayers
Carl Eller Billy Shaw
Frank Gatski Art Shell
Bob Griese Don Shula
Mike Haynes Jackie Slater
Ken Houston Roger Staubach
Jimmy Johnson Jan Stenerud
Stan Jones Dwight Stephenson
Paul Krause Charley Taylor
Willie Lanier Jim Taylor
Steve Largent Gene Upshaw
Yale Lary Bill Walsh
Dante Lavelli Dave Wilcox
Larry Little Bill Willis
Ronnie Lott Jack Youngblood
John Mackey  
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