Welcoming Committee: DAVE CASPER

Welcoming Committee: DAVE CASPER

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(Note: When Art Shell was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989, he joined Jim Otto and Gene Upshaw as the third member of the Raiders' great offensive line of the 1960s and 1970s to be inducted. Tight end Dave Casper, who will be enshrined Aug. 3, lined up alongside Shell for nine seasons. )

Art Shell was inducted into the Hall of Fame on August 5, 1989.

It's with great pride that I welcome you to the Hall of Fame, Dave. It's something that I've felt has been out there a while for you, and the day has finally come.

And it's something I'm excited about, because it means the Oakland Raiders have a center, a left guard, a left tackle and now we've got a tight end that I loved to play next to throughout my career.

The thing that I remember most about your playing days, Dave, was that you loved to run block more than you loved to catch passes. I remember that you always loved to talk about run blocking, not a whole lot about running pass routes and catching the ball - not that you couldn't do those things, of course.

"As long as there is an Earth, your career will be immortalized."

"Ghost, be quiet!" was a common refrain, because you were always talking - as much as Upshaw, and that's no small feat!

But this is well deserved, because you're one of the best tight ends I've ever seen. You got down the field with good speed - faster than people thought. I remember you talked about wearing those black shoes so people would think you were slow. It worked.

I know this: You could adjust to the ball and catch the ball as good as any wide receiver. The "Ghost to the Post" play against the Colts was phenomenal, the way you ran that ball down and adjusted to it in flight - typical of your great career.

Some of the guys on our team thought you were weird, because you were always talking about something off the wall. I would wonder, "What the hell is Ghost talking about?" But you were also always talking about run-blocking. Always trying to figure out how to take over a guy, slide him over and take him out.

Early on in your career, I remember you showed up overweight for a minicamp, and the coaches threatened to move you to tackle if you didn't get your weight down. Well, sure enough you showed up for training camp with your weight down. And from then on, you evolved into one of the best tight ends in the game. There was no doubt about it. I could see it in your tenacity, in your love for football.

I'm just excited to see that you finally made it. You'll realize that you have achieved the ultimate. Can't go any farther than this. It's the top of the line and there's nobody that can take this away from you. Only a few select people have reached this level. As long as there is an Earth, your career will be immortalized.

Congratulations Dave!

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