Eclectic group to enter Hall
AP Pro Football Writer
CANTON, Ohio — While his six other classmates for this weekend’s enshrinement sported blue golf shirts given them by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Cris Carter was dressed in suit and tie.
He might never take them off.
“Man, I am in the Hall of Fame. I am wearing a suit every day,” Carter said Friday as the 50th anniversary festivities for the hall began.
Carter will join Jonathan Ogden, Larry Allen, Bill Parcells, Warren Sapp, Dave Robinson and Curley Culp as the newest inductees on Saturday night. He was, by far, the most emotional during a news conference Friday as festivities began for the 50th anniversary celebration of the hall.
The only member of the Class of 2013 who didn’t win an NFL title, Carter used a handkerchief to wipe away the tears when asked about his career and the fact it took six tries to get elected.
“Minnesota fans didn’t judge me when a lot of bad things were being said about me,” Carter said, frequently pausing to regain his composure. “They always cheered for Cris. The only thing I really wish is we could’ve won that championship for those people. What they did for my life, every day I went out there, I played for those people.”
Carter was exiled from Philadelphia in 1989 after off-field problems, including drug and alcohol issues. The first one to call him and offer a job was Parcells.
Carter told his agent he wanted to go to the Giants, but he wound up with the Vikings, who had a stronger need for a wide receiver. All Carter did the rest of his 16-season career was wind up second at his retirement in 2002 behind Jerry Rice for all-time receptions and touchdowns. He’s fourth in those categories now.
As he mentioned, though, he doesn’t have that championship. For the other six, those Super Bowl rings will have a blinding shine to them Saturday night.
Parcells was a winner of two NFL titles as a coach and master of the franchise turnaround. Ogden, one of the premier offensive tackles of his time, grabbed a Super Bowl ring in 2000. Larry Allen, a 1995 champion with Dallas, was the rare equal of Ogden on the offensive line in their era.
Sapp, an outstanding defensive tackle with a personality as big as any football stadium, won the 2002 championship in Tampa Bay. Robinson, a major cog in Green Bay’s championship machine under Vince Lombardi, won the first two Super Bowls. Culp, one of the original pass-rushing demons at defensive tackle, got his ring with the 1969 Chiefs.
Quite a group, and a record 121 hall members are expected to attend the ceremonies.
“It’s somewhat overwhelming,” said Ogden, the Baltimore Ravens’ first-ever draft choice and the first team member elected to the hall. “You look around and there’s Joe Greene and Joe Namath — heck, they are all there, you can’t stop naming names.”
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