NFL

Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions: Saturday’s highlights for the 2020 and Centennial classes

  • Covered Broncos for nine years for Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News
  • Previously covered Steelers, Bills and Titans
  • Member of Pro Football Hall of Fame Board
    of Selectors since 1999

Despite waiting a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2020 and the Centennial class are being formally recognized Saturday night in Canton, Ohio.

The class of 2020 includes legends of the game Troy Polamalu (Pittsburgh Steelers), Steve Atwater (Denver Broncos, New York Jets), Isaac Bruce (Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers), Steve Hutchinson (Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans) and Edgerrin James (Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks).

Fifteen men, some who have waited decades to hear their names called, were elected as part of the HOF’s Centennial class. The group was selected to honor the NFL’s 100th anniversary. The class includes 10 seniors, two coaches and three contributors. Among them are former NFL coaches Bill Cowher (Steelers) and Jimmy Johnson (Cowboys, Dolphins), former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Steve Sabol of NFL Films.

The 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame class is led by quarterback Peyton Manning, who won a pair of Super Bowls and set many records in his 18-year career with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos. Manning and the seven other members of the class will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at 7 p.m. ET Sunday (ESPN).

ESPN will be providing updates after each of the 12 newest HOFers speaks from the podium Saturday night. Here’s a look at highlights from their speeches, the scene in photos and videos, and more HOF coverage:

Saturday night’s speakers

Wide receiver Harold Carmichael (Philadelphia Eagles, 1971-1983; Dallas Cowboys, 1984)

The résumé: A four-time Pro Bowl selection, the 6-foot-8 Carmichael was the league’s Man of the Year in 1980 for his work in his community. In an era when Drew Pearson once led the league in receiving yards with 877 in 1977, Carmichael was consistent in his impact, averaging over 15 yards per catch in six seasons. He led the league in catches and receiving yards in 1973 and finished with three 1,000-yard seasons in his career.

He said it: “I’m so honored to be part of this brotherhood … What a journey … I remember coach [Dick] Vermeil saying ‘Do your job better than everybody else and surround yourself with good people.'”

The résumé: Harris made the Cowboys’ roster as an undrafted rookie in 1970, having arrived as a former college sprinter and cornerback. Harris became one of the league’s first box safeties with enough athleticism to return punts and kickoffs. Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton once said the two best safeties he faced were Harris and Hall of Famer Jake Scott. Harris was selected to six Pro Bowls. He led the Cowboys in tackles in 1976 and interceptions in 1977. He played on two Super Bowl winners, and the Cowboys were in the postseason in nine of his 10 years.

He said it: “What an incredible journey this has been for me … I also had the great fortune to play with many legendary players … Football was my passion, but my fallback was to become a doctor … If I can make it anyone can achieve their goals, the key is to never give up, keep going, keep learning.”

Photos and videos from Canton

Read more on these NFL legends

Peyton Manning changed QBing forever
• Inside Calvin Johnson‘s 329-yard game
Troy Polamalu‘s bond with Bill Cowher
Edgerrin James‘ legacy tied to HBCUs
J. Johnson: ‘How ’bout them Cowboys?’
Charles Woodson‘s legendary path in NFL
Winston Hill, Joe Namath’s friendship
• Get to know this year’s HOF classes
Videos: Watch these HOF moments

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