John Elway knew.
“This caps off a tremendous football career by a guy who truly was self-made and worked his tail off to become one of the best players in the history of the NFL,” said Elway, who was Sharpe’s quarterback in Denver.
“If you are going to have letters behind your name, I wasn’t going to have M.D. or PhD. HOF is pretty good,” he said.
Bears defensive end Dent was the MVP of the 1986 Super Bowl and finished with 137 1/2 career sacks. He was the top pass rusher on one of the NFL’s greatest defensive units. Dent became a starter in 1984, beginning a 10-year period in which he made 10 or more sacks in eight of 10 seasons.
“It was a long time coming, I am very happy,” Dent said. “If you can do your thing the way (Walter Payton) did his, you can be in the Hall of Fame. I am so thankful for this.”
Dent also won a Super Bowl in 1994 with the 49ers.
Richter played linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams from 1954-62. They traded 11 players for him and waited two years while he was in the military before he suited up. He made the wait worthwhile , going to eight straight Pro Bowls. He also was a center and kicker.
Richter died last June.
“Les was a tough, hard-nosed football player who gave it his all on every play and in every practice,” Hall of Famer Deacon Jones recalled of Richter. “He knocked the hell out of people. I mean, hed really hit you. Les Richter was a great teammate.”
Hanburger spent all 14 pro seasons with the Redskins and played in nine Pro Bowls. He played from 1965-78 and was called “The Hangman.” He was known for using clothesline tackles that eventually were outlawed.
“It’s wonderful. I am just overwhelmed. It’s such a tremendous honor to be nominated, let alone get in,” Hanburger said. “Have to think of all the men who played before me and all the men I played with.”
Sabol founded NFL Films and was selected as a contributor. Under his guidance, NFL Films received 52 Emmy Awards.
The finalists who did not get in were Curtis Martin, Dermontti Dawson, Cortez Kennedy, Andre Reed and Willie Roaf.
Induction ceremonies are Aug. 6 in Canton, Ohio.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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