Just back from the Hall of Fame Board of Trustees dinner at which for some silly reason, they didn’t introduce any of the Hall of Famers except this year’s class.
So here’s a veteran scribe’s report on which stars were in attendance besides Art Monk, Darrell Green et al from the Class of 2008: Bobby Mitchell, Ken Houston, Bullet Bill Dudley, Don Maynard, Dave Wilcox, Larry Little, Bob Griese, Merlin Olsen, Deacon Jones, Dick Butkus, Carl Eller, Bobby Bell, Willie Lanier, John Madden, Dan Dierdorf, Lem Barney, Mel Renfro and Billy Shaw. And for Redskins fans, defensive tackle Tim Johnson and linebacker Andre Collins, who both played with Art and Darrell, were also on hand.
Art and Darrell are being presented by their sons, James and Jared, respectively, during Saturday night’s ceremony and the four of them posed for a group photo tonight. Both of the ex-Redskins heroes arrived in Canton on Wednesday and as usual, they’re doing things differently. Laid-back Art, who flew here, has been holed up in his hotel room. On-the-go Darrell, who drove here, has been out promoting Route 281, the fundraising effort they established this spring to benefit their respective foundations.
“The best part about this weekend will be tomorrow night [at theEnshrinees Dinner] when we receive our [yellow] jackets,” said Art, who’s looking forward to some vacation time after the six-month stretch from election to induction finally ends on Saturday.
“I’m looking forward to the whole weekend,” Darrell said. “I’m not in a rush to have this end.”
All of my conversations with Darrell tonight were quick and on the run. And Darrell was gone not long after the event started to break up. In contrast, when I left the near-empty room to come write this blog, Art — always so reticent during his playing days — was in the midst of a slew of wives of Hall of Famers.
Tomorrow is the off-the-record Nitschke lunch followed by afternoon news conferences with the returning Hall of Famers and this year’s class followed by the Enshrinees Dinner. Yours truly has a bit part in the latter as I will introduce my longtime friend, ESPN.com’s Len Pasquarelli, as the winner of the McCann Award, given by the Pro Football Writers of America to honor one of our members for a distinguished career. Len and I are both former presidents of the PFWA.
That’s all for now. Gotta go write my speech. I’ll check in tomorrow.