NEW YORK - Former NFL standout Warren Sapp may not be a big fan of Michael Strahan, but both men are now on the same team.
Strahan, a defensive end who won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants, was one seven players elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. This was Strahan’s second year of eligibility, and he headlines a strong 2014 class.
Strahan, who has become a big star off the field since his retirement, has had a very public war of words with Hall of Fame tackle Sapp over Strahan's credentials. It might be a bit awkward for both at future Hall-of-Fame events together.
In addition to Strahan, linebacker Derrick Brooks (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), receiver Andre Reed (Buffalo Bills), offensive tackle Walter Jones (Seattle Seahawks) and cornerback Aeneas Williams (Cardinals) were the modern-era players voted into the Hall of Fame. Punter Ray Guy (Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders) and defensive end Claude Humphrey (Atlanta Falcons) were the senior candidates elected into the the Hall of Fame. Guy is the first full-time punter in the Hall of Fame.
Strahan, a second-round pick by the New York Giants in 1993, recorded 141.5 sacks during his 15-year career. He was a dominant pass rusher who recorded double-digit sack totals six times during a nine-year span. Strahan has two Super Bowl wins on his résumé, was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2001, voted to seven Pro Bowls and named to five All-Pro teams.
Meanwhile, Reed and Williams ended their long waits to wear a yellow jacket.
This was the eighth time Reed was up for the honor, and many NFL observers questioned if he would ever be chosen, especially after former Vikings receiver Cris Carter was selected ahead of him last year. However, Reed finally broke through.
Reed appeared in four Super Bowls with the Buffalo Bills, and finished with 13,198 receiving yards and 87 touchdowns during 16 NFL seasons. He was elected to seven Pro Bowls and led the Bills in receiving 10 times.
Williams is viewed as one of the NFL’s best defensive backs. This was his third year as a finalist, but he seemingly struggled to gain recognition due to the Cardinals’ lack of success. But Williams’ body of work easily stacks up to other Hall of Fame players.
The former Cardinals/Rams defensive back recorded 55 interceptions in his career. In comparison to some other Hall of Fame cornerbacks, Lem Barney had 56 interceptions, Darrell Green finished with 54, while Deion Sanders compiled 53. More impressively, Williams scored nine non-offensive touchdowns during 14 NFL seasons.
Jones and Brooks were first ballot Hall of Famers.
Brooks is viewed as one of the best outside linebackers in NFL history. He is credited with transforming Tampa Bay from the NFL’s worst team to a Super Bowl winner. Brooks, a first-round pick by Tampa Bay in 1995, was selected to 11 Pro Bowls.
Meanwhile, Jones was one of the most dominant left tackles during 12 NFL seasons. He was Seattle’s starting left tackle in Super Bowl XL, plus was voted into nine Pro Bowls.
Voters debated coach Tony Dungy’s Hall of Fame credentials for 47 minutes, the longest discussion of any candidate on Saturday. Supporters of Dungy noted his 139 wins and 69 losses, seven consecutive seasons of 10-or-more seasons, and his historical impact as the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl.
However, those who opposed Dungy pointed the fact he had only one division championship in Tampa Bay, was defeated by Philadelphia two consecutive years in the playoffs (2000 and 2001), and had a 9-10 playoff record.
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