Posted on February 4, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine

Pro Football Hall of Fame

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Saturday night in Minnesota, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its class of 2018, and it may be one of the best in recent memory. The class includes modern-day stars Terrell Owns, Brian Dawkins, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, and Brian Urlacher. The latter three were all selected in their first year of eligibility. They will be joined by Jerry Kramer, a guard in the 1950s and 1960s, Robert Brazile, a linebacker who played from 1975 to 1984, and GM Bobby Beathard. The group will formally become members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 4.

This will be one of the youngest classes the Pro Football Hall of Fame has seen. Of the five modern-day players, the mercurial Owens has had the longest wait at three years. In typical Owens fashion, his only statement came in the form of a picture of a Hall of Fame hat he posted on Instagram. While his attitude and ego were controversial at times, Owens ranks 2nd all-time in receiving yards and 3rd in receiving touchdowns.

It only seems appropriate that Moss goes into the Hall of Fame the same year as Owens. Must like Owens, Moss knew how to stir the pot with the things he said. But there’s no denying that he was one of the all-time great wide receivers. Moss holds the single-season touchdown record with 23 TD receptions in 2007. It also seemed appropriate for Moss to receive the call with the Super Bowl in Minnesota, where he played for more than seven seasons.

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Meanwhile, Dawkins, a long-time member of the Eagles, made the Hall of Fame in his second year of eligibility. He was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and five-time All-Pro in his 16 seasons. Dawkins was undoubtedly one of the elite safeties of his generation and remains a fan favorite in Philadelphia.

“This is tremendous news, and I could not be more proud of Brian. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is an honor he truly earned,” said Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie. “He epitomized everything we love about the game of football. His intensity, his passion, his love of the game and his leadership were always dialed in at the highest possible level.”

Finally, there are the two middle linebackers, Lewis and Urlacher, two of the most dominant defensive players of the 2000s. Lewis played 17 NFL seasons, going to the Pro Bowl 13 times and winning Super Bowl MVP along the way. Urlacher, on the other hand, was a five-time All-Pro during his 12 seasons in the league. Both are also unique in that they spent their entire careers with one team, Lewis with the Ravens and Urlacher with the Bears.

“For 17 years, we could point to No. 52 and tell the other players: ‘Follow his lead. Practice like Ray practices. Prepare like Ray prepares. Be a great teammate like him,'” Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said of Lewis. “It was our privilege to have him as a Raven. We are all better for having him here. His play on game days speaks for itself.”

This year’s class is not only filled with outstanding players, but great personalities as well. It’s truly a memorable group of players and arguably the best Hall of Fame classes of all-time. The fact that all five modern-day players were selected within their first three years of eligiblity, including three first-ballot inductees, would point to that.

“I’m glad I didn’t have to vote for this class,” said Urlacher. “It’s a great class.

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