The 2009 Hall of Fame class was introduced on Saturday: Bob Hayes, Randall McDaniel, Bruce Smith, Derrick Thomas, Ralph Wilson Jr. and Rod Woodson.
From the Pro Football Hall of Fame:
- When Bob Hayes arrived on the pro football scene in 1965, he had already earned athletic stardom having won a pair of gold medals in the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. His medal-winning performance in the 100 meters competition earned him the title “World’s Fastest Human.” But for the Dallas Cowboys, the team that drafted him in the seventh round of the 1964 NFL Draft, the question lingered, “could a track man succeed in a contact sport like pro football?” The answer came quickly as the rookie’s 46 receptions for 1,003 yards led all Cowboys receivers. MORE
- The Minnesota Vikings used their first-round selection (19th overall) in the 1988 NFL Draft on guard Randall McDaniel, an All-America and four-year starter from Arizona State. McDaniel, who immediately earned a starting role with the Vikings, played in all 16 games in his rookie season, 15 as a starter. His efforts were recognized that year as he was selected to several all-rookie teams and named a second-team All-NFC pick. MORE
- Bruce Smith was a dominant player during his 19 playing seasons with the Buffalo Bills (1985-1999) and the Washington Redskins (2000-03). His speed and strength made him one of the most feared defensive ends in the modern game. Teams routinely double-, if not triple-teamed the former Outland Trophy winner and Virginia Tech All-America. MORE
- The Kansas City Chiefs selected linebacker Derrick Thomas as the fourth player overall in the 1989 National Football League Draft. A consensus All-America and Dick Butkus Award winner at Alabama, Thomas excelled as a pass rusher who set the school record for sacks. MORE
- Ralph Wilson was the man responsible for reintroducing pro football to Western New York when, as one of the original owners in the American Football League, he formed the Buffalo Bills in 1959. As the undeniable leader of the Bills, Wilson continues to play a major role among National Football League franchise owners as “the voice of reason,” for his ability to tackle some of the NFL’s toughest issues. MORE
- Rod Woodson did it all during his college career at Purdue. He played running back and wide receiver on offense, played cornerback and safety on defense, and returned punts and kickoffs. As a result, it was no surprise when the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted the modern-day “triple threat” star in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft. MORE