Before enshrinement, Hall of Famers busy signing

Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson signs helmets for NFL Auctions at the McKinley Grand Hotel in Canton. (Ben Liebenberg / NFL.com)

Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson signs helmets for NFL Auctions at the McKinley Grand Hotel in Canton. (Ben Liebenberg / NFL.com)

CANTON, Ohio — There are more than 80 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame here for this weekend’s enshrinement festivities, almost all of them staying at the McKinley Grand Hotel in downtown Canton. Which happens to be where the NFL Auctions crew has set up shop.

The memorabilia signed this weekend by the Hall of Famers will be sold on NFL Auctions, with proceeds going to the Hall’s Enshrinees Assistance Foundation, benefiting the older Hall of Famers and their families who are in need of financial assistance.

More than 30 returning Hall of Famers already passed through the auctions room Thursday afternoon, including John Madden, Fred Biletnikoff, Jim Kelly, Joe DeLamielleure, Bobby Bell and Class of 2009 honorees Bruce Smith and Randall McDaniel. Today is the big day, as most of the remaining guys will pass through this morning or this afternoon, after the Ray Nitschke Luncheon to honor the incoming class. Early visitors to the room Friday morning included Art Donovan, Tommy McDonald, and Ralph Wilson.

The Auctions room transforms into a reunion hall of sorts, a place where these NFL legends catch up and swap stories before Saturday’s enshrinement celebration.

– Craig Ellenport

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