Canton native Dierdorf watches the HOF grow

CANTON, Ohio — The Pro Football Hall of Fame, one day before it enshrines its Class of 2011, broke ground on its most ambitious expansion yet.

Dubbed the “Future 50 Expansion and Renovation Project,” the work will be completed in 2013 — in time to celebrate the Hall’s 50th anniversary.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place on the front steps of the Hall, with dozens of returning Hall of Famers on hand. That included Canton native Dan Dierdorf — who was on hand as a kid to witness the original groundbreaking of the Hall in 1962.

“I was 13 years old when I stood here … with my father,” Dierdorf said. “I used to ride my bike down here when the Hall was still under construction.”

Dierdorf said he wondered what it would be like, but never imagined he’d someday be in the Hall himself.

“Who can ever dream of being in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?” he said.

Dierdorf spoke directly to fans in the group from Canton.

“I know how deeply woven into the fabric of this city the Pro Football Hall of Fame is,” he said.

Citing the hundreds of local volunteers who work tirelessly to help the weekend go smoothly, Dierdorf marveled at “the way this city bleeds for the Hall of Fame.”

How big was today’s event? Rock and Roll Hall of Fame soul group and Canton natives The O’Jays sang the National Anthem to kick things off.

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