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Huge names voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame

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The single greatest individual honor any athlete can receive is to be voted into his sport’s Hall of Fame. It signifies that you are the best of the best in your sport, and unlike an MVP award, it is based on your entire career.

On the night before Super Bowl LII, eight men received that honor and will receive a gold jacket at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August.

Those men are:

• Linebacker Ray Lewis

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• Linebacker Brian Urlacher

• Wide receiver Randy Moss

• Wide receiver Terrell Owens

• Safety Brian Dawkins

Did the voters get it right?

• Linebacker Robert Brazile

• Guard Jerry Kramer

• Executive Bobby Beathard

The first five names are the headliners and were all voted in by the selection committee.

Brazile and Kramer got in as senior finalists, and Beathard was elected as a contributor.

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Lewis, Urlacher and Moss are all first-ballot entries, and for good reason.

Lewis won two Super Bowls as the leader of the Ravens’ defense and was the Super Bowl MVP for the 2000 Ravens, who had one of the greatest defenses in NFL history.

He made 13 Pro Bowls and won two Defensive Player of the Year awards. Both of those marks are just one shy of tying the all-time records.

Urlacher was Lewis’ contemporary at middle linebacker and also won a Defensive Player of the Year award. He was a four-time All-Pro, won the 2000 Defensive Rookie of the Year award and made eight Pro Bowls.

A former college safety, Urlacher was one of the most athletic linebackers in the NFL. He is just one of five players to record at least 20 interceptions and 40 sacks over a career.

Moss may have been the most physically gifted player to ever suit up at wide receiver. He was the leading TD scorer on the two highest-scoring teams in NFL history, and he did it nine seasons apart (1998 Vikings and 2007 Patriots).

He owns the records for the most receiving yards and receiving touchdowns by any player before his 30th birthday. Moss ranks second all-time in receiving touchdowns and fourth in receiving yards.

Owens finally makes the Hall of Fame on his third try after making it to the final group in his first two years. He is the only player in NFL history to score a touchdown against all 32 teams and posted 15 straight seasons of 700+ receiving yards.

He ranks second all-time in receiving yards and third in receiving touchdowns. His and Moss’ selections mean that Isaac Bruce is now the eligible receiver with the most receiving touchdowns among non-Hall of Famers.

Dawkins patrolled the secondaries of the Eagles and Broncos for 16 years and made nine Pro Bowls. He and Ronde Barber are the only players in NFL history with at least 35 interceptions and 25 sacks.

Brazile was an outside linebacker under Bum Phillips with the Houston Oilers in the 1970s and 1980s. He made the Pro Bowl in seven out of his 10 NFL seasons and made the 1970s All-Decade team.

Kramer was an offensive guard under Vince Lombardi with the Packers and was pivotal to their famed “power sweep.” He won five NFL championships during the 1960s and in 2009 he was selected by the NFL Network as the best player not in the Hall of Fame.

Beathard was a personnel executive for five different teams and spent 23 years as a general manager. He won two Super Bowls as the director of player personnel with the Dolphins and two more as the GM of the Redskins. Bobby is also the grandfather of 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard.

Those eight members will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio.

Among those who missed out on this year’s induction are Kevin Mawae, Edgerrin James, Ty Law and John Lynch.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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