Six elected into pro Hall of Fame
Bruce Smith (shown above), Rod Woodson and Derrick Thomas, all witnesses for the defense. All Pro Football Hall of Famers.
The three were elected on Saturday along with longtime Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson, who at age 90 will be the oldest person inducted; former Minnesota guard Randall McDaniel; and the late Bob Hayes, a standout wide receiver for Dallas and the 1964 Olympic 100 meters gold medalist.
Inductions will be Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio.
The moist poignant moment, however, came when Hayes’ sister, Lucille Hester, read from a thank-you letter Hayes left in case he made the hall. He died in 2002.
“It didn’t matter how long it took. … The day is here, and it is historic,” she said.
A defensive end, Smith retired five years ago with 200 sacks and made two all-decade teams.
Woodson, the 1993 defensive player of the year, led the NFL in interceptions in 1999 with Baltimore and 2002 with Oakland, and in kickoff returns (27.3-yard average) in 1989 with Pittsburgh.Woodson is the career leader in interception returns for touchdowns with 12.
Thomas, who died nine years ago after an auto accident while still an active player, was the 1989 defensive rookie of the year. He is 11th in career sacks with 126 1/2 .
The long wait for Hayes to get into the hall – he was a senior committee choice – had much to do with problems he had off the field.
Hayes served 10 months in a Texas prison after pleading guilty in 1979 to delivering narcotics to an undercover officer. That “destroyed my life” Hayes wrote in his autobiography, “Run, Bullet, Run: The Rise, Fall, and Recovery of Bob Hayes.” The prison term ended at about the same time he first became eligible for the hall.
Barbaro’s brother finishes 10th
Nicanor’s debut wasn’t one to remember.
Hurting himself on his first stride, the 3-year-old full brother of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro finished 10th of 12 horses in a 1-mile maiden race at Gulfstream Park in Florida, hardly an encouraging step toward what his connections hoped would be a journey into this year’s Triple Crown races.
Under jockey Edgar Prado, who was aboard ill-fated Barbaro three years ago, Nicanor made a move near the half-mile mark but never got close to the lead and eventually slowed to little more than a gallop, beaten 25 lengths by 30-1 shot Warrior’s Reward.
But really, it was over at the start, when Nicanor essentially stumbled over his own feet.
“The back of his foot grabbed his quarter coming out of the gate,” said co-owner Roy Jackson. “It’ll be a bit painful. … But we got the first race in him, and we’ll go from here.”
Nicanor’s debut came two years and two days after Barbaro, who shattered his right hind leg in the Preakness, was euthanized because of complications from that injury.