Friday, Aug 1, 2014, the National Football League officially begins the festivities for the annual "Hall of Fame Weekend". On Saturday, Aug 2, 2014, the best part of the NFL's "Hall of Fame Weekend" will take place. This is the night when the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame class will be formally inducted. This year's class includes LB Derrick Brooks (TB), DL Claude Humphrey (ATL, PHI), OT Walter Jones (SEA), WR Andre Reed (BUF/WAS), DL Michael Strahan (NYG), DB Aeneas Williams (AZ, StL), and finally after so many years, P Ray Guy (OAK). Guy will become the first punter ever inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Everyone who watched Ray Guy in action, knows he should have been in the HoF years ago. In fact, it was a no-brainer.
Guy was the first punter ever drafted in the first round (23rd overall 1973), excelled at directional punting, and the term "hang time" was practically invented because of him. He was All-Pro six years straight (1973-78), and was 2nd team All-Pro in 1979 and 1980. He was also named to the "1970's All-decade team".
Guy's punts were so high, and hung for so long, that there was once even an accusation that there was helium in the ball.
Congratulations are in order for the entire 2014 class, but especially for Ray Guy. Also, be prepared to forgive him if he shows any bitterness during his speech; that can happen when one has been slighted for so long.
The induction ceremony will air live on ESPN2, Saturday night, Aug 2, from 4:00-7:00 pm PT. The ESPN network has aired the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies since 1995, and will continue to do so, at least thru 2020.
*2014 NFL Training camp injury update - 1) Brent Urban (DL) Baltimore Ravens: Torn ACL; out for season. 2) Donald Thomas (G) Indianapolis Colts: Torn quadriceps; out for season. Both injuries were reported on July 31.
Ray Guy - Oakland Raiders
After so many years, the punter who revolutionized the position, will finally get his due. Welcome to Canton, Ray Guy. Guy only had 3 punts blocked in his entire career, and pioneered directional punting.
Claude was defensive Rookie of the year in 1968 with the Atlanta Falcons. Between 1971-77, he was five times a 1st team All-Pro. He joined the Philadelphia Eagles in 1979. In 1980, his 14.5 sacks helped lead the Eagles to Super Bowl XV. Claude then played one more season before retiring with a career total of 126.5 sacks.
Derrick Brooks - Tampa Bay
Derrick Brooks (HoF 2014) anchored the linebackers, leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a resounding victory in SBXXXVII - Brooks was All-Pro for nine seasons straight (1997-2005). Brooks was named to the NFL 2000's All-Decade team
Walter Jones - Seattle Seahawks
Big Walter paved the way for running back Shaun Alexander, leading the Seahawks to Super Bowl XL. Jones was a 1st team All-Pro six times, and played in nine Pro Bowls. Jones was a member of the NFL 2000's All-Decade team.
Aeneas Williams - AZ/St Louis
After many years in AZ, Aeneas finally had a shot at glory, with the St. Louis Rams. Here he is guarding Troy Brown in Super Bowl XXXVI. His team came up just short, as Adam Vinatieri kicked a game-winning FG as time expired.
Andre Reed - BUF/WAS
Andre Reed had 951 total catches in a 15 year career. Reed appeared in four straight Super Bowls (1990-1993). He played on a Buffalo team with Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly, and HoF defensive end Bruce Smith. Reed spent the last season of his career, with Washington.
Michael Strahan - NY Giants
Michael finally got his Super Bowl ring in the 2007 season. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler, and still holds the NFL record for sacks in a single season (22.5), and holds the NY Giants record for career sacks (141.5).