Aug. 6 (UPI) — The Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted eight new members Saturday in an enshrinement ceremony held inside the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
The members of the 2022 class include players Tony Boselli, Cliff Branch, LeRoy Butler, Sam Mills, Richard Seymour and Bryant Young as well as coach Dick Vermeil and Art McNally, the first official to be inducted, according to the museum’s website.
Attendees were entertained by actor and producer Keegan-Michael Key who interacted with the famed athletes and their families in between speeches from the inductees.
In a particularly moving moment of the ceremony, Young dedicated part of his speech to his son Colby who died of cancer in 2016 at the age of 15.
Young, 50, was a first-round draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 1994 and served as a defensive tackle on the team until 2007. He is still widely considered to be among the best defensive tackles in NFL history.
“Colby loved life, he had an infectious smile and many interests including football. He was a happy kid,” Young said. “Colby, you live on in our hearts. We will always speak your name.”
Seymour, a long-time member of the New England Patriots and now a professional poker player, made fun of Tom Brady during his speech.
“We had a young quarterback but we made it work,” quipped the 42-year-old Seymour, who was drafted by the head coach Bill Belichick of the Patriots in 2001. Brady, 45, was drafted by the team in 2000.
Seymour ended up winning three Super Bowl rings with Brady and the Patriots until he was traded to the Oakland Raiders. Like Young, he is considered one of the best defensive tackles in NFL history.
Brady, who won six Super Bowls in 20 seasons with the Patriots, wrote in a letter to the Selection Committee obtained by WCVB that Seymour’s ability to play anywhere on the defensive line was crucial to the success of the Patriots.
“I’ve never seen an All-Pro volunteer for those roles as eagerly as Richard did. He was the epitome of a team-first player,” Brady wrote.
“It’s hard to imagine that the New England Patriots would have won our first three Super Bowls without him. He was a cornerstone of that Patriots dynasty and deserves to be recognized for his contributions to football history.”
LeRoy Butler, a legendary safety for the Green Bay Packers who helped the team defeat the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI, said in a press release from the Hall of Fame that he was “lucky” he was able to play football after being pigeon-toed as a child and requiring a wheelchair.
“I was so lucky,” Butler said. “It made me say to myself, ‘Self, why is God choosing you to navigate these rough waters, but he keeps giving you these great people?’ You’ve got to listen.”
Tony Boselli is the first member of Florida’s Jacksonville Jaguars to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 16 years after he became eligible for the honor.
“I’m going to have a bronze bust in Canton for the rest of time,” Boselli said.
“My grandkids and their grandkids are going to be able to visit Canton and say ‘Hey, that was my great-great granddad,’ you know? To be amongst all the great players who ever played the game is mind-boggling to me.”