2015 NFL Hall of Fame class: Bettis, Brown, Haley, Seau elected

Aug 8, 2015 9:44 PM by CBS Sports - Igor Mello

Jerome Bettis, Junior Seau, Charles Haley, Tim Brown, Will Shields, Bill Polian, Ron Wolf, Mick Tingelhoff are all headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Those eight will be officially inducted on Aug. 9 in Canton.

Marvin Harrison, Terrell Davis, Orlando Pace, Kurt Warner and John Lynch were among the notable players that did not make the cut. Tony Dungy and Jimmy Johnson were notable coaches left out of the 2015 class.

The 46-person selection committee gathered for their annual day-before-the-Super Bowl meeting to discuss and debate the merits of the 18 finalists, before selecting the newest class of enshrinees. According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the selection process took nearly nine hours. The announcement was made during the fourth annual NFL Honors awards show.

Junior Seau: Selected No. 5 overall by the San Diego Chargers in the 1990 NFL Draft, Seau made 12 trips to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl and was a first-team All-Pro eight times over his 20 years in the league. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1992, and selected to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s. Seau came closest to a Super Bowl trophy in 1994 with the Chargers and in 2007 with the 16-0 New England Patriots. Seau committed suicide with a gunshot wound to the chest in 2012 at the age of 43. Later studies showed that Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Jerome Bettis: Bettis, 42, was selected by the Los Angeles Rams as the 10th overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft. Two of his eight 1,000-yard rushing seasons came during his three-year tenure with the Rams. Bettis joined the Steelers in 1996 where he became a fan favorite, earning the nickname "The Bus." Bettis currently ranks sixth on the NFL's all-time career rushing yardage list (13,662). He retired in 2006 after he and the Steelers won Super Bowl XL in his native Detroit, Mich.. The six-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro was a Hall of Fame finalist since 2011.

Charles Haley: Haley, 51, was a finalist since 2010, and had to wait longer than he should have. The five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro pick is currently the only player to win five Super Bowls, winning two with the 49ers and three with the Cowboys. In his 13 NFL seasons (eight with San Francisco, five with Dallas), Haley recorded 100.5 sacks, two interceptions and eight fumble recoveries. He is one of 31 players to be part of the illustrious 100 Sack Club.

Tim Brown: Brown, 48, has been a finalist since 2010, but seemed headed there eventually. While playing for Notre Dame, Brown became the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy in 1987. Brown was the No. 6 overall selection in the 1988 NFL Draft and took the league by storm breaking a rookie-season record for most combined yards gained, with 2,317. He played 17 seasons in the NFL and ranks fifth on the all-time career receiving yards list (14,934). The nine-time Pro Bowler is oldest player ever to score a touchdown on special teams, and the oldest player to register 12-plus catches in a single game (36 years, 97 days). He also holds the record for most consecutive games with more than one reception (147 games). Brown came closest to a Super Bowl trophy in 2002 when the Oakland Raiders lost Super Bowl XXXVII to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers .

Will Shields: Shields, 43, is a 12-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro offensive guard. Drafted in the third round of the 1993 NFL Draft, spent all his 14 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, blocking for notable 1,000-yard rushers Marcus Allen, Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson. He started all but one of his 224 games at guard, which helped him earn NFL 2000s All-Decade Team honors, despite failing to win a championship.

Mick Tingelhoff: Tingelhoff, 74, was the only nominee from the senior committee. Considers one of the best centers of that era, Tingelhoff made 240 consecutive games for Bud Grant's Vikings, playing in all four of Minnesota's Super Bowls in the '70s and winning an NFL Championship in 1969 (prior to the merger). He is 16th former Vikings player to make it to Canton.

Ron Wolf: Wolf, 76, was one of the two finalists from the newly added Contributors category with former Buffalo Bills general manager and Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian. Wolf is arguably known as one of the most successful finest personnel men in the history of the game. He spent 23 seasons with the Radiers, saving a franchise that was going nowhere. The Raiders posted a winning record in all but six years during that span. He practically played a role in all three of the Raiders' Super Bowl victories (1976, 1980, 1983). Wolf also had a 10-year tenure with the Green Bay Packers where he helped the franchise turn things around by hiring Mike Holmgrem as coach trading for quarterback Brett Favre in 1992. The Packers won Super Bowl XXXI against the Patriots and lost a year later in Super Bowl XXXII to the Broncos.

Bill Polian: Polian, 72, was one of the two finalists from the newly added Contributors category with former Green Bay Packers general manager Ron Wolf. Polian had a reputation for building franchises into dominant playoff teams, leading the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the early '90s. He left Buffalo to become the GM of the Carolina Panthers in 1995-1997, where he led them to the NFC Championship Game in only Carolina's second year of existence. Polian became the president of the Indianapolis Colts in 1998, and drafted Peyton Manning with the No. 1 overall pick of that draft. He led Indianapolis to their first Super Bowl appearance in 36 years, defeating the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI. His contributions over his 32 years in the NFL resulted in five Super Bowl appearances.


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