Derrick Brooks headlines HOF class


NEW YORK -- In a nod to both the excellence of those who were in their first years of eligibility as well as those who waited some time for their turns, former Seattle Seahawks tackle Walter Jones, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks and former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2014 on Saturday.

Also voted in were former wide receiver Andre Reed and cornerback Aeneas Williams, as well as defensive end Claude Humphrey and Ray Guy, the first punter ever to make the Hall.

Jones and Brooks were in their first years of eligibility. Guy and Humphrey were both finalists chosen by the Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee.

The class was selected after a nine-hour meeting of the Hall of Fame's Board of Selectors, believed to be the longest-ever meeting of the group.

Induction will be on Aug. 1, in Canton, Ohio.

Brooks was chosen for 11 Pro Bowls in 14 seasons with the Buccaneers, was a five-time first-team All Pro by the Associated Press, and was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2002. He was equally respected off the field, having won the 2000 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

"I guess I can't bring my teammates in with me, but their spirits are," Brooks said. "I guess it's OK to accept this award on my personal behalf, but I'm always thinking of those guys."

Brooks returned an interception for a touchdown in Super Bowl XXXVIII, and he returned three interceptions for touchdowns in the 2002 season.

He took to Twitter after he learned he was headed to Canton.

Jones was a nine-time Pro Bowler as well as a four-time first-team All Pro selection by the AP. After the Seahawks selected Jones sixth overall in the 1997 draft, he started all 180 games he played for Seattle in his 12 seasons. He was whistled for holding only nine times in 5,703 pass plays, and allowed only 23 sacks in his career. He was voted to the NFL All-Decade team for the 2000s.

"It's been a long journey for me to be at this point," Jones said. "Coming into the league, all I wanted to do was get here and play in this game to say I could play in this game. For me to be here now, and for my team that I started with and finished with to be in the Super Bowl, is just like the icing on the cake. It has been fun, and I'm enjoying the moment and just taking it all in."

Reed, who had been an eight-time finalist for the Hall, was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and the Buffalo Bills' leading receiver in each of their four Super Bowl seasons. He also ranks fifth in NFL history with 85 postseason receptions and found a way to produce in a Bills offense that ran the ball 51 percent of the time during his career.

"I'll think about my dad, who's up there, too, and all the games he was at and how he supported me, and all the people who watched me since I was 8 years old," Reed said. "You try to put that all in one emotion."

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