Former NFL player Jerry Kramer delivers his induction speech at the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

The Latest: Lombardi Era guard Kramer inducted into hall

August 04, 2018 - 8:16 pm

The latest on Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions Saturday in Canton, Ohio, and Terrell Owens' separate celebration in Chattanooga, Tennessee (all times local):

8:20 p.m.

The long, long wait for Jerry Kramer has ended. At last, the star guard of the Green Bay Packers has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

A senior committee nominee, Kramer became eligible in 1974 after 11 seasons with the Packers in which he won five NFL championships and two Super Bowls. Now 82, he admitted to being bitter when often passed over for the hall, but that any such feelings "disappeared" when he got in this year.

Kramer noted the Packers went 1-10-1, the worst record in their history, when he was a rookie.

"Coach Lombardi arrived and the world turned around," said Kramer, one of the anchors of the vaunted Green Bay offensive line under Vince Lombardi, and the guy who sprung the block to lead Bart Starr's quarterback sneak to win the Ice Bowl against Dallas for the 1967 conference title. The Packers then won a second straight Super Bowl.

Kramer also spent some time placekicking for Green Bay. He made five All-Pro squads, the NFL's 50th Anniversary Team, NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s and the Super Bowl Silver Anniversary Team.

He paid tribute to learning the importance of "preparation, commitment, discipline, consistency, pride, tenacity, belief in your team and belief in yourself."

"It was an incredible experience to be with him and have him bring you along," he said of Lombardi. "Approval and belief: powerful, powerful tools."


7:40 p.m.

Bobby Beathard, who won four Super Bowls as a team executive and drafted four Pro Football Hall of Famers, has entered the hall himself.

A contributor's committee nominee, Beathard worked for the Chiefs, Falcons, Dolphins, Redskins and Chargers. He won NFL titles each with Miami, including the perfect 1972 season, and Washington — where he hired fellow Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs as coach. He also helped Kansas City and San Diego make Super Bowls.

As a scout and general manager, Beathard spent much of his time on the road seeking talent for his teams. He has said he saw in person every player he selected, and particularly bragged about getting Texas A&M-Kingsville cornerback Darrell Green with the 28th overall pick in 1983. Green played 20 seasons in Washington, winning two championships.

Beathard's speech was delivered via video, although he was on stage with Gibbs, who presented him for induction.

"I'm really grateful for this honor," said Beathard, who retired after the 1999 season, ending a decade with the Chargers. He was with the Redskins the previous 11 seasons.


7:30 p.m.

Dr. Doom has entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Robert Brazile, who earned that nickname by playing in all 147 games for the Houston Oilers in his 10-year NFL career, has been inducted into the Canton shrine.

Forcefully, Brazile, who kissed his bust when it was unveiled, spoke of his upbringing in a "house filled with love" and how he and Walter Payton made history by being selected in the first-round of the same draft from a historically black college.

A senior committee nominee, Brazile was drafted sixth overall out of Jackson State, two picks behind his teammate. He made such an immediate pro impact he was the 1975 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and went on to five All-Pro seasons as one of the game's most versatile linebackers. He was in on a stunning 185 tackles in 1978.

Presented by his father, also named Robert, Brazile made the 1970s NFL All-Decade Team. He retired in 1984 and became a special education teacher.

"When they knocked on my door," he said of finding out in February he had finally made the hall, "all of my dreams came true. And after all these years, I'm at home."


4:55 p.m.

Terrell Owens spent 39 minutes explaining why he was in Chattanooga alone and not in Canton with the seven other members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who are being inducted at night.

"In closing, I will leave you with this," Owens said. "There was a guy by the name of William James and he said the great lease of life is to spend it on something that outlasts it. My legacy starts today.

"Thank you so much, Chattanooga."

Owens had his gold jacket and wore it at his personal celebration. Owens didn't attend the dinner in Canton on Friday night, where the other seven members of the class of 2018 got their jackets. But he had someone pick it up and bring it to Tennessee for his ceremony.

He originally wore a dark suit decorated with the hall logo when he entered McKenzie Arena at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he attended college.

— Teresa M. Walker reporting from Chattanooga.


4:20 p.m.

Terrell Owens says he wants to address the elephant in the room on his reasons for celebrating his induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame 600 miles away from Canton, Ohio.

Owens says his character has been heavily challenged and questioned for years, but he wants to put truth to power or power to truth. He says he chose avoid Canton not because of how many times it took for him to be voted into the Hall of Fame.

He says it's the fact that sports writers are not aligned with the mission and core values of the Hall of Fame. Owens says the writers disregarded the system, criteria and bylaws and ultimately the true meaning of the hall. He says he wants to take a stand so the next guy coming after him won't have to wait three years or 45 years to get what was rightfully earned.

Owens came out wearing a dark suit smattered with the logo of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When his time to speak came, a woman came out with a gold jacket. Owens slipped on the gold jacket before a standing ovation from at least 2,500 fans at McKenzie Arena at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

He wiped tears from his eyes as fans cheered him and chanted "T.O., T.O."

The NFL Network showed a replay of the Chicago-Baltimore preseason game during Owens' celebration.


3:20 p.m.

Terrell Owens will look out and see lots of his No. 81 jerseys in the stands at McKenzie Arena when he makes his personal induction speech for the Pro Football Hall of Fame at his alma mater.

His No. 81 shirts from Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas are scattered around the arena where Owens played basketball while at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He played on two NCAA Tournament teams along with playing football and running track.

Johnny Taylor, the 17th pick overall by Orlando in the 1997 NBA Draft, is among the former teammates on hand for Owens' moment.

Taylor says he was a little surprised Owens decided not go to Canton. But Taylor says that's what he loves about T.O.: The man always does things his way. Taylor is excited that Owens is doing this in the city and at the university where he played. Taylor says that speaks volumes to the person Owens is even if other people think differently.

Three of Owens' college coaches are due to speak at the ceremony: former Chattanooga receivers coach Frankie DeBusk, former basketball coach Mack McCarthy, and former football coach Buddy Green. From the NFL, Owens has two former position coaches here in Larry Kirksey and Ray Sherman.

— Teresa M. Walker reporting from Chattanooga.


2:20 p.m.

Renee Davis of Philadelphia is exactly where she wants to be for the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies. She's in Chattanooga for Terrell Owens and not in Canton where she had tickets for this year's inductions.

Davis says she bought those tickets to see Owens. When the mercurial Owens announced he would be at his alma mater Saturday and not Canton, Davis sold those tickets and planned her trip to Tennessee. She is wearing Owens' No. 80 jersey from playing for Chattanooga that she has had since he was a rookie with San Francisco.

She was through the doors a minute after they opened at McKenzie Arena. Davis says she's hoping for an autograph and selfie with the man she sees as the best NFL wide receiver ever.

Joe Stukes of Nashville arrived two hours before the doors opened. A Dallas fan, Stukes is wearing Owens' No. 81 Cowboys jersey and says the decision to speak in Tennessee gives him the chance to see Owens' Hall of Fame speech in person.

— AP Pro Football Writer Teresa M. Walker reporting from Chattanooga, Tennessee.


11 a.m.

Seven members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's class of 2018 will be on hand Saturday night in Canton for the induction festivities, along with more than 20,000 fans.

About 600 miles away in Chattanooga, the eighth new Hall of Famer, Terrell Owens, will be doing his own thing. Again.

Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Brian Dawkins, Brian Urlacher, Jerry Kramer, Robert Brazile and Bobby Beathard will be at Tom Benson Stadium for the festivities. Expect some rousing speeches, plenty of hugging and lots of tears — Dawkins, for one, has guaranteed the crying. He and Brazile had wet eyes Friday night when they got their gold jackets at a dinner.

Owens has made the unprecedented move of deciding not to attend the inductions at the Canton shrine. He'll have an event at the college he attended.

Dawkins, who played two seasons with Owens in Philadelphia, says: "That's T.O." He says he's "disappointed" the wide receiver won't be on hand, saying, "I would love for him to be here."


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