Three products of HBCUs Michael Strahan (Texas Southern), Aeneas Williams (Southern) and Claude Humphrey (Tennessee State) will be part of seven new members of the 2014 NFL Hall of Fame. They join Andre Reed, Walter Jones, Ray Guy and Derrick Brooks as the newest immortals headed for enshrinement in Canton. Humphrey and Guy were Veterans Committee candidates.
Strahan set the NFL record for sacks in a single season, getting 22 1/2 in 2001. The one most people remember is the record-setter in the final game of the regular season, when Green Bay’s Brett Favre seemed to lay down on a play late in the game.
While there was controversy about that play, the gap-toothed Strahan was one of the top two-way defensive ends. Younger teammates said he taught them how to work to become NFL players, and he walked away from the NFL after winning the Super Bowl in February 2008.
Williams, a walk-on at Southern University, was a shutdown cornerback in his 14 NFL seasons, the first 10 with the Cardinals and the last four with the Rams. He had 55 career interceptions, getting at least one in every season except his last. He had five or more in picks in six seasons, with nine being his best in 1994.
Williams shared the NFL record for longest fumble return with a 104-yarder for a touchdown against Washington in 2000, his last year with the Cardinals. He started at cornerback for the Rams in the 2001 Super Bowl and played safety in his final two seasons.
For Humphrey, the Hall of Fame doors finally opened on his 28th year of eligibility and his fifth as a finalist. The durable six-time Pro Bowl pick had 122 career sacks in 14 seasons with the Falcons and Eagles, who acquired him after a brief retirement in the 1978 season. His 14 1/2 sacks in 1980 helped the Eagles reach the Super Bowl.