2014 Hall of Fame  


Brandt's Hall of Fame blog


NOTE: Gil Brandt is in Canton for this weekend's Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremonies, and will be chiming in throughout the weekend with updates and anecdotes:

Thursday, July 31, 4:30 p.m. ET

Sign here

The majority of the 70 or so returning Hall of Famers don't roll into town until Friday, but it seems as if those who are here have all stopped by the NFL Auctions signing room at the McKinley Grand Hotel in downtown Canton. By Thursday afternoon, NFL Auctions -- which will auction off memorabilia to benefit the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Enshrinees Assistance Fund -- had already been visited by:

Quite a Class

The Class of 2008 may be the most unique in the 45-year history of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Among the six enshrinees, you will find:

The 13th undrafted free agent to make it to the Hall (Emmitt Thomas)… a black belt in karate (Andre Tippett)… a Div. II player (Darrell Green)… a finalist in the Hall voting for seven consecutive years before finally getting in (Art Monk)… two players who almost never made it to the NFL (Fred Dean, Gary Zimmerman).

One thing they all had in common: They were scouted by Gil Brandt coming out of college. Here are observations and recollections of each:

» Fred Dean                » Darrell Green
» Art Monk                 » Emmitt Thomas
» Andre Tippett         » Gary Zimmerman

Don Maynard, Carl Eller, Andre Tippett, Bob St. Clair, John Madden, Bobby Mitchell, Charley Taylor, Joe DeLamielleure, Nick Buoniconti, Fred Biletnikoff, Billy Shaw, Dave Wilcox, Jim Taylor, Joe Perry, Leroy Kelly and Bobby Bell.

Those in the room when Tippett walked in were quick to congratulate a member of this year's class. Tippett was with his 10-year-old son, Coby, who was anxious to get to the pool after his dad finished signing. But when Coby learned that his dad would receive a $250 gift certificate to the Hall of Fame store for signing, Coby had a change of plans.

Before the Tippetts left, though, Coby started collecting some autographs of his own -- when Buoniconti signed his football, he informed Coby that he and his dad were both members of the Patriots Hall of Fame.

Typical scene here in the hotel: While Biletnikoff was signing helmets, a hotel employee walked in, handed him an envelope, and said, "Mr. Biletnikoff, here are the keys for your room. And by the way, you were my father's favorite player. He's got pictures of you and everything."

As St. Clair signed footballs, someone asked him about his brief acting career -- St. Clair, who coached the Chicago Bears after his Hall of Fame playing career, played the head coach of the Minnesota Americans in "Any Given Sunday."

St. Clair recalled that Oliver Stone told him he didn't need a script -- "Just go out there and say whatever a coach would say," St. Clair recalled. So he did.

"Cut!!" yelled Stone after St. Clair went into a profanity-laced tirade. "What's the matter?" St. Clair asked. "You told me to say what a coach says."

Don Maynard was a big hit during his stay in the Auctions room. Before he left, he posed for photos and one of the NFL employees onhand, a big Jets fan, said to Maynard: "You just made my weekend." Upon hearing that, Joe Perry's wife turned around and said, "Is that really all it takes?"



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