The big night has finally arrived for the 2021 class of Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees. Below is a recap of a celebratory Sunday evening in Canton.
"I had the biggest afro in NFL history. That's probably the biggest one that'll be on a bust at the Hall of Fame."
"Thank you, Roger Staubach for what you have meant to my NFL career as my quarterback for eight seasons but not only that, to my life for 50-plus years that I've known you. Thank you today for being my presenter into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This confirms it, the wait is ova! Ova! How about that? The original No. 88 being presented for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame by my Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach. Wow!"
"Did I make mistakes? Yes, I did. I got cuts, I got scars, I got scrapes and bruises along the way. But I own all of them. I own all of them because they're all my mistakes. I did it my way and I did it the hard way. So, tonight, don't just honor the man. Tonight, honor the mission, as well. Don't judge me by reaching the heights of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, rather judge me by the depths from which I've come."
"The reason I'm second in the order tonight is because I'm 84 frappin years old, I gotta go to bed at 9 o'clock. Where's my pillow?"
"I want to thank the Raider organization. They've been incredible. Raider Nation is everywhere ... there's no better group of people or no better place to have your second home." -- Flores on being involved with the Raiders in various roles over the past 55 years.
"To everyone I played the game with and everyone who's played for me, you're my other family. Football is a world that we share with a powerful bond ... Today on this stage, we're all on one team, one team of gold jackets. This is a very emotional day for me. I've been blessed with a great life doing the work that I love with people that I love and adore. I was always happy in the world of football -- and now, because of this honor, I'll be part of it forever. You realize that? That is incredible."
"My good friend Tom Brady is here tonight. By the time Tom Brady is inducted, in his first year of eligibility in the year 2035, he'll only have time to post his acceptance speech on his Instagram account"
"In my youth in New Orleans and in Newman School, football carved out a place for my favorite quarterback, my hero, my role model, my dad, Archie Manning to pass on something he loved to me. Dad, there's no one I would rather have or would be appropriate than you to welcome me to this stage. My dad enabled me to play ball with my brothers, Cooper and Eli -- the two best brothers a guy could ask for. And it gave my mom plenty of reasons to both beef me up and patch me up. You talk about lucking out with the most loving mother who could also break down a Cover 2 defense as well as any NFL quarterback."
"To Jim Irsay and the Indianapolis Colts organization, my gratitude is off the charts. You drafted me in 1998 and it was a joy and a privilege to represent the horseshoe. And to Pat Bowlen, the Bowlen family and the Denver Broncos organization, you took a chance on me at a crucial moment in my career and I will never forget it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
"I don't know about you but I'm not done with this game. I never will be. I'm committed to ensuring its future and I hope you will join me in that commitment. ... when we leave this stage tonight, it is no longer about us. It is about cultivating the game that has given so much to us. It's about nurturing football to live and thrive another day, another year, decade and another generation. ... The audience here tonight is made up of die-hard fans who feel football deep in your bones. Now, we may have ignited the fire, but you have fanned the flames. Inevitably, those flames will be whipped by the winds of change but they don't need to smolder. The future of this game is ours to shape. We just need to take tomorrow on our shoulders as readily as we dawned our pads before each game. Let this moment become a cherished memory and then remember, a legacy is only worthwhile when there is a future to fuel. God bless you and God bless football."
"Tonight, I advocate that we take the lead of football and huddle up as a people, as a great nation, let's find the common ground through our shared values. Let's celebrate and learn from our differences."
"In my first year in the NFL, I suffered a serious back injury. It was so bad at the moment, I couldn't feel my legs and I thought my career would be over. But what most don't know is the road to recovery from that back injury that year and the physical and mental I played through well into my career. But going into that second year, despite dealing with the pain and the back injury, I made up my mind that I was going to be the best, most dominant receiver in the NFL every time I stepped onto the football field. A mindset born from once being told I have a little potential. … the pain began to take a toll on my body and my quality of life and it wasn't getting any better and there came a moment when I knew my time in this league, those days were numbered. But I was OK with this because I left it all on the field and enjoyed every moment."
"Lions fans, the city of Detroit, when we were 0-16, you never stopped showing up. You were disappointed but you never stopped showing up. Every week, you showed up and this motivated me to do the same thing for you. You loved me and my family unconditionally over these 15 years. I want you to know Michigan is our home, Detroit is our city and Lions fans are our pride."
"I have always told myself and spoken about the fact that epilepsy is part of me but it does not define me. We are in charge of our destiny. I never want any health challenge to define us, we must define ourselves."
"They say, 'a woman can't raise a man.' I call (expletive). My momma raised two of them."
"I grew up an hour and a half west from here in Fremont, Ohio. It's where I picked up my first pair of cleats to play this great game that we play. And I feel like it's so fitting that today, I put those cleats down for the last time here in Canton, Ohio and I walk into the Hall of Fame."