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Strahan expects emotions to flow at Hall of Fame induction

  • FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2008, file photo, New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan celebrates after the Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14 in the Super Bowl XLII football game in Glendale, Ariz. While Strahan was a game-changer on the field, he was making his mark elsewhere with his gregarious personality, gap-toothed smile and willingness to step out of his comfort zone. He became a regular in commercials,  (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2008, file photo, New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan celebrates after the Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14 in the Super Bowl XLII football game in Glendale, Ariz. While Strahan was a game-changer on the field, he was making his mark elsewhere with his gregarious personality, gap-toothed smile and willingness to step out of his comfort zone. He became a regular in commercials, (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

  • FILE - In this Sept. 26, 1999 file photo, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Andre Reed makes his 900th career reception with Philadelphia Eagles corner back Bobby Taylor defending during the game at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. Reed awaits induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, and says the eight-year wait didn't feel that long.  (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File) NO SALES MAGS OUT

    FILE - In this Sept. 26, 1999 file photo, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Andre Reed makes his 900th career reception with Philadelphia Eagles corner back Bobby Taylor defending during the game at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. Reed awaits induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, and says the eight-year wait didn't feel that long. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File) NO SALES MAGS OUT

  • FILE - In this Jan. 25, 1981 file photo, Oakland Raiders punter Ray Guy kicks against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XV in New Orleans. Those anxious seconds for punt returners awaiting his booming kicks were nothing compared to the more than two decades Guy had to endure before finally getting the call that he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (AP Photo/File)

    FILE - In this Jan. 25, 1981 file photo, Oakland Raiders punter Ray Guy kicks against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XV in New Orleans. Those anxious seconds for punt returners awaiting his booming kicks were nothing compared to the more than two decades Guy had to endure before finally getting the call that he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (AP Photo/File)

  • This Sept. 10, 1978, photo provided by the NFL shows Atlanta Falcons defensive end Claude Humphrey moving in on Los Angeles Rams quarterback Patrick Haden during a football game in Los Angeles. Humphrey wishes he could have made the Pro Football Hall of Fame “a long time ago where I could have actually enjoyed it more.” (AP Photo/NFL Photos)

    This Sept. 10, 1978, photo provided by the NFL shows Atlanta Falcons defensive end Claude Humphrey moving in on Los Angeles Rams quarterback Patrick Haden during a football game in Los Angeles. Humphrey wishes he could have made the Pro Football Hall of Fame “a long time ago where I could have actually enjoyed it more.” (AP Photo/NFL Photos)

  • FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2003 file photo, St. Louis Rams' Aeneas Williams celebrates after a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns, in Cleveland. Aeneas Williams spent most of his pro career on bad teams.That didn’t prevent him from pursuing excellence, becoming one of the best cornerbacks in the game and earning a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame.  (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2003 file photo, St. Louis Rams' Aeneas Williams celebrates after a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns, in Cleveland. Aeneas Williams spent most of his pro career on bad teams.That didn’t prevent him from pursuing excellence, becoming one of the best cornerbacks in the game and earning a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2006 file photo, NFC Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks holds up the Pro Bowl MVP trophy following the NFC's 23-17 win over the AFC in the NFL football Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. Brooks will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in Canton, Ohio.(AP Photo/Ronen Zilberman, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2006 file photo, NFC Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks holds up the Pro Bowl MVP trophy following the NFC's 23-17 win over the AFC in the NFL football Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. Brooks will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in Canton, Ohio.(AP Photo/Ronen Zilberman, File)

  • FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2006, file photo, Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Walter Jones smiles along the sidelines during NFL football training camp at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash. Jones will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio on Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014.  (AP Photo/Jim Bryant, File)

    FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2006, file photo, Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Walter Jones smiles along the sidelines during NFL football training camp at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash. Jones will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio on Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Jim Bryant, File)

  • FILE - In this May 2, 2014 file photo, Andre Reed is introduced before the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest at the International Exposition Center in Cleveland. Reed awaits induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, and says the eight-year wait didn't feel that long. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

    FILE - In this May 2, 2014 file photo, Andre Reed is introduced before the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest at the International Exposition Center in Cleveland. Reed awaits induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, and says the eight-year wait didn't feel that long. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

  • FILE - This Dec. 7, 2004 file photo shows Ray Guy, from Southern Mississippi University, attending the National Football Foundation's College Hall of Fame class of 2004 induction dinner in New York. On Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, the famed Raiders punter Ray Guy is hoping for the NFL Hall of Fame call. If he's elected, he would be the first punter enshrined in the 280-member club. (AP Photo/John Marshall Mantel, file)

    FILE - This Dec. 7, 2004 file photo shows Ray Guy, from Southern Mississippi University, attending the National Football Foundation's College Hall of Fame class of 2004 induction dinner in New York. On Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, the famed Raiders punter Ray Guy is hoping for the NFL Hall of Fame call. If he's elected, he would be the first punter enshrined in the 280-member club. (AP Photo/John Marshall Mantel, file)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 14, 1999 file photo, Arizona Cardinals cornerback Aeneas Williams (35) and wide receiver Frank Sanders (81) walk off the field after defeating the Detriot Lions 23-19 in Tempe, Ariz. Williams spent most of his NFL career on bad teams. But that didn't prevent him from pursuing excellence, becoming one of the best cornerbacks in the league and earning a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In his 10 seasons with Arizona, the Cardinals had one winning season.  (AP Photo/Mike Fiala, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 14, 1999 file photo, Arizona Cardinals cornerback Aeneas Williams (35) and wide receiver Frank Sanders (81) walk off the field after defeating the Detriot Lions 23-19 in Tempe, Ariz. Williams spent most of his NFL career on bad teams. But that didn't prevent him from pursuing excellence, becoming one of the best cornerbacks in the league and earning a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In his 10 seasons with Arizona, the Cardinals had one winning season. (AP Photo/Mike Fiala, File)

  • This 1977 photo provided by the NFL shows Atlanta Falcons football player Claude Humphrey. Humphrey wishes he could have made the Pro Football Hall of Fame “a long time ago where I could have actually enjoyed it more.” (AP Photo/NFL Photos)

    This 1977 photo provided by the NFL shows Atlanta Falcons football player Claude Humphrey. Humphrey wishes he could have made the Pro Football Hall of Fame “a long time ago where I could have actually enjoyed it more.” (AP Photo/NFL Photos)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2008, file photo, New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan celebrates after the Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14 in the Super Bowl XLII football game in Glendale, Ariz. While Strahan was a game-changer on the field, he was making his mark elsewhere with his gregarious personality, gap-toothed smile and willingness to step out of his comfort zone. He became a regular in commercials,  (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2008, file photo, New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan celebrates after the Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14 in the Super Bowl XLII football game in Glendale, Ariz. While Strahan was a game-changer on the field, he was making his mark elsewhere with his gregarious personality, gap-toothed smile and willingness to step out of his comfort zone. He became a regular in commercials, (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2008, file photo, New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan celebrates after the Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14 in the Super Bowl XLII football game in Glendale, Ariz. While Strahan was a game-changer on the field, he was making his mark elsewhere with his gregarious personality, gap-toothed smile and willingness to step out of his comfort zone. He became a regular in commercials,  (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
  • FILE - In this Sept. 26, 1999 file photo, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Andre Reed makes his 900th career reception with Philadelphia Eagles corner back Bobby Taylor defending during the game at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. Reed awaits induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, and says the eight-year wait didn't feel that long.  (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File) NO SALES MAGS OUT
  • FILE - In this Jan. 25, 1981 file photo, Oakland Raiders punter Ray Guy kicks against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XV in New Orleans. Those anxious seconds for punt returners awaiting his booming kicks were nothing compared to the more than two decades Guy had to endure before finally getting the call that he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (AP Photo/File)
  • This Sept. 10, 1978, photo provided by the NFL shows Atlanta Falcons defensive end Claude Humphrey moving in on Los Angeles Rams quarterback Patrick Haden during a football game in Los Angeles. Humphrey wishes he could have made the Pro Football Hall of Fame “a long time ago where I could have actually enjoyed it more.” (AP Photo/NFL Photos)
  • FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2003 file photo, St. Louis Rams' Aeneas Williams celebrates after a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns, in Cleveland. Aeneas Williams spent most of his pro career on bad teams.That didn’t prevent him from pursuing excellence, becoming one of the best cornerbacks in the game and earning a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame.  (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)
  • FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2006 file photo, NFC Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks holds up the Pro Bowl MVP trophy following the NFC's 23-17 win over the AFC in the NFL football Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. Brooks will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in Canton, Ohio.(AP Photo/Ronen Zilberman, File)
  • FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2006, file photo, Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Walter Jones smiles along the sidelines during NFL football training camp at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash. Jones will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio on Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014.  (AP Photo/Jim Bryant, File)
  • FILE - In this May 2, 2014 file photo, Andre Reed is introduced before the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest at the International Exposition Center in Cleveland. Reed awaits induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, and says the eight-year wait didn't feel that long. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)
  • FILE - This Dec. 7, 2004 file photo shows Ray Guy, from Southern Mississippi University, attending the National Football Foundation's College Hall of Fame class of 2004 induction dinner in New York. On Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, the famed Raiders punter Ray Guy is hoping for the NFL Hall of Fame call. If he's elected, he would be the first punter enshrined in the 280-member club. (AP Photo/John Marshall Mantel, file)
  • FILE - In this Nov. 14, 1999 file photo, Arizona Cardinals cornerback Aeneas Williams (35) and wide receiver Frank Sanders (81) walk off the field after defeating the Detriot Lions 23-19 in Tempe, Ariz. Williams spent most of his NFL career on bad teams. But that didn't prevent him from pursuing excellence, becoming one of the best cornerbacks in the league and earning a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In his 10 seasons with Arizona, the Cardinals had one winning season.  (AP Photo/Mike Fiala, File)
  • This 1977 photo provided by the NFL shows Atlanta Falcons football player Claude Humphrey. Humphrey wishes he could have made the Pro Football Hall of Fame “a long time ago where I could have actually enjoyed it more.” (AP Photo/NFL Photos)
  • FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2008, file photo, New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan celebrates after the Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14 in the Super Bowl XLII football game in Glendale, Ariz. While Strahan was a game-changer on the field, he was making his mark elsewhere with his gregarious personality, gap-toothed smile and willingness to step out of his comfort zone. He became a regular in commercials,  (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

CANTON, Ohio – Michael Strahan is pleased to know he is scheduled to go last during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.

That means the former New York Giants star pass-rusher won’t be the first to break down in tears once the 2014 seven-member class is inducted today.

“I am not going to be the first one to crack,” Strahan pronounced with a familiar gap-toothed grin yesterday. “But it’ll be interesting. I just told the guys, ‘It’s okay. If you’re going to cry, this is the opportunity to cry where nobody can say anything to you.’ ”

If that’s the case, Andre Reed might not have made it through yesterday. The former Buffalo Bills receiver was having trouble keeping his emotions in check after meeting former teammate Jim Kelly, who is battling cancer.

“I almost broke down and cried,” Reed said. “Three months ago, we didn’t know if (Kelly) was going to be in Canton. Yeah, my heart kind of beat a bit faster when I saw him.”

There’ll be plenty of emotions given the varied backgrounds of the inductees.

It’s a group that includes two first-time ballot selections, Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks and Seattle offensive tackle Walter Jones. Then there’s Arizona/St. Louis defensive back Aeneas Williams and Oakland’s Ray Guy, the first full-time punter inducted.

And don’t forget Atlanta/Philadelphia defensive end Claude Humphrey, who waited 28 years to hear his name called.

“It’s a great moment,” said the 70-year-old Humphrey, who earned six Pro Bowl selections during a 13-year career. “It came at a time in my life where there wasn’t a whole lot of other things going on. It gave the career I worked so hard on a little rejuvenation.”

Humphrey brings the history and Strahan the buzz, in having become a commercial pitchman and talk-show host. And Guy is bringing a 20-member punter posse to help him celebrate.

“It’s bigger than me,” said Guy, who is being inducted 28 years after he retired. “It is a part of them, too, because I am now representing every one of them.”

At 64, Guy also holds a special place among members of his induction class.

“I remember watching games, and he had this hang time,” Williams said. “I was able to go to the restroom, get some food, and the ball would still be in the air. That’s what Ray Guy means in terms of his influence on the game of football.”

There are plenty of eye-popping stats among a class that has a combined 55 Pro Bowl selections.

And they are all considered equals, no matter their positions.

“This is the Hall of Fame. It’s not about one player or one person and what they’ve done,” Strahan said. “Plain and simple, you’ve got to humble yourself because everybody here has had their moment.”

Strahan had plenty in establishing himself as one of the NFL’s top pass-rushers over a 15-year career that ended after helping the Giants beat New England in the 2008 Super Bowl. He set the league’s single-season record with 22½ sacks in 2001, and ranks fifth on the all-time list with 141½ .

Reed was a member of the Kelly-quarterbacked team that made and lost four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the early 1990s. He ranked fourth in the NFL with 13,198 yards receiving at the time he retired after the 2000 season.

Guy was selected to the NFL’s 75th anniversary team, and helped change the punter position by introducing terms such as “hang time” into the vernacular.

Williams was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection who finished with 55 interceptions, plus six in the postseason.

Jones was regarded as one of the game’s best tackles during a 12-season career in Seattle.

And then there’s Brooks, an 11-time Pro Bowl selection. Though comparably undersized at 6 feet and 232 pounds, he helped anchor the Buccaneers’ defense that keyed a Super Bowl run in 2002 and ranked among the NFL’s best for more than a decade.

“I’m excited about our class, being part of history,” said Brooks who then listed the accomplishments of each and every one of his fellow inductees.

He ended with Guy, by noting the punter’s long wait to be inducted.

“To hear Ray talk about him going in, he doesn’t talk about the wait. He talks about the fact that he’s here,” Brooks said. “And that’s what I’m going to talk about, not 20 years ago, but talking about what we’re doing now.”

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