NEW YORK (Reuters) - Offensive tackle Walter Jones and linebacker Derrick Brooks joined Ray Guy, the first punter to win enshrinement, as part of a seven-man Class of 2014 elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Wide receiver Andre Reed, defensive ends Michael Strahan and Claude Humphrey and defensive back Aeneas Williams joined Jones and Brooks, who were elected in their first year of eligibility
Humphrey and Guy were Veterans Committee candidates.
Jones, a stalwart at left tackle for the Seattle Seahawks, made the first or second-team All-Pro list six times and the Pro Bowl nine times.
”Its been a long journey for me to be at this point,“ Jones told reporters. ”Coming into the league, all I wanted to do was get here and play in this game to say I could play in this game.
“For me to be here now, and for my team that I started with and finished with to be in the Super Bowl, is just like the icing on the cake.”
Brooks was a key figure on the rugged Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense of the 2000s from the middle linebacker position.
“I guess I can’t bring my teammates in here with me, but their spirits are,” Brooks said. “I think its okay for me to accept this award on my personal behalf. With that being said, I‘m always thinking of those guys.”
Strahan was a dangerous pass rusher on the New York Giants who was named 2001 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and Reed was a prolific receiver for the Buffalo Bills who joined Jerry Rice as one of only two players to record 13 separate 50-catch seasons.
Williams, a longtime Arizona Cardinals cornerback/safety, led the league in interceptions twice and was first-team All-Pro four times.
Humphrey won the 1968 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award and made eight different All-NFL or All-Pro teams in a career spent mainly with the Atlanta Falcons.
Guy, whose booming punts became a weapon for the Oakland Raiders, became the first punter to make the Hall of Fame as some voters have denied support for players at his position.
“It is gratifying to now see a punter go into the Hall of Fame, but then again, whether it was me or somebody else, they needed representation in that position,” Guy said.
“There is a place for us, and now its more recognized and it should be from now on. It’s more recognized that it’s a very important position. If that’s the dream you want, then let’s go fulfill it.”
Among prominent candidates missing out on election were Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison and his one-time coach in Indianapolis, Tony Dungy.
Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Gene Cherry and Greg Stutchbury