Controversial wide receiver Terrell Owens and linebacker Ray Lewis headlined the NFL’s 2018 Hall of Fame class.
It is one of the youngest groups in history of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as Owens, Lewis, wide receiver Randy Moss, linebacker Brian Urlacher and safety Brian Dawkins were all selected on Saturday for enshrinement.
Those five players joined seniors committee nominees offensive lineman Jerry Kramer and linebacker Robert Brazile, and longtime personnel executive Bobby Beathard who was on the contributors’ committee.
Owens, who is second all-time in receiving yards and third in receiving touchdowns, wasn’t voted in during his first two years of eligibility, likely because of his on- and off-field conduct.
Lewis, Moss, and Urlacher were all voted in in their first year of eligibility, while Dawkins made it in after being a semifinalist in 2017.
Additionally, for the third time in his legendary career, Tom Brady won the NFL’s Most Valuable Player while JJ Watt’s heroic fundraising efforts for the victims of Harvey earned him the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award on Saturday.
Lewis is the most decorated of the group as a 13-time Pro Bowl selection, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, two-time Super Bowl champion and a Super Bowl MVP in his 17-year career as a Baltimore Ravens linebacker.
‘I’ve been going a long time. And now I can finally rest,’ Lewis said. ‘I want to go fishing with a cigar now and just sit back. I don’t want to work out every day now.
In his career, Lewis registered 2,055 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 31 interceptions, 20 fumble recoveries and 19 forced fumbles.
Pro Football Reference ranks him as the ninth-best overall player and third-best defensive player in NFL history in terms of approximate value.
Lewis did face some controversy when he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in connection with the stabbing deaths of two men in 2000.
After three tries, Owens earned his place among football’s immortals following a 15-year NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals.
The 1996 third-round pick out of Tennessee-Chattanooga was a six-time Pro Bowler and five-time First Team All-Pro.
Owens was known for his controversial conduct on the field including his numerous celebrations after scoring touchdowns, some of which have resulted in fines by the NFL front office
However, he ranks eighth all-time in receptions (1,078), second in receiving yards (15,934) and third in receiving touchdowns (153).
In his sole Super Bowl appearance, he returned from a broke ankle to register nine receptions for 122 yards with the Eagles in a 24-21 loss to the New England Patriots in February 2005.
Urlacher was inducted in his first year of eligibility thanks to 13 stellar seasons at linebacker for the Chicago Bears.
He made the Pro Bowl eight times and was a four-time First Team All-Pro. He was also the 2000 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and the 2005 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
The 2000 first-round pick out of New Mexico appeared in 182 games, in which he finished with 1,354 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 22 interceptions, 15 fumble recoveries and 11 forced fumbles.
Another candidate who was inducted in his year of eligibility Moss was an explosive playmaker.
Moss played as wide receiver in 14 seasons for the Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers.
He made six Pro Bowls and earned All-Pro First Team honors four times in addition to winning the 1998 Offensive Rookie of the Year.
He ended his career with 982 receptions for 15,292 yards and 156 touchdowns, ranking 15th, fourth and second in those categories, respectively, on the all-time list.
Perhaps most impressively, he topped 1,000 receiving yards in a season on 10 occasions.
Dawkins compiled impressive stats in his 16-year NFL career.
He spent his first 13 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles before playing three years with the Denver Broncos.
A nine-time Pro Bowler and four-time First Team All-Pro, Dawkins recorded 1,131 career tackles, but he also contributed in other areas with 37 interceptions, 26 sacks, 36 forced fumbles and 19 fumble recoveries in 224 games.
Like Owens he too played in the team’s 24-21 Super Bowl XXXIX loss to the New England Patriots.
One of two senior committee nominees, Brazile became a Hall of Famer in his 29th year of eligibility.
He spent his entire 10-year NFL career from 1975 to 1984 with the Houston Oilers (now known as the Tennessee Titans) and was a seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time First Team All-Pro.
While tackles and sacks were not tracked until almost the end of his career, it is clear Brazile made an impact, being named the 1975 Defensive Rookie of the Year.
In 147 games, Brazile had 13 interceptions and 14 fumble recoveries.
After 45 years of eligibility, guard Jerry Kramer, Pro Football Hall of Fame as a seniors committee nominee.
Kramer spent his entire 11-year NFL career with the Green Bay Packers, primarily as a right guard, although he also played a few seasons as Green Bay’s kicker. In 1962, he even led the NFL with an 81.8 field-goal percentage.
Kramer was a three-time Pro Bowler and a five-time First Team All-Pro.
He was an NFL champion on five occasions (pre-Super Bowl), and he went on to win both Super Bowl I and II with the Packers in 1967 and 1968.
Longtime NFL general manager Beathard earned his induction via the contributor committee.
After stints as a scout for the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons, Beathard became the Miami Dolphins’ director of player personnel in 1972, the same year the team became the first and only team to finish with a perfect record.
The squad under Beathard won two Super Bowls in Miami before he left to become the Washington Redskins’ general manager in 1978, role he kept until 1989, winning two more Super Bowls.
He eventually became the San Diego Chargers’ general manager in 1990 before leaving in 2000.
In 1992, Beathard he led the Chargers to their first playoff appearance since 1982, before helping them reach the Super Bowl in January 1995.