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Randall McDaniel didn't travel to Tampa, Fla., this weekend in anticipation of Saturday's Pro Football Hall of Fame vote. He couldn't.
|Manny Rubio-US PRESSWIRE|
|Randall McDaniel was voted to the Pro Bowl 12 times during his 14-season NFL career.|
McDaniel works as a teaching assistant at a public elementary school in suburban Minneapolis. Friday was a school day, and so is Monday. Saturday was forecast to be a beautiful day by Minnesota standards. (It is. As I type this, it's a balmy 41 degrees outside.) That schedule made a trip halfway across the country a bit excessive by McDaniel's standards.
But that's McDaniel in a nutshell. He is one of the greatest guards in NFL history, one whose athleticism might never be exceeded. Yet he kept a low public profile as a player, rarely agreeing to interviews even as he racked up Pro Bowl after Pro Bowl, and since retirement has settled into an everyman's life as a teacher, father and citizen.
(How regular of a guy is he? As he spoke on a conference call Saturday, a phone near him -- possibly his cell -- started ringing. The ring tone? The theme from the television show "Sanford and Son.")
McDaniel knew he was a finalist but was completely convinced he would be eliminated from contention on Saturday.
"I'm still in a little bit of shock and very humbled," he said. "I never thought this would happen, for some reason."
He's got another 36 hours or so to get over it. School starts back on Monday.
Eric Allen and Qadry Ismail analyze the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2009.