Friday, February 19, 2010
Rice, Jones take place among legends
By Mike Sando
Former Grambling coach Eddie Robinson stopped to shake hands with reporters during a visit to a Seahawks practice years ago.
The feeling on this end was surreal, like shaking hands with someone out of a history book.
Robinson's first year at Grambling was 1941 and his impact was profound.
A couple of all-time football greats from NFC West teams, Deacon Jones and Jerry Rice, can feel privileged in joining Robinson as part of the inaugural class at the Black College Football Hall of Fame.
Buck Buchanan, Willie Galimore, Willie Lanier, Walter Payton, Ben Stevenson, Tank Younger, Eddie Robinson, Jake Gaither and Bill Nunn are also part of the group.
Official Jones bio: David "Deacon" Jones played defensive end for South Carolina State University and Mississippi Valley State University from 1958 to 1960. Blessed with speed, agility, and quickness, the “Deacon” became one of the finest pass rushers in the business. Yet had it not been for the chance observation of two Rams scouts viewing films of an opponent, he might never have had a chance to play pro football. When the scouts noted that the 6-4, 272-pound tackle was outrunning the backs they were scouting, they recommended Jones as a sleeper pick. He went on to unanimous all-league honors six straight years from 1965 through 1970 and was selected to eight Pro Bowls. Jones was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.
Official Rice bio: Jerry Rice, a wide receiver for Mississippi Valley State University from 1981 to 1984, is widely regarded as one of the greatest receivers in history on any level. He was named first-team Division I-AA All-America and finished ninth in the 1984 Heisman Trophy voting. His 27 touchdown receptions that season set the NCAA mark for all divisions. Rice was named the 1984 SWAC Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year for the State of Mississippi. In addition to being named first-team Division I-AA All-American, the NEA and Football Writers’ Association of America both named Rice to their first-team Division I-A All-America squads. He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with the 16th overall selection in the 1985 NFL Draft and became arguably the greatest player in NFL history. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and is a 2010 Nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.