- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Pro Football Hall of Fame senior inductee Curley Culp started off with Kansas City, but he made a huge impact with the Houston Oilers, too.
The six-time Pro Bowler was named the NFL’s defensive player of the year by the Newspaper Enterprise Association in 1975 after helping lead Houston to its first winning season in eight years.
He will be inducted into the Hall in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 3, along with six others -- offensive lineman Larry Allen, wide receiver Cris Carter, tackle Jonathan Ogden, coach Bill Parcells, linebacker Dave Robinson, and defensive tackle Warren Sapp. Robinson was the other senior nominee.
Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News presented Culp at the selection meeting, and John McClain of the Houston Chronicle also led the discussion of Culp’s candidacy.
McClain spoke to Culp leading up to selection day.
“I’m anticipating a great outcome,” said Culp, who resides in Austin. “I’m blessed to be in this position. I was part of a Super Bowl winner with the Chiefs, and those Luv Ya Blue teams were special.
“I’m not sure what I’ll be doing, probably pulling weeds and raking the yard.”
Said McClain this week in New Orleans: “Curley was the epitome of a 3-4 nose tackle. Strong, quick, nasty -- an NCAA wrestling champion who could get leverage and keep it.”
“The Oilers traded (defensive tackle) John Matuszak to Chiefs in 1974 for Culp and No. 1 pick they used on outside linebacker Robert Brazile. It was a tremendous trade. Along with Hall of Fame defensive end Elvin Bethea, they were the cornerstones of the Luv Ya Blue defense.”
Culp is the ninth member of the Oilers/Tennessee Titans to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The capsule on Culp from the Hall:
Defensive Tackle … 6-2, 265 … Arizona State … 1968-1974 Kansas City Chiefs, 1974-1980 Houston Oilers, 1980-81 Detroit Lions … 14 seasons, 179 games … Selected in 2nd round (31st player overall) in 1968 draft by Denver Broncos … Denver attempted to switch him to offense before trading him to Chiefs during training camp … Fit in perfectly with Chiefs’ dominating defense … Member of team’s Super Bowl IV championship team in second season … Started at left defensive tackle in Super Bowl win over Vikings and registered three tackles, one assisted tackle … Dealt to Houston Oilers in blockbuster trade during 1974 season … Key veteran leader with 11.5 sacks to help Oilers to 10-4-0 record in his first full season with club … Winning record in ’75 was Oilers first winning season in eight years and just second in 13 seasons …. Named NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year by Newspaper Enterprise Association, 1975 … Culp led defense that helped Oilers earn back-to-back appearances in AFC championship game, 1978-79 … Named All-Pro, 1975 … All-Pro Second Team 1971, 1977, 1978, and 1979 …. First- or second-team All-AFC five times … Elected to six Pro Bowls … Born March 10, 1946 in Yuma, Arizona.