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Saturday, February 2
Updated: February 19, 5:26 PM ET
Swann helped Stallworth's Canton cause
By Joe Lago
ESPN.com

NEW ORLEANS -- John Stallworth doesn't know if he'll return the favor yet and have Lynn Swann be his presenter on Aug. 3 when the 2002 Pro Football Hall of Fame class is inducted. Stallworth knows he owes his Pittsburgh Steelers teammate, though.

The star wide receivers of the Steelers' dynasty in the 1970s had to wait a long time before finally getting enough votes to get to Canton. Stallworth admitted that Swann's induction last year -- when Swann chose his teammate as his presenter -- helped his cause after being an eight-time finalist during his 10 years of eligibility for Canton.

John Stallworth
John Stallworth played in four Pro Bowls, six AFC title games and four Super Bowls.
"I thought having been there and getting a little additional exposure -- and Lynn having gone in -- I thought it would probably be easier (to get in) from the sense of if you just compared the numbers," Stallworth said over the phone from his home in Huntsville, Ala.

"Lynn was certainly worthy of being there and being selected. Just the comparison of the two, I thought it would make it easier to look at my numbers and his numbers and say, 'Well OK, if that guy's worthy, then so is that one.' "

In his 14-year career from 1974 to 1987, Stallworth caught 537 passes for 8,723 yards and 63 touchdowns, all Steelers' team records. In his nine seasons in the NFL, Swann totaled 336 receptions for 5,462 yards and 51 touchdowns, but, like Stallworth, made his mark during the Steelers' four championship seasons.

"I think we were both similar in what we wanted to accomplish in the game," Stallworth said. "We both had a big-play mentality. When the game was on the line -- whether it was regular season or postseason -- I think Lynn wanted the ball and I wanted it."

Stallworth's signature moment was his 73-yard touchdown catch against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XIV. He holds the Super Bowl records for career yards per catch (24.4) and single-game average (40.33 in Super Bowl XIV).

"In Super Bowls and the playoffs, we really came to the forefront," Stallworth said. "I think that makes us similar. I think that makes us special to that team."

Now with Stallworth's election, the top picks of the Steelers' 1974 draft class have made it to the Hall of Fame. Swann, linebacker Jack Lambert and center Mike Webster are the others.

"It was a great year for Pittsburgh as far as our draft was concerned," Stallworth said. "It was just a testament to that organization."

Joe Lago is the NFL editor for ESPN.com.