CANTON, Ohio — LeRoy Butler leaped into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the identical enthusiasm he celebrated large performs at Lambeau Field.
The four-time All-Pro security was the primary of eight members of the Class of 2022 enshrined Saturday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
“DJ Khaled said it best: ‘God did,’” Butler started, referencing the tune. “When you play for the Green Bay Packers, a lot of doors open up. When you win a Super Bowl, more doors open up. When you’re picked for the Hall of Fame, football heaven opens up. It’s rare company.”
Butler drew cheers from Jaguars followers in attendance to see Tony Boselli’s induction when he talked about rising up in Jacksonville.
“Thank you, Duval,” Butler stated. “My mom, growing up in poverty, she made us think rich every day because it’s not about what you have on or what you have, it’s how you act.”
Butler helped restore Green Bay’s glory days throughout a 12-year profession. His versatility as a security set the usual for a brand new wave on the place and earned him a spot on the league’s All-Decade crew of the Nineteen Nineties.
Butler originated the “Lambeau Leap” and had a key sack in Green Bay’s Super Bowl victory over New England. He fell simply in need of turning into the primary participant in league historical past to complete his profession with 40 interceptions and 20 sacks.
Sam Mills, the 5-foot-9 linebacker nicknamed “Field Mouse” throughout his 12-year profession with the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, was inducted posthumously after Butler. An inspirational determine, Mills overcame large odds to even attain the NFL.
Mills performed Division III faculty soccer and was not drafted. He was minimize by the Cleveland Browns and Toronto Argonauts of the CFL and commenced his skilled profession with the USFL’s Philadelphia Stars. Jim Mora, who coached the Stars, introduced him to New Orleans in 1986 and Mills by no means regarded again.
“He was told he wasn’t good enough to play college football or big enough to play professional football and at the age of 27, he wasn’t young enough to play in the NFL and yet here we are today celebrating,” stated Melanie Mills, Sam’s widow.
Mills made 1,265 tackles, had 23 fumble recoveries, compelled 22 fumbles, had 20 1/2 sacks and intercepted 11 passes in 12 seasons. He additionally was a part of the primary 4 playoff groups in Saints historical past and the primary in Panthers historical past.
Mills turned an assistant coach with the Panthers after his retirement. He was identified with intestinal most cancers earlier than the 2003 season however stored teaching throughout his remedy and made what is named his “Keep pounding” speech on the eve of the membership’s Super Bowl matchup with New England on the finish of that season.
Mills died in April 2005 at age 45. His “Keep pounding” stays the Panthers’ tag line.
In a 12 months with no first-ballot candidates, the inductees endured lengthy waits to make the Hall.
Defensive deal with Richard Seymour didn’t wait too lengthy to style success within the NFL. He was a part of three Super Bowl championship groups in his first 4 seasons with the New England Patriots.
Seymour identified the defensive stalwarts on these groups however didn’t point out Tom Brady by identify.
“We had a young quarterback, but we made it work,” Seymour stated, drawing chuckles from the gang.
Seymour had 57 1/2 profession sacks in 12 seasons, the primary eight in New England earlier than ending his profession with the Oakland Raiders.
“I’m overwhelmed with humility because it’s not about what this says about me but what it says about we and what we can do together,” he stated. “I’m overwhelmed with gratitude because I didn’t get here alone. None of us did. None of us could have.”
The 42-year-old Seymour choked up thanking his spouse, Tanya.
“Football is what I do, but family is who I am,” he stated. “Thank you for everything you added to my life. This day belongs to my family. Scripture teaches your riches are in your family.”
Seymour known as his three kids his “greatest joy.”
“Of everything I accomplished, there’s no greater honour than being your dad,” he stated.
Seymour praised Patriots proprietor Robert Kraft and former Raiders proprietor Al Davis and his son, Mark Davis.
He credited his success to the teachings he discovered from Patriots coach Bill Belichick: work exhausting, be meticulous in your preparation, assist your teammates and respect your opponents.
“This wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for Coach Belichick,” Seymour stated.
Longtime head of officiating Art McNally gave a video speech after he was inducted as a contributor.