INDIANAPOLIS (KDKA/AP) — It was a big day for several former football players with ties to Pittsburgh as the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2012 was announced.
This year’s list making it to Canton includes Curtis Martin, Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Willie Roaf and senior selection Jack Butler.
Four of those six, Martin, Dawson, Doleman and Butler have Pittsburgh ties.
A panel of 44 media members voted. The inductions are in early August in Canton, Ohio.
The bad news though, former Steeler and Pittsburgh favorite Jerome Bettis was among the finalist who didn’t make it. Cris Carter and Bill Parcells are other notables on that list.
Bettis didn’t make the top 10 in voting, so he is forced to continue waiting.
But for another Steeler, the wait is finally over. Dawson becomes the 21st Pittsburgh Steeler to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Dawson retired in 2000. He didn’t become a finalist for the Hall until 2008 and was again in 2009, but not the following year, which had many worried he might not make it.
But this was the year for Dawson.
He made seven Pro Bowls as the Steelers’ center, that rare snapper who also could block defensive players one on one. He replaced a Hall of Famer, Mike Webster, and started for Pittsburgh for most of his 13 pro seasons.
“Well, I tell you what, it’s a great honor to be elected into the Class of 2012 for the Hall of Fame,” said Dawson. “But I tell you what it’s caused. It’s caused my phone to malfunction, I’ve had multiple texts, over 100 plus texts and phone calls, it’s been non-stop.”
It was also the year for another former Steeler, Jack Butler. He was voted in through the Senior Committee.
Butler also played for the Steelers as a cornerback from 1951-59, picking off 52 passes, at the time second most in NFL history. But he was best known for his tackling skills.
Martin and Doleman are both former Pitt Panthers.
Martin played his senior season at Taylor Allderdice, and then turned that into a college football career at the University of Pittsburgh. Then, he went on to become the fourth all-time leading rusher in NFL history.
He made it for his consistency and durability, rushing for 14,101 and 90 touchdowns. He rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first 10 seasons, the first three with New England and the others with the Jets. The 1995 Offensive Rookie of the Year, Martin won the NFL rushing title in 2004 with 1,697 yards.
Doleman had 25 sacks at Pitt. He went on to 150 1/2 sacks in his 15 seasons, mostly with Minnesota, and was one of the prototype agile yet powerful pass rushers who dominate the game today. He made the Pro Bowl eight times and was fourth on the sacks list when he retired.
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