In an era during which many running backs have been devalued and veiwed as expendable, LaDainian Tomlinson didn't have to wait long to take his place in NFL history.
The former San Diego Chargers standout was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in his first year of eligibility. Joining him in the 2017 class are quarterback Kurt Warner, running back Terrell Davis, defensive end Jason Taylor and kicker Morten Andersen. Seattle Seahawks safety Kenny Easley was picked as a senior nominee, while Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones enters as a contributor.
Among the notable finalists left out were wide receiver Terrell Owens, offensive guard Alan Faneca, offensive tackle Joe Jacoby and safeties John Lynch and Brian Dawkins.
Tomlinson holds the NFL single-season touchdown with 29, set in his MVP-winning 2006 campaign. A three-time all-pro selection and five-time Pro Bowl pick, Tomlinson ranks fifth all-time in rushing yards with 13,684 and second in rushing touchdowns with 145. Taken with the No. 5 overall selection in the 2001 NFL draft, he helped reboot the Chargers and led the team to five playoff appearances in 10 seasons. He spent his final two years in the NFL with the New York Jets.
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Warner's remarkable rise in the NFL will be capped with his induction in Canton, Ohio. The ringleader of the St. Louis Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf" offense, the Arena Football League product was a two-time MVP and made three Super Bowl appearances, winning a title in 1999 in his first year as starter.
Davis was honored for a brief but brilliant career, making for a rare double-up with Tomlinson in this Hall of Fame class. The Denver Broncos star was the MVP of a Super Bowl XXXII win over the Green Bay Packers, and he ranks sixth all-time in postseason career rushing yards with 1,140.
Taylor joins Tomlinson as a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection, and he is the lone defender set for induction this year. The 2006 defensive player of the year and former Miami Dolphins standout ranks seventh all-time with 139.5 sacks.
Andersen joins Jan Stenerud as the only true placekicker to be selected to the Hall of Fame. After a 25-year career, he stands as the NFL's all-time leading scorer with 2,544 points.