Parcells exhilarated, Carter teary to make Hall of Fame

7:41 AM, Feb 3, 2013   |    comments
Aug 4, 2012; Canton, OH, USA; Bill Parcells enters Fawcett Stadium before the start of the 2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW ORLEANS - Two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Parcells called Saturday's selection into the Pro Football Hall of Fame "exhilarating," following his omission last year that was considered the biggest snub of that class.

The New York Giants, New England Patriots, New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys coach nicknamed "The Tuna" considered it worth the wait to land the catch of a lifetime. Parcells, 71, joined wide receiver Cris Carter, guard/tackle Larry Allen, tackle Jonathan Ogden and defensive tackle Warren Sapp, with senior members Curley Culp, a defensive tackle, and linebacker Dave Robinson, as the 2013 inductees.

Allen, Ogden and Sapp made it in their first year of eligibility, unlike Parcells and Carter, who made it on his sixth attempt. Induction ceremonies will be Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio.

"It's unbelievable. It's exhilarating to join an elite group," Parcells said from his Jupiter, Fla., home. "I'm just grateful for those ahead of me.

"It was a little less stressful than last year. Last year was the first time I was up. I knew I was going up against (former Patriots, Jets tailback) Curtis Martin. I was kind of hoping we'd get in together. It didn't work out.

"That being said, I'm happy to get in now."

Carter, now an ESPN NFL analyst, choked back tears when he took the New Orleans Convention Center stage.

Carter was battling alcohol and drug abuse in 1989 and was released by then-Philadelphia Eagles coach Buddy Ryan. Carter, who later credited his former coach with helping him turn his life around, played the next 12 years for the Minnesota Vikings before retiring after his one season with the Miami Dolphins, in 2002.

Carter ranks fourth all-time with 1,101 receptions and ninth in receiving yards with 13,899. His 130 touchdown catches are fourth all-time.

"It's unbelievable," Carter said of his election. "People told me when I didn't get in the first and second and third time, it would still be unbelievable. And it is. To end your career in Canton, I'm forever humbled. You look at my career and how it started, I'm sorry, but this is the happiest day of my life."

Carter was a top-10 finalist three times, including last year.

"I really, really wanted this. This is what I wanted my legacy to be," said Carter, a fourth-round draft pick of the Eagles in 1987.

"I believe I was one of the greatest wide receivers - not Randy Moss-like - but I believed if the ball was thrown in the air, I would catch it. I wanted to be among the best of the best."

A finalist must receive 80% of the vote among 46 members of the selection panel assigned to select the finalists from among a field of 17 final candidates.

Former NFL owners Art Modell and Edward DeBartolo Jr. failed to make it to the deciding vote Saturday. Five players failed to get in on the final vote: Jerome Bettis, Charles Haley, Andre Reed, Michael Strahan and Aeneas Williams.

But Parcells, on his fourth try, finally got his due.


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