The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2015 is a distinguished one.
It includes running back Jerome Bettis, wide receiver im Brown, pass rusher Charles Haley, former NFL general manager Bill Polian, the late linebacker Junior Seau, offensive guard Will Shields, center Mick Tingelhoff and fomer general manager Ron Wolf.
Bettis retired after 13 seasons ranked fifth all-time in rushing with 13,662 yards. A six-time Pro Bowl selection, Bettis rushed for 100 yards or more 61 times in his career with the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Brown starred for 16 seasons with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders and one final season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He registered 1,094 career receptions for 14,934 yards and 100 TDs. He also added 4,555 yards and 4 TDs on punt and kickoff returns.
Haley, the only player ever to win five Super Bowls, racked up 100.5 sacks during his 12-year career with the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers. Six times he posted double-digit sack totals in a season.
Polian earned the reputation as a general manager who built dominant teams. Under his leadership, he led the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts to a combined five Super Bowls. He was NFL’s Executive of the Year by The Sporting News six times.
Seau starred for 20 NFL seasons during which time he established himself as one the finest linebackers in league history. Named first-team All-Pro eight times, he was selected to 12 Pro Bowls and named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1992.
Shields never missed a game during his 14-season, 224-game career with the Kansas City Chiefs. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s, selected first-team All-Pro three times, and played in 12 straight Pro Bowls.
Tingelhoff was signed as a free agent by the Minnesota Vikings. He earned a starting role at center as a rookie and never missed a game for his entire 17-season career. A seven-time All-League selection, he was named to six straight Pro Bowls.
Wolf spent 23 years with the Raiders during which time the team posted winning records in all but six of those seasons. He later transformed the Green Bay Packers into Super Bowl champions.
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun