The Latest on the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony Saturday night (all times local):
If anyone is an expert on all things NFL, it’s Gil Brandt, who entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night.
For six decades, Brandt has been involved in the sport at a high level, from personnel director with the Cowboys to league consultant to draft guru to broadcaster. And he has a story for every job and every situation.
Brandt cited finding NFL players on the basketball court and at historically black colleges, uncovering undrafted guys who became stars and kickers in Europe among his most rewarding experiences.
“My life has been an incredible journey, all inspired by ,” he said.
Presented by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones — who fired Brandt 30 years ago when Jones bought the team — Brandt developed the Dallas scouting system that emphasized computers far before most other teams; scouted the historically black colleges and small colleges for talent; made signing undrafted free agents a science; and worked with Hall of Famers Tex Schramm, the team president, and coach Tom Landry, to build a dynasty.
Brandt moved into media after leaving the Cowboys and as an NFL consultant has offered a guiding hand in the explosive growth of the draft.
Brandt entered the hall in the contributor category.
Tony Gonzalez believes youngsters should play multiple sports.
The most accomplished tight end in NFL history, who was voted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, was an outstanding college basketball player. He says lessons he learned on the court helped him on the field.
“I have four kids,” he notes. “The best thing they can do is play. I was a skateboarder and learned a lot of my balance from it. Surfing, volleyball on the beach. All different sports backgrounds makes you a better athlete. Collectively, they all feed off each other.”
Gonzalez doesn’t wonder how he would have fared in the NBA, and why should he given his stellar career in ? But being so involved in sports built a foundation for his success in the NFL.
“You can’t beat it,” he says. “The ups and downs have an effect the rest of your life.”
Ty Law believes he already had a part in NFL lore before being elected this year to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The star cornerback is the first member of New England’s standout defense that won three Super Bowls in the early 2000s to make it into the Canton shrine. His aggressive style, which filtered through the Patriots’ secondary, eventually led to a rules change.
“I looked at it as a compliment,” Law said of the 2004 change that made it a penalty to be overly forceful with receivers before the ball was thrown. “The Ty Law Rule? I like that. It feels good.”
Law believes the current game — he retired in 2009 with 53 interceptions, more than 800 tackles and seven touchdowns — has gotten soft, in great part because of the rules limiting contact.
“I do feel the game is being brought down,” he said. “But the attitude has to be, ‘I know there are no rules they are going to implement that will take away from what we’re gonna do and from our success.'”
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