Two former Notre Dame players elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, February 2, 2015
Former Notre Dame receiver Tim Brown and former Irish running back Jerome Bettis were elected to the Professional Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Brown’s selection came in his sixth year as a Hall of Fame finalist, while Bettis was selected in his fifth year on the ballot.
“You know you have to wait your turn,” Brown said to Raiders.com. “I came into this year hoping for better things and am delighted to be sitting here.”
After being drafted sixth overall in the 1988 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Raiders, Brown spent all but one year of his 17-season career with the franchise. Brown set Raiders franchise records for receptions, receiving yards and punt return yards. Over the course of his career, he recorded 14,934 receiving yards, 1,094 receptions and 100 touchdown catches.
Brown also made his mark on special teams, leading the NFL in kickoff returns, return yards and yards per return average in his rookie season. He was selected to nine Pro Bowls and recorded 75 or more receptions in 10 consecutive seasons.
Brown’s professional career followed a Notre Dame career in which he broke 19 different school records. Brown compiled a career total of 2,493 receiving yards, a school record at the time, and caught 12 touchdown passes. He also recorded three career kick return touchdowns, averaging 23.4 yards per return, and returned three punts for touchdowns as well.
Brown won the Heisman Trophy in 1987, becoming the first receiver to do so, and is still Notre Dame’s most recent recipient of the award. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009 and awarded an NCAA Silver Anniversary Award in 2012.
After being selected 10th overall in the 1993 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams, Bettis spent three seasons with the Rams before moving to the Pittsburgh Steelers for the remainder of his 13-season career.
He was named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year for the 1993-1994 season after he finished second in the league with 1,429 rushing yards. He rushed for 1,000 or more yards in eight seasons and recorded 13,662 rushing yards in his career.
Bettis also totaled 1,449 receiving yards and 91 total touchdowns in his NFL career. He was selected to six Pro Bowls and made the All-Pro team three times.
“I played the game of football with passion, with the desire to be a champion,” Bettis said to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “And in that drive to become a champion, I have now put myself on the most sacred ground that a football player could ever be in and that’s the Hall of Fame.”
Bettis played three seasons for Notre Dame, recording 2,356 total yards and 27 total touchdowns. Bettis scored 20 touchdowns and recorded 121 total points during the 1991 season, breaking single-season program records in both those categories.
With Brown and Bettis’s inductions, the Professional Football Hall of Fame will now have 12 inductees with Notre Dame connections. The last inductee with Notre Dame ties was former Irish tight end Dave Casper, who entered the Hall of Fame in 2002.
Brown and Bettis will join the Hall of Fame with a class of eight inductees, including former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau and former Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian.
The 2015 Professional Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremonies will take place Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio.