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Marino, Young Elected to Hall

Friedman, Pollard Also in; Monk, Grimm Left Out

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 6, 2005; Page E13

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Feb. 5 -- Quarterbacks Dan Marino and Steve Young were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, headlining a four-man class that includes senior nominees Fritz Pollard and Benny Friedman.

Former Washington Redskins wide receiver Art Monk again fell short in voting by media members who serve as the Hall of Fame selectors. Monk and his longtime Redskins teammate, guard Russ Grimm, made the initial cut in the tiered balloting, in which voters reduce the field from 15 finalists to 10. But Monk and Grimm were eliminated when the field was cut to six.


Former Dolphins QB Dan Marino, right, shakes hands with former 49ers great Steve Young at a news conference. (Mike Segar -- Reuters)

_____Canton's Class of 2005_____

Benny Friedman

Quarterback

5 feet 10, 183 pounds

NFL career: 1927 Cleveland Bulldogs, 1928 Detroit Wolverines, 1929-1931 New York Giants, 1932-1934 Brooklyn Dodgers.

Notes: Senior nominee. . . . NFL's first great passer. . . . Passed for a league-record 11 touchdowns as a rookie in 1927. . . . Set another record with 20 TDs in 1929. . . . Led league in touchdown passes for four consecutive years (1927-1930). . . . His 66 career touchdown passes was an NFL record for years. . . . Although official statistics were not kept, he is believed to have completed more than half his passes at a time when 35 percent was considered a very good performance. . . . In 1928, he led the league in rushing touchdowns and touchdown passes; no other player has accomplished that. . . . During his first four pro seasons, Friedman earned first-team all-NFL honors.

Dan Marino

Quarterback

6 foot 4, 218 pounds

NFL career: 1983-1999 Miami Dolphins.

Notes: Miami's first-round pick (27th overall) of the 1983 draft. . . . Five other quarterbacks, including Hall of Famers Jim Kelly and John Elway, were taken before Marino. . . . Most prolific passer in NFL history with 4,967 completions, 8,358 attempts for 61,343 yards and 420 TDs. . . . Was rookie of the year in 1983. . . . In 1984, became first player to pass for 5,000 yards in a season (5,084) and a then-record 48 TDs. He set six league records and was league MVP. . . . In the 1984 AFC championship, Marino passed for 421 yards and threw four touchdowns in the Dolphins' 45-28 shootout win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, earning his first and only trip to the Super Bowl. . . . By the end of the 1995 season he had supplanted Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton as the career passing leader in attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns.

Fritz Pollard

Running Back/Coach

5 foot 9, 165 pounds

Pro career: 1919-1921, 1925-1926 Akron Pros, 1922 Milwaukee Badgers, 1923, 1925 Hammond Pros, 1923-1924 Gilberton Cadamounts (independent pro team), 1925 Providence Steam Roller.

Notes: A two-time all-American halfback from Brown, Pollard turned pro in 1919 after service during World War I. In 1920, Pollard led the Pros to an undefeated (8-0-3) season and won the American Professional Football Association's first title. Pollard immediately earned a place in pro football history as one of only two blacks in the new league. In 1921, he became the first black head coach in NFL history when the Pros named him co-coach of the team. . . . He played for and sometimes coached four different NFL teams. . . . In 1928, Pollard organized and coached the Chicago Black Hawks, an all black professional team.

Steve Young

Quarterback

6 foot 2, 205 pounds

NFL career: 1985-1986 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1987-1999 San Francisco 49ers.

Notes: Bucs' first-round pick of 1984 supplemental draft after spending two seasons in the United States Football League. . . . Traded to 49ers in 1987 where he served as the backup to Hall of Famer Joe Montana. . . . Young stepped into the starting role in 1991 after Montana suffered an injury. He passed for 2,517 yards and 17 touchdowns to post a league high 101.8 passer rating and the first of four straight passing titles. . . . He and Sammy Baugh are only QBs to win six NFL passing titles. . . . Set then-record 112.8 passer rating in 1994. . . . Threw for six TDs, was MVP in San Francisco's 49-26 win over the San Diego Chargers in the 1995 Super Bowl. . . . Career statistics include 33,124 yards and 232 TDs passing, also rushed for 4,239 yards and 43 TDs. . . . A left-hander, he threw for 3,000 or more yards six times and had 20 or more touchdown passes in a season five times, and posted a passer rating of 100 or higher six times.

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Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin and former New York Giants linebacker Harry Carson, who was a finalist even after informing Hall of Fame officials that he didn't want to be considered because of his dissatisfaction with the selection process, reached the final six but failed to gain the necessary final approval of at least 80 percent of the voters.

Marino and Young were in their first year of eligibility and were regarded as virtually automatic choices. Regarded by many as the best pure passer in the sport, Marino held 21 league passing records when he retired after the 1999 season. One of them, his 20-year-old single-season record for touchdown passes, was broken this season by Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.

"I feel blessed to be able to go into the Hall of Fame and have my family here to share it," said Marino, who played for the Miami Dolphins for 17 years. His wife, his six children and his parents were on hand for the announcement.

Former Dolphins coach Don Shula also was in attendance, and Marino said to him, "Most of all, Coach, thank you for letting me turn it loose and throw it as much as I wanted to throw it."

Young recalled being on a recruiting visit to Army as a high school senior and watching Marino, then a freshman at Pittsburgh, zip a pass to a receiver along the sideline right in front of him. "I thought to myself, 'Holy cow, I don't think I'm going to play in college. That's it for me.' "

Young had the seemingly impossible task of succeeding Joe Montana as the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback but led the 49ers to a Super Bowl triumph over the San Diego Chargers, during which he threw a record six touchdown passes. He was a six-time league passing champion and he had the highest single-season passer rating in league history -- another mark Manning topped this season.

"I've been there" to the Hall of Fame, Young said. "I've been through it. I've seen the faces and the busts and the history. . . . There's nothing easy about getting here, and I'm grateful. . . . I'm so grateful for the expectations [he faced in succeeding Montana]. . . . I embraced it. I'm here, and I think one of the reasons is that I did embrace it."

Pollard, who died in 1986, was the first black coach in NFL history, with the Akron Pros in 1921. The group formed in recent years to promote minority hiring at all levels of the league named itself after him, calling itself the Fritz Pollard Alliance. Pollard, a running back, was one of only two black players in the league when the Pros joined the American Professional Football Association (later the NFL) in 1920. He lived in Silver Spring late in his life.

"This is a very emotional time for the family," said Stephen Towns, Pollard's grandson. "This has been a long time coming. [It was] one of my grandfather's final wishes before he passed away. He said his only regret was not being in the Hall of Fame. He was a pillar in this league, and he finally has a place where he belongs."

Friedman, who died in 1982, quarterbacked four teams -- including the Giants -- over eight seasons in the 1920s and '30s and was one of the sport's first great passers in a time before official statistics were kept.

Induction ceremonies are scheduled for Aug. 7, and Marino and Young said they will be proud to go into the Hall with two of their football forebears.

"We stand on their backs," Young said. "There's no question about that. It's particularly important for Fritz Pollard, what he stands for and what he means to the game today."

Monk got further than he did a year ago, when he was eliminated in the cut from 15 to 10 finalists. "It's disappointing," Redskins owner Dan Snyder said in a statement released through a team spokesman. "Both Art and Russ are among the NFL's greatest players as well as the Redskins', and both belong in the Hall of Fame. Art's admission is long overdue."

The voters, including Leonard Shapiro and Michael Wilbon of The Washington Post, eliminated Richard Dent, Claude Humphrey, Bob Kuechenberg, Roger Wehrli and George Young in the cut from 15 finalists to 10. They eliminated Grimm, Monk, L.C. Greenwood and Derrick Thomas in the cut to six.


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