CANTON, OH (WOIO) - Jason Taylor. Terrelle Davis. Kurt Warner. Morten Andersen. Four of the seven greats who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer, and they have one thing in common. Nobody saw them coming.
Taylor, of course, is a former Akron Zip who came out of the MAC and went onto become one of the greatest pass rushers of all-time. 139.5 sacks. 48 forced fumbles. 6 trips to the Pro Bowl. And of course, one "Dancing with the Stars". Not bad for a 3rd round pick. He admits he had a chip on his shoulder, trying to prove he belonged.
Davis? Talk about nobody seeing it coming. His Pop Warner coach played him at nose tackle. Okay, Terrelle was what, 10 years old? His high school coach put him at fullback. His college coach put him on the bench. And his NFL coach? Mike Shanahan finally took him in the 6th round in 1995, and Davis made an immediate impact, racking up more than 6,400 yards in his first four seasons, including his 2,008-yard season in 1998. Injuries hit him hard after that, cutting his career short, and the great debate concerning Davis and the Hall of Fame became quality vs. quantity. Quality eventually won, and TD is going in.
Warner? Nobody wanted him. Drafted, he was playing in the Arena League and stocking shelves at a supermarket before the Rams finally gave him a shot. All he did was turn 'em into the Greatest Show on Turf, lead them to a Super Bowl title, earn Super Bowl MVP honors, win two NFL MVP awards, and throw for more than 32,000 yards.
And Andersen? Well, he wasn't on many radars while growing up in Denmark, but Ohio State fans quickly found out who he was after the former Michigan State Spartan booted a record 63-yd field goal against the Buckeyes. By the early 80's, Anderson was kicking off one of the greatest and longest careers the NFL had ever seen. A staggering 25 seasons, including 13 with the Saints, and 8 with the Falcons. Two fierce rivals. That'd be like splitting your
career between the Browns and Steelers.
As these soon-to-be Hall of Famers pointed out, there is no "blueprint" to becoming a Hall of Famer. Just a special drive, or as Taylor called it, a "competitive sickness", to be the best. They were during their individual runs. And their roads all led them to Canton.