Willie Roaf was recognized as a Pro Bowler 11 times during his great career, but upon his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame tonight, he noted that recognition doesn’t come easily for an offensive tackle.
After being greeted warmly in Canton, Ohio, Roaf said at the start of his induction speech that he wasn’t accustomed to hearing his name called for a good reason.
“As an offensive lineman, I didn’t get singled out in front of a large audience very often,” Roaf said. “And when I did it was usually by a referee, who was saying, ‘Holding on No. 77.’”
Roaf, who played for the Saints from 1993 to 2001 and the Chiefs from 2002 to 2005, was presented for Hall of Fame induction by his father and was surrounded by family at the event. In a classy speech that deflected most of the credit for his great career onto others, Roaf mentioned family, friends and teammates and even gave a shout out to Don Hutson, the Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer of the 1930s and 1940s who attended the same high school as Roaf, half a century earlier.
A mountain of a man, Roaf still, at the age of 42, looks like he could go out there and pancake a defensive lineman. As one of the best offensive lineman of his generation, he richly deserves the positive attention he’s getting tonight.