Forty-five summers ago, the Denver Broncos tried Curley Culp at offensive guard.
Tonight, he joined 32 other defensive linemen in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
A five-time Pro Bowler whose playing career ended in 1981, Culp waited nearly three decades to make it to Canton. The Hall’s seniors committee, which considers players who have been eligible for 25 years or more, recommended Culp for the Class of 2013, and his membership was approved by the voters this February.
The Broncos traded Culp to Kansas City in his rookie season — an event that “changed the whole course of my professional football career,” he said Saturday night. Thereafter, Culp crafted a long, productive career as a defensive tackle for the Chiefs (1968-1974), Oilers (1974-1980) and Lions (1980-1981). In 1975, he earned defensive MVP honors from the Newspaper Enterprise Association.
“You know, this is an occasion that has long been in my dreams, and now lives in reality,” Culp said during his induction speech. “I cannot express how glorious a feeling this is for me and my family, who have long hoped with me that this day would come. So to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame gives me joy and inspiration that will last the rest of my life.”
In his speech, Culp thanked the late Hank Stram and Bum Phillips — “two of the greatest coaches a player could ever work with,” he said.
Curley Culp was introduced by his son, Chad.