Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lewis, Urlacher, Moss and Owens Highlight Hall Class

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lewis, Urlacher, Moss and Owens Highlight Hall Class

Article excerpt

Byline: The Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher terrorized opposing offenses from the middle of the field. Randy Moss and Terrell Owens did the same to defenses on the outside

The two hard-hitting linebackers and two big-play receivers highlighted an eight-person class voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. Safety Brian Dawkins also received at least 80 percent support from the 47 Hall of Fame voters, along with contributor Bobby Beathard and senior nominees Jerry Kramer and Robert Brazile.

But the biggest stars of the class are the two linebackerswho made it on their first tries, and the pair of lightning-rod receiver who sometimes caused as many problems for their own teams as for the opposition. Moss also made it on his first try, while Owens needed to wait for his third year on the ballot to get enough support.

"I've been going a long time. And now I can finally rest," Lewis said. "I want to go fishing with a cigar now and just sit back. I don't want to work out every day now."

Moss and Owens each played for five teams in their careers as they often wore out their welcome with their inability to get along with teammates and coaches at times.

But at their best, there were few players ever able to strike fear in defenses as much as Moss and Owens, who were both all-decade selections for the 2000s.

"The door knocked and I started getting excited," Moss said of Hall of Fame President David Baker alerting him he has been elected. "All the emotions caught the best of me because it's been a long journey and it ends in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Tears of joy."

Moss burst on the scene as a rookie in Minnesota in 1998 when he caught a league-leading 17 TD catches and helped lead the Vikings to the NFC title game. His combination of speed and athleticism made him the game's most dangerous big-play threat and led to the phrase "You got Mossed" for embarrassed defensive backs.

He led the NFL in TD catches five times, including his record 23 for New England in 2007, and earned four All-Pro selections. He finished his career with 982 catches for 15,292 yards and ranks second all-time with 156 TD receptions. …

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