Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Taylor, 4 Others Inducted

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Taylor, 4 Others Inducted

Article excerpt

CANTON, Ohio -- Lawrence Taylor seemed to be giving himself a pep talk about turning around his troubled life right there on the stage during his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction.

"Anyone can quit," said Taylor, who despite drug, money and family problems became one of the greatest defensive players in history. "A Hall of Famer doesn't quit. A Hall of Famer realizes the crime is not being knocked down. The crime is not getting up again."

Taylor, one of just two defensive players ever to be league MVP and the leader of the New York Giants teams that won Super Bowls in 1987 and 1991, was one of five former players inducted yesterday.

The others were Eric Dickerson, the NFL's third leading career rusher; Tom Mack, a guard who played 13 years for the Los Angeles Rams; Ozzie Newsome, a tight end for the Cleveland Browns; and Billy Shaw, a guard for the Buffalo Bills from 1961-69 who became the first Hall of Famer to spend his entire career in the old American Football League.

But Taylor, whose election last January was preceded by several weeks of controversy because of his numerous drug arrests and game suspensions, was clearly the star of the show.

Cheered on by a large contingent of New York fans chanting "LT, LT," he seemed ready to make peace with his troubled past.

And it started with the introduction by his 17-year old son, Lawrence Taylor Jr. -- called T.J. by friends and family.

"If I could pick anyone to be my father, I'd pick Lawrence Taylor," T.J. said. That prompted his Dad to say:

"I had a bet with Bill Parcells that I wouldn't cry. I almost lost the bet there."

HALL OF FAME

Sketches of those elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame:

ERIC DICKERSON

Running Back L.A. Rams (1983-87), Indianapolis Colts (1987-91), L.A. Raiders (1992), Atlanta (1993)

Ran for an NFL record 2,105 yards with the Rams in 1984. He stands third on the career rushing list with 13,259 yards, having rushed for more than 1,000 yards seven times. Was the No. 1 pick by the Rams and second player overall in 1983. Named NFL Player of the Year in 1984 and the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 1986. …

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