Hall of Fame door opens for Robinson, not Bettis
A jubilant Warren Sapp, right, kisses Chris Rose, who served as host of the Pro Football Hall of Fame announcement show Saturday for NFL Network.
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NEW ORLEANS -- Dave Robinson left the relative wilderness that was Penn State in the early 1960s for the most remote outpost of the NFL, Green Bay.
There, not only did he join those great Packers teams of the decade, he became a big part of their success.
Robinson, the first African-American starting linebacker in the NFL, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday. He and six others make up the Class of 2013 that will be inducted at Canton, Ohio, this summer.
Former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis reached the final 10 of the original 15 modern-day finalists, but then was eliminated on the vote to the final five. Former Steelers linebacker Kevin Greene was eliminated in the vote to 10.
Robinson will be the sixth player from Penn State in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was one of two seniors nominees.
He played for Rip Engle's Nittany Lions and joined the Packers as their first-round draft pick in 1963. His NFL career spanned 12 seasons, the final two with the Washington Redskins.
He played outside linebacker in Green Bay, where he was part of three NFL championship teams, including the first two Super Bowl winners.
Robinson, 71, made three Pro Bowls. He intercepted 27 passes in his career and made the all-1970s NFL decade team.
Joining Robinson was fellow senior candidate defensive tackle Curley Culp, and five modern-day candidates: offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, offensive guard Larry Allen, defensive tackle Warren Sapp, wide receiver Chris Carter and coach Bill Parcells.
Ogden, Allen and Sapp made it in their first year of eligibility.
Parcells had to wait a while, earning a bust in Canton on his fourth try. He thought he might get in last year in tandem with one of his ex-players, Curtis Martin, who also starred at Allderdice High School and Pitt before reaching the NFL.
"It was a little less stressful than last year," Parcells said in a telephone interview from Florida. "I was kind of hoping we could do it together, but ... it didn't work out."
Bill Parcells ... Coach ... 183 wins; took Giants and Patriots to Super Bowl
Warren Sapp ... DT ... On NFL All-Decade team of 1990s and 2000s
Cris Carter ... WR ... Was only second player to catch 1,000 passes
Jonathan Ogden ... OT ... First pick of Ravens franchise; six-time All Pro
Larry Allen ... OL ... Seven-time All-Pro, primarily with Dallas
Curley Culp ... DT ... Mainstay of Chiefs, Oilers defenses in 1970s
Dave Robinson ... LB ... Penn State grad on Packers 1960s dynasty
First Published February 3, 2013 12:00 am