LeRoy Butler enters the Pro Football Hall of Fame

CANTON, Ohio – LeRoy Butler entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the same enthusiasm as he celebrated the big games at Lambeau Field.

The four-time safety All-Pro was the first of eight members of the 2022 Class enshrined on Saturday at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

“DJ Khaled said it best: ‘God did it,'” Butler began referencing the song. “When you play for the Green Bay Packers, many doors open. When you win a Super Bowl, more doors open. When you are chosen for the Hall of Fame, football heaven opens up. It’s a rare company.”

Butler drew cheers from Jaguars fans in attendance to see Tony Boselli’s entry when he mentioned growing up in Jacksonville.

“Thanks Duval,” Butler said. “My mother, who grew up in poverty, made us think rich every day because it’s not about what you are wearing or what you have, but how you behave.”

Butler helped restore Green Bay’s glory days over a 12-year career. His versatility as a confidence set the standard for a new wave in the position and earned him a spot on the 1990s league All-Decade team.

Butler originated the “Lambeau Leap” and had a lot of money in Green Bay’s Super Bowl victory over New England. He failed to become the first player in league history to finish his career with 40 interceptions and 20 sacks.

Sam Mills, the 5-foot-9 linebacker nicknamed “Field Mouse” during his 12-year career with the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers, was placed posthumously after Butler. An inspirational figure, Mills has surpassed huge odds of even reaching the NFL.

Mills played Division III college football and was not drafted. He was cut by the Cleveland Browns and the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL and began his professional career with the USFL’s Philadelphia Stars. Jim Mora, who coached the Stars, took him to New Orleans in 1986 and Mills has never looked back.

“He was told he wasn’t good enough to play college football or old enough to play professional football and at the age of 27 he wasn’t young enough to play in the NFL and yet we’re celebrating here today,” said Melanie Mills. Sam’s widow.

Mills had 1,265 tackles, had 23 fumble steals, forced 22 fumbles, had 20 1/2 sacks and intercepted 11 passes in 12 seasons. He has also been a part of the top four playoff teams in Saints history and the first in Panthers history.

Mills became assistant coach of the Panthers after his retirement. He was diagnosed with bowel cancer prior to the 2003 season, but continued coaching during treatment and delivered what is known as his “Keep Beat” speech on the eve of the club’s Super Bowl match with New England at the end of that season.

Mills died in April 2005 at the age of 45. His “Keep pounding” remains the Panthers slogan.

In a year without candidates for the first ballot, the candidates endured long waits to enter the room.

Defensive tackle Richard Seymour didn’t wait too long to savor success in the NFL. He was a part of three Super Bowl championship teams in his first four seasons with the New England Patriots.

Seymour pointed out the defensive supporters of those teams, but did not mention Tom Brady by name.

“We had a young quarterback, but we made it work,” Seymour said, drawing giggles from the crowd.

Seymour had 57 career layoffs and a half in 12 seasons, his first eight in New England before ending his career with the Oakland Raiders.

“I’m overwhelmed with humility because it’s not about what this says about me, but what it says about us and what we can do together,” he said. “I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I did not come here alone. None of us did. None of us could have “.

42-year-old Seymour choked thanking his wife Tanya.

“Football is what I do, but family is who I am,” he said. “Thank you for everything you have added to my life. This day belongs to my family. Scripture teaches that your wealth is in your family ”.

Seymour called his three children his “greatest joy”.

“Of all I’ve accomplished, there is no greater honor than being your father,” he said.

Seymour praised Patriots owner Robert Kraft and former Raiders owner Al Davis and his son, Mark Davis.

He attributed his success to the lessons learned by Patriots manager Bill Belichick: work hard, be meticulous in your preparation, support your teammates and respect your opponents.

“This wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for manager Belichick,” Seymour said.

Longtime head of refereeing Art McNally gave a video speech after being induced as a collaborator.