This past Saturday, The Black College Football Hall of Famehonored the Class of 2012 at the enshrinement ceremony in Atlanta. Raiders Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Brown, and the Raiders first-round draft pick in 1968, Eldridge Dickey, were among those chosen as part of the 2012 class. The newest members were selected from a list of 35 finalists who had been determined earlier by the Black College Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
Brown was inducted into his 10th Hall of Fame. "Not just deserved by me because of my teammates," said Brown in an interview with Behind the Shield host Jeanette Thompson. "They play a part in terms of me getting into the Hall of Fame. I owe a lot to them and surely owe a lot to the Raiders organization because of such a long time in my career playing here. All of it had to do with a lot of work by the coaches, the players I played with and played against."
Brown attended the event and had an opportunity to reconnect with old teammates and opponents. "They did a great job putting it on," said Brown. "Art Shell was there. Of course he's there and he's in the Hall of Fame. Guys like Willie Richardson who I played against all the way through junior high school, high school, college, and the pros, he and I had a chance to meet for the first time in probably 20 or 30 years. That was good. James "Shack" Harris, also from Grambling, he got inducted with me. A lot of the guys from the past were there who have been inducted in the last couple of years."
Dickey was also honored during the ceremony and Brown reflected on the type of player he was. "We drafted him number one. Great ball player," said Brown. "Dickey could have played anywhere. Defensive back he was good; punting he was good; wide receiver, quarterback, any position you wanted to put him, halfback, he was a good ball player. It's unfortunate that things happened and he passed away less than a year ago, I think it was, his family was there."
Black College Football Hall of Fame - Class of 2012
- Willie Brown(DB, Grambling State University, 1959-1963)
- Harry Carson(DE, South Carolina State University, 1972-1975)
- Eldridge Dickey(QB, Tennessee State University, 1964-1967)
- James "Shack" Harris(QB, Grambling State University, 1965-1968)
- Claude Humphrey(DE, Tennessee State University, 1964-1967)
- Steve McNair(QB, Alcorn State University, 1991-1994)
- Willie "Wonderful Willie" Richardson(WR, Jackson State University, 1959-1962)
- Johnny Sample(DB/RB, Maryland Eastern Shore, 1954-1958)
- Rayfield "Big Cat" Wright(OL, Fort Valley State, 1963-1966)
- Cleve Abbott(Head Coach, Tuskegee, 1923-1954)
- Jackie Graves(Former NFL Scout, former director of personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles)
The Black College Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee* *is comprised of journalists, historians and former football executives from around the country. The committee includes Ernie Accorsi, Charles Bailey, Gil Brandt, Charles Garcia, Donald Hunt, Mike Hurd, Ty Miller, Roscoe Nance, Charlie Neal and Lloyd Vance.
The Black College Football Hall of Famewas established in October of 2009 to honor the greatest football players and coaches from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Previous inductees include greats such as Lem Barney, Mel Blount, Buck Buchanan, Willie Davis, "Bullet" Bob Hayes, Deacon Jones, Walter Payton, Eddie G. Robinson, Jerry Rice, Art Shell, Doug Williams and Paul "Tank" Younger.