Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, and Calvin Johnson were among the eight players selected this weekend for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, headliners of the Class of 2021. They are joined by John Lynch, Alan Faneca, Drew Pearson, Tom Flores, and Bill Nunn.
The eight will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, Aug. 5-9.
Two-time Super Bowl winner Manning, Woodson, and Johnson were all in their first year of eligibility.
Manning was a five-time MVP and 14-time Pro Bowl selection, having played 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and four with the Denver Broncos to close out his career.
“It’s almost an impossible task to put into words what Peyton Manning has meant to the Colts, the NFL, the city of Indianapolis, the state of Indiana, and fans across the globe,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said in a statement. “His preparation, performance, and success on the field were legendary and speak for itself. Books have been and will continue to be written about the impact he and his family have made in all aspects of sports and life.”
Woodson was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection in 18 seasons with two teams – the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers. Woodson was also a four-time All-Pro, Defensive Rookie of the Year (1998) and Defensive Player of the Year (2009). He finished his career with 65 interceptions (fifth all-time) and 13 defensive TDs (No. 1 all-time).
Johnson finished his career ranked 31st all-time in receiving yards (11, 619) in nine seasons, all with the Detroit Lions. “Megatron” was a six-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro. Johnson will be the third player inducted at age 35 or younger, joining a small club — Gale Sayers and Jim Brown.
“The culmination of all the work, all the grind, all the ups and downs that you’ve been through, just to be able to excel at the level and be able to have the opportunity to be among such greats, I’m sleeping with a smile tonight,” Johnson said on the NFL Honors broadcast.
Faneca was a nine-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro in 13 NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1998-2007), New York Jets (2008-09) and Arizona Cardinals (2010).
Pearson played 11 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys (1973-83) and was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro.
John Lynch was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection in 15 seasons with Tampa and Denver.
“I’m humbled, I’m honored — so many people to thank and we’ll have plenty of time. To all the fans: Thank you for always having my back and expecting greatness for me and my teammates,” Lynch said in a video message.
Flores is one of only two people to win Super Bowl rings as a head coach, player, and assistant coach, joining Mike Ditka. Flores won two Super Bowls as coach of the Oakland Raiders.
Nunn was a scouting dynamo for the 1970s Steelers who died in 2014 after 45 seasons with the Pittsburgh organization.
The August inductions will also include the Class of 2020 and the centennial class, both of which were canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.