2008 PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2008 gathered for a photo at the Hilton Hawaiian Village yesterday. From left, Art Monk, Andre Tippett, Gary Zimmerman, Darrell Green, Fred Dean and Emmitt Thomas. They will be inducted Aug. 2.
A Hall class with class
The 2008 Pro Football Hall of Fame class isn't the flashiest, but it is marked by humility and ability.
Defensive end Fred Dean, cornerback Darrell Green, receiver Art Monk, cornerback Emmitt Thomas, linebacker Andre Tippett and offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman, representing nine Super Bowl rings and 31 Pro Bowl selections, made their first public appearance together yesterday at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Their names aren't as well known as other stars' because their careers lacked controversy.
Green and Thomas were shutdown corners before the term was invented, often dominating games without making a tackle or interception.
Monk was the prototype possession receiver, going over the middle and moving the chains.
Zimmerman protected John Elway's blindside, and paved the way for Terrell Davis and anyone else who ran the ball for the Broncos.
Thomas (an undrafted free agent), Green and Tippett played for one franchise each their entire careers.
"It was my badge of honor," said Tippett, who retired with a Patriots franchise-best 100 sacks.
Hawaii's many 49ers fans fondly remember Dean. When he joined Bill Walsh's team he helped deliver two Super Bowl championships to the long-suffering Niners, providing a previously missing ingredient.
"(Walsh) told me all he wanted me to do was rush the passer," Dean said.
Green was one of the fastest men ever in the league. Despite 5-foot-8, 178-pound dimensions, he was also one of the most durable, playing 20 years, all with the Redskins.
He was also known for his humility.
"I was overpaid from Day One," he said.
The class will be introduced at today's Pro Bowl and enshrined Aug. 2, at the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.