The National Football Foundation announced the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame Class, tallying a total of 15 inductees. Of the many inductees, a familiar name stands out: Troy Polamalu.
Before Pittsburgh fell hair over heels for Polamalu, he roamed the field as a USC Trojan from 1999-2002 before being selected with the 16th overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. During his time at USC, Polamalu accumulated 278 tackles, 29 tackles for a loss, 6 interceptions, 4 blocked punts, and 3 touchdowns.
“I believe God named me Troy for a reason” Polamalu said to Steve Bischeff of WeAreSC.com following his announcement of retirement from football in 2015. Troy did indeed live up to his gladiator-esque name as a Trojan, earning All-American honors his senior season while earning All-Conference honors during his junior/senior seasons at USC.
Troy’s fellow 2019 class inductees include:
- TERRELL BUCKLEY – DB, Florida State (1989-91)
- RICKEY DIXON – DB, Oklahoma (1984-87)
- LONDON FLETCHER – LB, John Carroll [OH] (1995-97)
- JACOB GREEN – DL, Texas A&M (1977-79)
- TORRY HOLT – WR, North Carolina State (1995-98)
- RAGHIB “ROCKET” ISMAIL – KR/WR, Notre Dame (1988-90)
- DARREN McFADDEN – RB, Arkansas (2005-07)
- JAKE PLUMMER – QB, Arizona State (1993-96)
- JOE THOMAS – OL, Wisconsin (2003-06)
- LORENZO WHITE – RB, Michigan State (1984-87)
- PATRICK WILLIS – LB, Mississippi (2003-06)
- VINCE YOUNG – QB, Texas (2003-05)
Along with the players, two coaches were also added to the class. Dennis Erickson and Joe Taylor were announced as the two coaches to be elected along with the thirteen players.
The 2019 College Football Hall of Fame Class will officially be inducted during the 62nd NFF Annual Awards Dinner, which will be held on December 10th later this year.
The induction serves as a great achievement and recognition for Polamalu, and will hope to add another Hall of Fame induction to his resume when he is first eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020.
Polamalu, Lloyd Headline 2020 Steelers Hall of Honor Class
The Steelers announced James Farrior, Greg Lloyd, Troy Polamalu, Mike Wagner and Dwight White will join their Hall of Honor.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 26, 2020
Polamalu, who will officially be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next year, will now also headline this Steelers Hall of Honor class. The team’s first-round pick in 2013 out of USC, Polamalu is widely regarded as one of the best safeties of all-time. He was named to eight Pro Bowls, four First-Team All-Pro teams, and won the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2010. The safety known for his high-flying style also earned two Super Bowl rings in his 12 seasons in Pittsburgh.
Greg Lloyd served a pivotal role in the Steelers defenses of the 90s. Lloyd recorded 53.5 sacks, 34 fumbles. His best seasons came from 1993-1995, each of which earned him First-Team All-Pro recognition.
Linebacker James Farrior signed with the Steelers as a free agent in 2002. He won two Super Bowls and was named First-Team All-Pro in 2004.
Mike Wagner and Dwight “Mad Dog” White provide the “Steel Curtain” era of the 1970’s representation in this year’s class. Wagner and White were both part of 4 Super Bowl championship teams during their decade with the Steelers. Statistically, Wagner recorded 36 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries while White ranks 10th in franchise history with 46 sacks.
It was an honor to play with some of these greats!! This class is more than deserving, these men are leaders who set the example.
— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) September 26, 2020
In 2017, the Steelers opened their Hall of Honor and inducted 24 inaugural members. They then added five more inductees the next year. Four new members joined last season.
Six Steelers Nominated for Hall of Fame Class of 2021
Former Steelers Gary Anderson, Alan Faneca, Casey Hampton, Heath Miller, Joey Porter and Hines Ward are among the modern era nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
Miller was nominated in his first season of eligibility, while Faneca is a five-time finalist and Ward is a five-time semifinalist.
In total, there are 130 nominees, which will be trimmed to 25 semifinalists in November and 15 finalists in January before the five-man Class of 2021 is selected the day before Super Bowl LV in February.
Anderson spent 13 seasons kicking with the Steelers from 1982-94 and is the team’s all-time leading scorer with 1,343 points. He’s the only Pittsburgh player to score more than 1,000 career points and is also the team’s leader in career field goals made (309) and points after touchdown (416). He was a four-time Pro Bowlers, a three-time All-Pro and a member of the NFL’s 1980s and 1990s All-Decade Teams.
Faneca played guard for the Steelers from 1998-2007 after being selected by the team in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft out of LSU. Faneca was one of the most dominant offensive linemen of his era, and was chosen to participate in nine Pro Bowls and was an eight-time All-Pro. He is a member of the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team and won Super Bowl XL with the Steelers.
Hampton came to Pittsburgh three years later, in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft out of Texas. The big nose tackle spent 12 seasons in Black and Gold, winning Super Bowls XL and XLIII. Hampton was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and is a member of the Steelers’ All-Time Team.
Miller retired in 2015 after a 13-year run as the Steelers’ starting tight end after being the team’s 2005 first-round pick out of Virginia. Miller is eligible to be elected for the first time. He is a two-time Pro Bowler and a two-time Super Bowl champion.
Porter spent seven seasons with the Steelers from 1999-2006 and became one of the team’s most popular and most-feared outside linebackers. Porter recorded 60 quarterback sacks in 121 career games, ending his Steelers tenure as the second-most proficient pass rusher in team history. He was a four-time Pro Bowler, a four-time All-Pro and a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. After his retirement, Porter coached with the Steelers from 2014-18.
Ward’s 14-year NFL career was spent carving out a role as one of the most physical players on the Steelers, even as a wide receiver. The Korean-born Ward won two Super Bowls with Pittsburgh and was the MVP of Super Bowl XL after his game-sealing touchdown reception. His impact as a blocker was so well-known that the NFL changed its rules to prevent blindside blocks downfield, which has come to be known as the Hines Ward Rule. Ward was named to four Pro Bowls, was a three-time All-Pro and is on the Steelers’ All-Time Team.
Additionally, punter Rohn Stark, who spent most of his career with the Indianapolis Colts but played the 1995 season in Pittsburgh, was nominated.
The Steelers have three members in the Hall of Fame Class of 2020: safeties Troy Polamalu and Donnie Shell and former head coach Bill Cowher. The enshrinement of that class has been delayed until August 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Class of 2020 will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 7, 2021, while the Class of 2021 will be celebrated on Aug. 8, 2021.
The most recent Steelers players to be inducted were linebacker Kevin Greene and defensive back and assistant coach Tony Dungy in 2016.
Former Steelers OL, Champion Wrestler Carlton Haselrig Dies at 54
Former Steelers offensive lineman and NCAA wrestling champion Carlton Haselrig died on Wednesday at the age of 54.
A Johnstown native, Haselrig attended Pitt-Johnstown, where he wrestled as a heavyweight and won three NCAA Division II heavyweight titles and three Division I titles, becoming the only player to win six individual NCAA titles in wrestling.
He finished his wrestling career with a 143-2-1 collegiate record, going 15-0 against Division I opponents.
Haselrig was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 12th Round in 1989. He started on defensive line, but moved offensive line in 1990 and took to it quickly. He became a starter at guard and earned Pro Bowl recognition in his fourth season in 1992.
Haselrig left the Steelers after the 1993 season. He played one more season with the New York Jets before retiring from the NFL.
After his retirement, Haselrig returned to Johnstown. He took up mixed martial arts, where he had a 3-2 professional record, and also coached and trained players for football, mixed martial arts and wrestling. Haselrig is a member of the Pitt-Johnstown Hall of Fame and was selected to the NCAA 75th Anniversary Wrestling Team.