Sharpe, Sanders Elected To HOF

Tight end Shannon Sharpe and cornerback Deion Sanders each spent two years in Baltimore.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Saturday, February 5th, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

Two former Ravens are headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as cornerback Deion Sanders and tight end Shannon Sharpe were elected Saturday.

Sanders and Sharpe will join former safety Rod Woodson as the only representatives in the Hall of Fame with Ravens ties.

It was Sanders’ first time on the ballot and Sharpe’s third. Sharpe shed tears at the announcement.

“If I had a thousand tongues, I couldn’t say how happy and proud I am,” said Sharpe, according to the Associated Press. “I don’t know what I did to deserve this.”

Sharpe did a lot, including breaking Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome’s receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns records for a tight end during a 14-year career. Sharpe spent 12 of those 14 years with the Denver Broncos.

During his two seasons in Baltimore, in 2000 and 2001, he was a major factor in boosting the Ravens to their Super Bowl XXXV title while leading the team in receiving. He recorded 810 and 811 receiving yards in each season, along with seven combined touchdowns.

Sharpe was also an instrumental leader during the Ravens’ championship run and was Todd Heap’s mentor when Heap was drafted to be his successor.

Sanders, a 14-year electrifying playmaker and presence, came out of a three-year retirement to finish his career with two seasons in Baltimore in 2004 and 2005.

Wearing No. 37 to represent his age, Sanders still notched five interceptions and a touchdown mostly in a reserve role with the Ravens.

The longtime Atlanta Falcon and Dallas Cowboy (five seasons each) finished his career with 53 interceptions. His 1,331 interception return yards are second all-time, along with his nine interceptions returned for touchdowns.

Sanders, a two-time Super Bowl winner and 1994 Defensive Player of the Year, also played one season for the San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins.

“I’m excited. These guys — are you kidding me? It’s hard to describe,” Sanders said. “To be held up in high regard, to this standard … I’m honored.”

Running back Marshall Faulk, defensive end Richard Dent, linebackers Chris Hanburger and Les Richter, and NFL Films founder Ed Sabol will join Sanders and Sharpe in this year’s class. To be elected, a finalist must receive at least 80 percent of the vote.

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