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Pro Football HOF names ’10 senior nominees
LeBeau and Little will join 15 still-to-be-named modern-era candidates on the list of finalists from which the Class of 2010 will be selected. The Hall of Fame selection meeting will be held on February 6, 2010, the day before Super Bowl XLIV in South Florida.
To be elected, the former standouts must each receive the same 80 percent voting support that is required of all finalists. The Hall’s Board of Selectors can elect a maximum of two senior candidates and five modern-era candidates for a class no smaller than four or larger than seven during next February’s meeting.
Senior nominees are selected by the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee comprised of nine members of the overall selection committee. Through mail vote, the 2010 senior nominees were reduced to final list of candidates that included 17 nominees.
Five members of the Seniors committee met in Canton to discuss the merits of the finalists.
To be considered as a senior nominee, an individual must have completed his active career by at least 25 years.
LeBeau was originally drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the fifth round of the 1959 draft. After being cut by the Browns, he was signed by Detroit where he starred for 14 seasons at cornerback for the Lions
He intercepted 62 passes which he returned for 762 yards and 3 TDs. His interception total ranked third all-time in NFL history at the time of his retirement following the 1972 season. Today, it remains a Lions team record and is tied for 7th among all-time NFL interceptors.
His single finest season came in 1970 when he intercepted a NFC-leading nine interceptions for 96 yards. LeBeau currently serves as the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator and is entering his 37th year of coaching. As a player he was voted to three Pro Bowls. He received his Pro Bowl nods in 1965, 1966, and 1967.
Little, the sixth player selected overall in the 1967 draft, made an immediate impact on the football field. A multi-dimensional player Little combined his rushing talents with great hands and also served as a return man for the Broncos.
“I’m so pleased,” stated Little during a phone call with Hall of Fame officials moments after the meeting. “This is so great. This is the best news I’ve had since I retired.”
A five-time Pro Bowl pick, Little amassed more than 12,000 all-purpose yards during his career that spanned from 1967 to 1975. In all, he gained 6,323 yards on 1,641 career carries and scored 43 touchdowns.
He added 215 receptions for 2,418 yards and 9 TDs. Little, who led the AFL in punt returns as a rookie, totaled 893 yards on 81 career punt returns and returned 104 kickoffs for 2,523 yards in his nine-season career.
In 1971, he became the first player in Broncos history to rush for 1,000 yards when he won the NFL’s rushing crown with 1,133 yards on the ground that season.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010 will be formally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame during the enshrinement ceremony on Saturday, August 7 at Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium.