Almost immediately after receiving the good news of their election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, each member of the new Class of Enshrinees turn their attention to who they will ask to serve as their presenter at the annual enshrinement ceremony in Canton, Ohio. The presenters chosen by this year's enshrinees – Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Dick LeBeau, Floyd Little, John Randle, Jerry Rice, and Emmitt Smith – include two family members, two coaches, two NFL club owners and a former owner.
Dallas Cowboys Owner/President/General Manager Jerry Jones will make his second appearance on the Hall of Fame Enshrinement stage as a presenter when he presents Smith, the NFL's all-time rushing leader for induction. Jones also served as Michael Irvin's presenter in 2007. Complementing Smith's induction, the Cowboys will face the Cincinnati Bengals the next evening in the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Game. "There is no greater honor for a person in my position," remarked Jones, "and I can't think of a more inspirational way for our current team to start a new season than being in Canton, OH while we all recognize the NFL's all-time leading rusher."
In a year that saw the New Orleans Saints win their first Super Bowl, it seems only appropriate that Saints fans are also able to celebrate Jackson's election to the Hall of Fame. Jackson is the first long-time Saints player to reach the Hall of Fame. Jackson has asked the Saints Owner/President Tom Benson to share in his honor by serving as his presenter. "No one has done more for football in the State of Louisiana than Tom Benson; he kept the Saints in New Orleans during many tough times. As a result, everyone in the region can enjoy the team's success today," Jackson stated. "Mr. Benson has always been good to me and stood by me since day one. I owe a great deal of my success to him."
Rice, the game's all-time leading receiver, wasted little time in selecting his presenter. His choice is Ed DeBartolo, Jr. the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers. During his 23 years owning the team, beginning in 1977, the 49ers won an unprecedented five Super Bowls, three (XXIII, XXIV and XXIX) during Rice's tenure. This is the fourth time DeBartolo has served as a presenter. He presented Bill Walsh in 1993, Joe Montana in 2000, and Fred Dean in 2008. "It's truly a great honor to present my dear friend Jerry Rice into the Hall of Fame," stated DeBartolo. "No player in pro football history dominated his position the way Jerry did, and it's a privilege to be his presenter."
LeBeau, the former Detroit Lions star cornerback and the game's third all-time leading interceptor at his position, has selected his brother Bob to serve as his presenter. "Dick loved to play sports," remarked his brother who continues to reside in London, Ohio where the two brothers grew up. "He was a great athlete. He's a great coach, and he's the most loving brother a man could have. I'm so proud that he's going to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame."
Little, who amassed more that 12,000 all-purpose yards during his career with the Denver Broncos, has also asked a family member to do the honors. The versatile running back has selected his son Marc to present him. "It gives me extraordinaryjoy to present my dad to the Pro Football Hall of Fame," he stated. I'm humbled to be the representative who will speak on behalf of our family many of whom equally deserve to be presenters.Our familywill all stand togetherand witness the crowning achievement of a spectacular career."
Randle, who terrorized offenses from his defensive tackle position for 14 seasons, has asked his friend and former defensive line coach John Teerlinck to be his presenter. As defensive line coach with the Vikings (1992-94) Teerlinck helped develop Randle from an undrafted rookie free agent to a consensus All-Pro defensive lineman. "I've been an assistant coach for 22 years," remarked Teerlinck, now with the Indianapolis Colts. "I've coached in 31 playoff games, six championships, and four Super Bowls. This tops them all. This is the biggest honor for an assistant coach."
Russ Grimm has also tapped an assistant coach, asking Joe Bugel to do the honors. During Grimm's career with the Washington Redskins (1981-91), Bugel served as the team's offensive coordinator (1981-82) and assistant head coach-offense (1983-89). It was under Bugel's watchful eye that the Grimm developed into one of the game's premier guards and the anchor of the Redskins famed offensive line nicknamed "The Hogs." "When Russ said he wanted me to be his presenter," Bugel shared, "it lifted me so high I almost hit my head on the ceiling."
As a part of the special enhancements being created for this year's enshrinement ceremony, the Hall of Fame presenters will deliver their remarks in a video tribute to their respective Hall of Famer. He will also be featured center stage to assist in the dramatic unveiling of the enshrinee's bronzed bust, the signature icon of enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In addition to their Enshrinement Ceremony responsibilities, presenters also play a key role during the gala Enshrinees Dinner conducted on the eve of the Enshrinement. It is there that they present their enshrinee with his gold Hall of Fame jacket.
The 2010 Enshrinement Ceremony, televised nationally by ESPN and NFL Network, will be held on Saturday, August 7 at 7 PM (ET) in Fawcett Stadium. Tickets for the ceremony are $30 each and can be purchased online at Profootballhof.com or by calling Turnstyles Ticketing (800) 913-9788. Special all-inclusive Fan Packages are also available.