Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News

CANTON, Ohio -- New Orleans Saints great Willie Roaf focused on family during much of the speech marking his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday evening.

Juan Kincaid is in Canton and will have a full report at 10 p.m. on Channel 4.

The former Saints tackle was upstaged a bit by an appearance by suspended head coach Sean Payton, who was granted permission by the NFL to attend the ceremony, and created a stir when he appeared at the ceremony, shaking hands with players including quarterback Drew Brees and interim coach Joe Vitt.

But once the attention shifted back to Roaf, the first of this year's inductees to be honored, the focus became his 9 years with the team, as well as his later career with the Kansas City Chiefs and 11 Pro Bowl selections.

'I never dreamed I would one day be in the Hall of Fame,' Roaf said. 'I was just thankful every day to play the sport I loved.'

Roaf's father Clifton presented his son with the honor, appearing in a video, and shedding tears near the end of his remarks, saying 'Normally the father is the hero to the son, but in this case the son is the hero to the father.'

Roaf thanked his father several times during his remarks, as well as his grandmother, children and other relatives in the audience.

He ended his speech with words for his late mother, who was the first African-American woman to serve on the Arkansas Supreme Court.

'No, I did not become a doctor, lawyer or brain surgeon but I did become a Hall of Famer. I know you're proud of me and that's what matters to me most.'

Roafsaid when he was first notified of his selection to the Hall of Fame, he felt pride but also humility.

Roaf acknowledged his coaches at Louisiana Tech University for launching his career, which of course included legendary years with the Saints.

'I was blessed to have nine wonderful years with the Saints. I will forever be thankful to the Saints for drafting me,' he said.

Roaf becomes the second NewOrleans Saints legend to be inducted, following in the footsteps of Rickey Jackson, whom he acknowledged in his remarks, along withSamMills, Pig Goff, Jim Dombrowski andformer team executive BillKuharich.

Read or Share this story: