The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2022 was announced during NFL Honors in Southern California Thursday evening.
While there were no sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famers, the six players and one coach who got in represented the best of the best during their time around the league.
From former Green Bay Packers star defensive back LeRoy Butler to legendary head coach Dick Vermeil, here’s a look at the inductees for the 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class.
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LeRoy Butler, defensive back, Green Bay Packers
A second-round pick of the Packers out of Florida State back in 1990, Butler played 12 seasons with the team. During a six-year span from 1993-98, he earned a whopping four All-Pro honors. That span saw Butler record a whopping 27 interceptions. Ultimately, Butler won one Super Bowl title and was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-Decade Team for the 1990s.
Sam Mills, linebacker, New Orleans Saints/Carolina Panthers
One of the most-respected defenders during his playing days, it’s sad that Mills won’t be able to join other inductees in Canton this coming summer. Mills passed away back in 2005 while he was a Carolina Panthers assistant coach due to cancer.
On the field, his 12-year playing career was defined by five Pro Bowl appearances after the New Jersey native signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent back in 1986. Mills’ best season came in 1996 with the Panthers when he recorded 122 tackles, 5.5 sacks and a touchdown.
Bryant Young, defensive tackle, San Francisco 49ers
Dominant. That’s the best way to describe Young’s 14-year NFL career, all with the San Francisco 49ers. Selected in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame, Young acted as a precursor for modern interior defensive linemen such as Aaron Donald who dominate in the trenches.
From 1996-2002, Young recorded a combined 277 tackles, 53 tackles for loss, 51 sacks and five forced fumbles. The former Golden Domer earned four spots in the Pro Bowl during that span.
Cliff Branch, wide receiver, Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
It’s taken long enough for Cliff Branch to find his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. An absolute stud as a member of the Raiders from 1972-1985, Branch helped lead the organization to a whopping three Super Bowl titles.
Branch’s stats during the regular season dodn’t do him justice. Despite leading the league in receiving once and touchdowns twice, it’s what he did in the playoffs that stand out. That includes him tallying 73 catches for 1,289 yards and five touchdowns in 22 games. Sadly, Branch passed away 2019 before learning of his induction.
Richard Seymour, defensive line, New England Patriots/Oakland Raiders
Seymour only played eight seasons as a member of the New England Patriots. However, he became the face of their defense during that span. That included earning five consecutive Pro Bowl appearances from 2002-06. This span saw the Georgia product tally a combined 43 tackles for loss and 26.5 sacks from the defensive tackle position.
After wrapping up a four-year run with the then-Oakland Raiders, Seymour finished his career with seven Pro Bowl appearances and three Super Bowl titles. He also earned All-Pro honors three other times and was a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-Decade Team of the 2000s.
Tony Boselli, offensive tackle, Jacksonville Jaguars
The first ever pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars back in 1995, Boselli played only six full seasons in the NFL before injuries derailed his career.
With that said, the former USC standout was the single-best offensive tackle during that span. He earned five consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl and three consecutive All-Pro honors. It’s a what could have been scenario that ends with the former No. 2 pick in Canton.
Dick Vermeil, head coach, Philadelphia Eagles/St. Louis Rams/Kansas City Chiefs
Most of the modern generation will know Vermeil for coaching the St. Louis Rams “Greatest Show on Turf” teams with Kurt Warner. But that wouldn’t do the newest Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach justice.
Vermeil coached the Philadelphia Eagles from 1976-1982, leading them to a shocking run to Super Bowl XV against the Oakland Raiders following the 1980 campaign. After a whopping 16 years out of the NFL, Vermeil returned to coach the Rams. He led them to the championship following the 1999 season. All said, Vermeil posted a 120-109 record after wrapping up his career with five seasons as the Kansas City Chiefs head coach.