CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Michael Strahan is pleased to know he is scheduled to go last during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
That means the former New York Giants star pass-rusher won't be the first to break down in tears once the 2014 seven-member class is inducted Saturday.
"I am not going to be the first one to crack," Strahan pronounced with a familiar gap-toothed grin Friday. "But it'll be interesting. I just told the guys, 'It's OK. If you're going to cry, this is the opportunity to cry where nobody can say anything to you.'"
If that's the case, Andre Reed might not make it through Friday. The former Buffalo Bills receiver was having trouble keeping his emotions in check after meeting former teammate, quarterback Jim Kelly, who is battling cancer.
"I almost broke down and cried," Reed said. "Three months ago, we didn't know if (Kelly) was going to be in Canton. Yeah, my heart kind of beat a bit faster when I saw him."
There'll be plenty of emotions given the varied backgrounds of the inductees.
It's a group that includes two first-time ballot selections, Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks and Seattle offensive tackle Walter Jones. Then there's Arizona/St. Louis defensive back Aeneas Williams and Oakland's Ray Guy, the first full-time punter inducted.
And don't forget Atlanta/Philadelphia defensive end Claude Humphrey, who waited 28 years to hear his name called.
"It's a great moment," said the 70-year-old Humphrey, who earned six Pro Bowl selections during a 13-year career. "It came at a time in my life where there wasn't a whole lot of other things going on. It gave the career I worked so hard on, a little rejuvenation."
Humphrey brings the history and Strahan the buzz, in having become a commercial pitchman and talk-show host. And Guy is bringing a 20-member punter posse to help him celebrate.
"It's bigger than me," said Guy, who is being inducted 28 years after he retired. "It is a part of them, too, because I am now representing every one of them."
At 64, Guy also holds a special place among members of his induction class.
"I remember watching games, and he had this hang time," Williams said. "I was able to go to the restroom, get some food, and the ball would still be in the air. That's what Ray Guy means in terms of his influence on the game of football."
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