Former Houston Oilers' linebacker Robert Brazile waited 29 years to reach the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was so delirious to be named to the Hall's Class of 2018 that he said, "I wish that every football player who ever put in a mouthpiece had this feeling."
Yet this is all you need to know about Brazile. Even with the relief and elation of overcoming a 29-year wait, he also said he would've given it all up if it meant that former Green Bay guard Jerry Kramer, who'd been on the outside looking in for 45 years, would be chosen.
Of course, he didn't have to. Kramer and Brazile were the two senior finalists named to this year's class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast, Brazile admitted had it come down to a choice -- him or Kramer -- he would've given up his spot for the former Packers' star, who was a finalist 11 times, including twice as a senior.
"This is not just a class" said Brazile. "This is a phenomenal class of guys that are going in. First, with Jerry Kramer. You know, I told his agent the other day when we were up there in Minnesota, and they had all the finalists there ... I was looking, and I said, 'You know, if there's one person I would give this up for, it's to let Jerry go in'... because of the waiting period and the time that he had been a finalist. I wanted it so bad, too, but I really believed that I would just say, 'Jerry, you're going in instead of me.'
"And the other class members ... you got some hitters right there on defense. Ray Lewis, (Brian) Urlacher, my safety (Brian Dawkins) and me? I mean, I'd hate for somebody to try to run against that. That's a helluva defense right there. We don't need no D-line. Just let us play."
Brazile might be right about that. He was such a ferocious hitter that he was nicknamed "Dr. Doom" and labeled "Lawrence Taylor before Lawrence Taylor." That praise came from his former coach, Bum Phillips, as well as teammate Kenny Houston, yet when Taylor was notified he corroborated it -- saying that, as a young man, he studied Brazile, and wanted to be Robert Brazile.
"Lawrence deserves every thing he got," Brazile said. "Me and Lawrence have talked about this, and he wants to pat me on the back and say he wanted to be like me. But after I got out of football I started watching films of this guy ... and I wanted to be like Lawrence.
"Just today we talked, and he said, 'Welcome to the house, my brother. I'm glad. I've been holding this bed for you for a long time to come in and rest.' So with him giving me the kudos ... Lawrence himself deserves what Lawrence got before me. Robert got his this year. And I'm happy for it."