CANTON, Ohio (AP) — LeRoy Butler jumped into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the same enthusiasm he celebrated big plays at Lambeau Field.
For his part, Tony Boselli was the first of the Jacksonville Jaguars to arrive in the room.
A five-time Pro Bowl selection in seven seasons in Jacksonville, Boselli had a career interrupted by injuries. But his dominant performance earned him the gold jacket.
Safety Butler was the first of eight members of the Class of 2022 to be honored at Hall of Fame Tom Benson Stadium.
“DJ Khaled said it best: ‘God did it,’” Butler said of the song. “When you play for the Green Bay Packers, a lot of doors open for you. When you win a Super Bowl, doors open for you. more doors. When you’re elected to the Hall of Fame, the doors of football heaven open. You find yourself in select company.”
Jaguars fans on hand to see the addition of Tony Boselli cheered when Butler said he grew up in Jacksonville.
“My mom, who grew up poor, made us think rich every day, because it’s not about what you wear or own, it’s about how you act,” she said.
During his 12-year career, Butler helped Green Bay recapture its glory days. His versatility as a safety set new standards for the job and earned him a spot on the All-’90s team.
Butler, the creator of the “Lambeau Leap” to celebrate plays, had a crucial sack by the quarterback in the Super Bowl as Green Bay beat New England. He was just short of being the first player in NFL history to finish his career with 40 interceptions and 20 sacks.
Sam Mills, the linebacker nicknamed “Field Mouse” during his 12 years with the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, was inducted posthumously after Butler. Mills had to overcome enormous obstacles to even make it to the NFL.
Mills played Division III college football and did not make the draft. He began his professional career with the Philadelphia Starse of the USFL. Jim Mora, the coach of the Stars, took him to New Orleans in 1986, and it was the final launch.
Mills had 1,265 tackles, 23 fumble recoveries, 22 forced fumbles, 20 sacks and 11 interceptions in 12 seasons. He played in the first four postseasons for the Saints and the first for the Panthers.
Mills died in April 2005 at age 45. Siu phrase “keep pounding” is the motto of the Panthers.
Defensive tackle Richard Seymour didn’t have to wait long for NFL success. In four seasons with the New England Patriots, he was part of the team that won three Super Bowls.
He singled out the team’s defenders but didn’t mention Tom Brady by name.
“We had a young quarterback, but we made it work,” he said, drawing laughter from the audience.
Seymour had 57 1/2 sacks in 12 seasons, the first eight in New England before ending his career with the Oakland Raiders.
Seymour, 42, emotionally thanked his wife Tanya.
He attributed his success to the lessons coach Bill Belichik taught him: work hard, prepare meticulously, support teammates and respect opponents.
“This wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for coach Belichik,” he said.
Defensive lineman Bryant Young, wide receiver Cliff Branch, coach Dick Vermeil and referee Art McNally were the remaining in a class of men who waited years — even decades — to be brought on.