As you probably know by now, two players with NFC North lineages will be inducted Saturday night into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle John Randle and former Detroit Lions cornerback Dick LeBeau are among seven members of the 2010 class.
ESPN.com took a look at this week at both men. My post on Randle got lost in the latest edition of Favre-a-palooza, so here is an excerpt:
Every now and then, the old instinct will surface. One of the most hyper NFL players in history has found golf in retirement, and the looney who once painted his face before games -- and developed post-sack dances so elaborate that NFL officials hid their chuckles while fining him -- almost always behaves himself. Except, well….
“I usually act the way you’re supposed to,” John Randle said. “But in a real subtle way, I do find ways to talk trash. Say I’m playing somebody and they have a lower score than me. I’ll wait for them to get just a little upset with their shot.
“Then, all of a sudden I’ll say, ‘Did you hear that?’
“'I did. I just heard the door opening up for me.’
“And they’ll get all nervous. That works.”
Meanwhile, AFC North colleague James Walker spoke with LeBeau. An excerpt:
LeBeau realized around his sophomore year at Ohio State that he wanted to coach football. He was hoping to last a few years playing professionally before making that transition. But LeBeau wound up playing 14 seasons in the league as a member of some great cornerback tandems with the Detroit Lions, teaming with Lem Barney and Dick "Night Train" Lane during his career.
Once LeBeau got into coaching, he made an even greater contribution to the NFL. His invention of the zone blitz changed the way many teams play defense and has been a huge part of LeBeau's Hall of Fame career.