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Pro Football Hall of Fame bios
Marcus Allen and James Lofton react to their election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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Saturday, January 25
Updated: July 29, 2:21 PM ET
Allen, four others elected to Hall
SAN DIEGO -- Marcus Allen has no hard feelings. Not now. Getting elected the Pro Football Hall of Fame on his first try helped him forget some of his bitterness for the Raiders.
"Today's a great day, the greatest day of my athletic career,'' Allen said after he and four others were selected for the game's highest honor -- on the day before his old team plays in the Super Bowl against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Allen's departure from the Raiders and owner Al Davis a decade ago was a messy affair, one he preferred not to discuss Saturday.
"I don't want to get into anything negative,'' he said. "This is the most positive day of my career. I wish the Raiders the best. I wish Mr. Davis the best in his quest of another championship.''
Allen played a crucial role in the Raiders' last title, when he won the MVP award in the 1984 Super Bowl. He ran for 191 yards that day, including a spectacular 74-yard touchdown. In 1985, he won the league's MVP after rushing for 1,759 yards.
But a contract dispute with Davis, who called Allen "a cancer on the team,'' prompted him to leave for Kansas City. He spent four more productive seasons with the Chiefs before retiring after the 1997 season.
"I had a problem with one individual, which made my stay uncomfortable,'' Allen said of his years with the Raiders and Davis.
Allen said he thought he had Hall of Fame potential right from the start of his career. The Heisman Trophy winner from USC faced San Francisco in his first game.
"I gained 116 yards,'' he said. "I don't know how many catches I made. I did some incredible things out there. Ronnie Lott's my best friend. I gave him fits that day.''
It was the start of a brilliant career. Allen became the first player in NFL history with 10,000 yards rushing and 5,000 receiving; he finished with 12,243 rushing and 5,411 receiving. He scored 145 touchdowns and was regarded as one of the game's best goal-line and short yardage runners.
"If you ask me if I was deserving (the Hall of Fame), I would say 'Yes,''' Allen said.
The voters agreed, making Allen the 52nd player elected to the Hall in his first year of eligibility.
Bethea played 16 seasons, all with the Houston Oilers. He made the Pro Bowl eight times and led the team in sacks six times, finishing his career with 105.
"I'm very nervous,'' he said by phone from Houston. "I took two showers waiting for this call. It's been a long ride, a wonderful ride. Finally, it's a great day.''
DeLamielleure played 13 seasons with Buffalo and Cleveland and was the lead blocker for Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson, who became the NFL's first 2,000-yard rusher in 1973.
"I'm overwhelmed,'' he said. "It's been 13 years. I'm a lineman. Nobody knows your statistics. Nobody knows anything. I was a piece of a cog that was pretty good. I loved the game. I would have played for a cap and T-shirt.''
Lofton played 16 seasons at wide receiver and had more than 50 catches in a season nine times. He was the first NFL player to score a touchdown in three different decades and finished his career with 764 catches for 14,004 yards and 75 touchdowns.
Stram coached for 17 seasons, starting with the AFL's Dallas Texans, who moved to Kansas City. He was with the franchise from 1960-74 and then coached in New Orleans for two more seasons. He led the Chiefs to two Super Bowls, losing the first one to Green Bay and then beating Minnesota after the 1969 season.
Stram went into the Hall of Fame as a seniors candidate, a separate category for nominees who completed 70 percent of their career more 25 years ago.
There were 15 finalists for the Hall. In the first cut, cornerback Lester Hayes, wide receiver Art Monk, quarterback Ken Stabler and owner Ralph Wilson were eliminated. The field was then cut again, with offensive linemen Gary Zimmerman and Bob Kuechenberg, linebacker Randy Gradishar and defensive end Claude Humphrey dropped from consideration.
That left seven finalists. Of that group, administrator George Young and linebacker Harry Carson failed to get the necessary 80 percent of the votes needed for election.
The 39-member selection committee consists of media representatives from the league's 32 franchises. There is one voter representing the Pro Football Hall of Fame and six at-large voters.
Bill Parcells was originally a finalist but removed himself from consideration when he signed to coach the Dallas Cowboys.
Enshrinement of the class of 2003 is scheduled for Aug. 3 at the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.