Linebacker Derrick Brooks opened the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony with a 24-minute speech that he called a "Thank you letter."
And defensive end Claude Humphrey followed by saying the 28-year wait to hear his named called was worth it.
The ceremony kicked off with a pair of extremes on Saturday night.
It began with Brooks, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers star, who was selected for induction in his first year of eligibility, and followed by the 70-year-old Humphrey, who retired after the 1981 season.
"Now they tell me I only had 10 minutes up here, but let me start off by telling you that I've waited 30 years to get to this podium, so don't rush me guys," said Humphrey, a six-time Pro Bowl selection who split 13 NFL seasons between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles.
No one was in a rush as the seven-member 2014 class was formally -- and for some, finally -- inducted.
Rounding out the class are defensive end Michael Strahan, receiver Andre Reed, defensive back Aeneas Williams and Ray Guy, the first full-time punter to enter the Hall of Fame.
Brooks, an 11-time Pro Bowl selection, paid tribute to family members, teammates and coaches, from his Pop Warner playing days to his 14 NFL seasons in Tampa Bay.
He thanked his late mother for instilling in him humility. He referred to former Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy as his mentor. And Brooks thanked Dungy's successor, Jon Gruden, for helping the Buccaneers believe they could be champions.
It was under Gruden when the Bucs blossomed into Super Bowl winners during the 2002 season in which Brooks earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Brooks even thanked Buccaneers kicker Martin Gramatica for his right foot, because of the number of tight games Tampa Bay won by field goals.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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