But it took much more than talk and showmanship to reach the Pro Football Hall of Fame, where both men were enshrined Saturday night along with
Sharpe and Sanders are the second and third former
"The people from the Hall of Fame tell me I have only 8 to 10 minutes. No chance," Sharpe said at the start of his induction speech Saturday night. "It may come as a shock, but I love to talk. This is the fraternity of all fraternities."
"For 44 men and women (on the Selection Committee) to say: 'You know what, Shannon Sharpe? You deserve to be there' ...I am a sentimental type of a guy," said Sharpe as his voice trailed off Friday, the day before his induction. He was a member of three
Sharpe followed his brother, Sterling Sharpe, into the NFL in 1990 when the
Sharpe spent two years in Baltimore and led the Ravens in receptions (67) and receiving yards (810) in 2000, their Super Bowl season.
Sanders entered the NFL with greater fanfare than Sharpe as the first-round draft pick (5th overall) of the
While he was renowned for being a "shutdown" cornerback, Sanders also returned kicks using his exceptional speed and field awareness. In an auspicious debut, Sanders returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown in his first game. Sanders would go on to score six touchdowns on punt returns and three TDs on kickoff returns. He also returned nine interceptions for TDs during his career. Sanders helped win two Super Bowls: one with the 49ers and one with Dallas.