Canton, OH – Cris Carter was among seven men inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Others honored in the 2013 class during the lavish outdoor ceremony were offensive lineman Larry Allen, defensive tackles Curley Culp and Warren Sapp, offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, linebacker Dave Robinson and head coach Bill Parcells.
Carter, who finally made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on his sixth try, spoke last despite being the only enshrinee in the year's group without a Super Bowl championship on his resume.
The wide receiver was unceremoniously dumped by the Philadelphia Eagles and Buddy Ryan back in 1989. At the time, Carter was having off-the-field problems with drugs and alcohol, but turned his life around in Minnesota.
Carter referred to being cut during his speech, remarking that Ryan's wife said "Don't cut Cris Carter. He's going to do something special with his life."
And Carter did just that. He was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection with the Eagles, Vikings and Miami Dolphins from 1987-2002. He compiled 1,101 receptions with 13,899 yards and 130 touchdowns over his 16-year career.
Ogden was the first-ever draft pick of the Ravens in 1996 and immediately became a mainstay at offensive tackle, earning 11 Pro Bowl nods during his 12 NFL seasons -- all of which were spent in Baltimore. He was an All-Pro six times and helped Baltimore to a 34-7 win over the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV after the 2000 season.
The UCLA product also won the Outland Trophy as the top lineman in college football and was selected to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 2000s.
Ogden ended his speech by thanking the fans and the city of Baltimore.
"I am so very proud to be the Baltimore Ravens first-ever draft choice and I'm so humbled to be the Baltimore Ravens first-ever Hall of Fame inductee," he said.
Allen played 12 seasons on the offensive line with the Dallas Cowboys and two more with San Francisco from 1994-2005. He was elected to 11 Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro seven straight years, helping Dallas to a Super Bowl XXX title after the 1995 campaign.
A member of All-Decade Teams of the 1990s and 2000s, Allen played every position on the offensive line except center with Dallas.
"During my career, I didn't talk too much," Allen said. "I didn't have to. I used my helmet."
Sapp was a seven-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle over a 13-year career with Tampa Bay and Oakland from 1995-2007. He was the 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the Year with the Buccaneers and amassed 96 1/2 sacks despite playing on the interior of the defensive line. A four-time All-Pro, Sapp helped Tampa Bay to the Super Bowl XXXVII title and was a member of the NFL's All-Decade Teams of the 1990s and 2000s.
Sapp concluded his speech with an emotional tribute to his ex-wife.
"Baby, you held me up when nobody else would," Sapp said. "I want to thank you. You're my backbone. All the thanks. You took care of me. I want to say I love you and I thank you."
Parcells became the first coach to lead four teams to the postseason, guiding the New York Giants, New England Patriots, New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys all to playoff berths. In 19 seasons, including two where he was voted Coach of the Year, Parcells went 172-130-1 with a playoff record of 11-8, while directing the Giants to Super Bowl wins after the 1986 and '90 seasons.
Referring to his new bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Parcells had a suggestion as to where it should be located.
"I'd like to be somewhere near Lawrence Taylor so I can keep an eye on that sucker," Parcells said of his former player.
Culp played 14 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Oilers and Detroit Lions from 1968-81. A six-time Pro Bowl selection, he was a member of Kansas City's Super Bowl championship team after the 1969 season and helped the Oilers to back-to-back appearances in the AFC Championship Game in 1978-79.
"You know, this is an occasion that has long been in my dreams, and now lives in reality," Culp said. "I cannot express how glorious a feeling this is for me and my family, who have long hoped with me that this day would come. So to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame gives me joy and inspiration that will last the rest of my life."
Robinson spent 10 seasons with Green Bay and two with Washington in a career that spanned from 1963-74. He helped the Packers to three straight NFL titles from 1965-67 and wins in the first two Super Bowls.
"For me, this is the biggest day ever, the biggest day of the 21st century for the Robinson family," he said.