August 5, 2012

Roaf Inducted into Hall of Fame

Willie Roaf was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, with many former and current Saints in attendance.

Roaf is the second member of the Hall of Fame to be inducted based largely on his playing time as a New Orleans Saint.  A member of the NFL's all-decade team for the 1990's and 2000's, Roaf finished his career with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Roaf started all 131 games he played for the Saints from 1993 to 2001 after he was the team's top draft pick out of Louisiana Tech, the eighth overall selection.  As a Saint he was named to seven consecutive Pro Bowls from 1994 to 2000, and four more a Chief from 2002-2005.

Presented by his father, Clifton Roaf, who broke down in tears during his speech, Willie was told by his father: "normally, the father is the hero to the son.  But here, the son is the hero to the father."

Roaf's mother, Andree Layton Roaf, the first African-American woman to serve on the Arkansas State Supreme Court, passed in 2009.  Roaf said in his speech, "No, mom, I did not become a doctor, a lawyer or a brain surgeon, but I did become a Pro Football Hall of Famer, and I know you're proud of me."

A long row of Saints players wearing "77" black and gold shirts attended the induction ceremony in unison.  The team was in Canton, Ohio for the ceremonies and to play in the Hall of Fame preseason opener Sunday night.  They were joined by suspended head coach Sean Payton, who was allowed to attend, meet and greet his players at the ceremonies.

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