Former NFL wide receiver Cris Carter, whose teams included the Minnesota Vikings, made the Hall of Fame with Saturday's announcement. / Tom Olmscheid, AP
NEW ORLEANS - Two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Parcells called Saturday's selection into the Pro Football Hall of Fame "exhilarating," following his omission last year that was considered the biggest snub of that class.
The New York Giants, New England Patriots, New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys coach nicknamed "The Tuna" considered it worth the wait to land the catch of a lifetime. Parcells, 71, joined wide receiver Cris Carter, guard/tackle Larry Allen, tackle Jonathan Ogden and defensive tackle Warren Sapp, with senior members Curley Culp, a defensive tackle, and linebacker Dave Robinson, as the 2013 inductees.
Allen, Ogden and Sapp made it in their first year of eligibility, unlike Parcells and Carter, who made it on his sixth attempt. Induction ceremonies will be Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio.
"It's unbelievable. It's exhilarating to join an elite group," Parcells said from his Jupiter, Fla., home. "I'm just grateful for those ahead of me.
"It was a little less stressful than last year. Last year was the first time I was up. I knew I was going up against (former Patriots, Jets tailback) Curtis Martin. I was kind of hoping we'd get in together. It didn't work out.
"That being said, I'm happy to get in now."
Carter, now an ESPN NFL analyst, choked back tears when he took the New Orleans Convention Center stage.
Carter was battling alcohol and drug abuse in 1989 and was released by then-Philadelphia Eagles coach Buddy Ryan. Carter, who later credited his former coach with helping him turn his life around, played the next 12 years for the Minnesota Vikings before retiring after his one season with the Miami Dolphins, in 2002.
Carter ranks fourth all-time with 1,101 receptions and ninth in receiving yards with 13,899. His 130 touchdown catches are fourth all-time.
"It's unbelievable," Carter said of his election. "People told me when I didn't get in the first and second and third time, it would still be unbelievable. And it is. To end your career in Canton, I'm forever humbled. You look at my career and how it started, I'm sorry, but this is the happiest day of my life."
Carter was a top-10 finalist three times, including last year.
"I really, really wanted this. This is what I wanted my legacy to be," said Carter, a fourth-round draft pick of the Eagles in 1987.
"I believe I was one of the greatest wide receivers â?? not Randy Moss-like â?? but I believed if the ball was thrown in the air, I would catch it. I wanted to be among the best of the best."
A finalist must receive 80% of the vote among 46 members of the selection panel assigned to select the finalists from among a field of 17 final candidates.
Former NFL owners Art Modell and Edward DeBartolo Jr. failed to make it to the deciding vote Saturday. Five players failed to get in on the final vote: Jerome Bettis, Charles Haley, Andre Reed, Michael Strahan and Aeneas Williams.
But Parcells, on his fourth try, finally got his due.
"I'm very happy for Bill," Giants president and CEO John Mara said. "This is long overdue. He's one of the best coaches in NFL history. He turned our franchise around.
"We went through a long period in the 1960s and '70s when we were a laughingstock."
Parcells joked with 2013 classmate Ogden, saying the tackle was always "a pain in the neck" to game-plan against but honored to be going to Canton together.
Ogden found it difficult to sleep Friday night, walking the streets of New Orleans until early in the morning.
"It's nerve-wracking to have it all out of your hands. It's really stressful to some degree," Ogden said. "It wasn't easy. So many people were sending me texts.
"I told my wife, it's like going to the hospital when you're having a baby."
Ogden's only regret was that the late Modell, who was involved when general manager Ozzie Newsome made Ogden the Ravens' first-ever draft selection in 1996, failed to get inducted. But the Ravens playing the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in Super Bowl XLVII makes his selection more special.
"With the Ravens here and all the Ravens fans. I get a chance to see Ray Lewis play in his last game," Ogden says. "I'm going into the Hall of Fame. We were drafted together in 1996. It's come full-circle for us.
"Obviously, he'll be in here as soon as he's finished."
His first phone call?
"I called my mother," Ogden said. "Obviously, she was happy. My wife is on her way here. It's surreal and obviously one of the highlights of my life."
Former Cowboys and 49ers guard Allen said he "started crying" when he heard the life-changing news.
"My thought process when I played was I wanted to get guys to quit, tap out," said Allen, who will have Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to present him at the enshrinement ceremonies.
Allen was a dominant building block who shifted between guard and tackle, named to All-Decade teams during the 1990s and 2000s. He was a first-team All-Pro for seven consecutive years and helped protect Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman in the Cowboys' Super Bowl XXX victory.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Sapp rang up 96 1/2 sacks from 1995 until his 2007 retirement with the Raiders. The first-team All-Pro was a member of the All-Decades Teams of the 1990s and 2000s.
"We play the ultimate team sport and this is the ultimate examination of an individual," Sapp said, thanking his former Bucs defensive teammates. "Without Derrick Brooks, John Lynch, Ronde Barber, I wouldn't be sitting here right now.
"I'm just very happy I'm among the lucky seven."
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