The NFL’s all-time leading receiver and running back were admitted to the Hall of Fame on their first try.
The men who tore apart NFL defenses couldn’t handle the emotions Saturday when they were elected to the shrine along with five others.
“They told me, ‘Don’t cry,’ ” Rice said, his eyes wet with tears. “It meant the world to me, just like winning a Super Bowl. On draft day, I didn’t take that for granted. I didn’t take this for granted.”
He could have.
A nominee needs 80 percent approval from the 44 media members who vote and Rice and Smith were slam-dunks in their first year of eligibility. Vote totals aren’t announced.
“I am just honored … to stand up there with greatness,” Rice added.
Smith teared up when speaking about his father and how “I was living his dream.”
continued @ ESPN.com