Favre, Dungy highlight Hall of Fame induction, but others also shined

With chants of “Go, Pack, Go” raining down before he took the stage for his speech, Favre had to feel like he was at Lambeau Field. The stands were full of Green Bay Packers fans, and Favre delivered a vintage No. 4 performance — long, mostly brilliant and all from the heart.

It centered emotionally around his late father, Irv, who died in 2003 and whom Favre said would have been his presenter had he still been alive. Favre honored his father that week almost 13 years ago by going out and playing a great game in beating the Oakland Raiders. He topped that Saturday night by telling a heartfelt story of the inspiration his father was to him throughout his life.

“I want you to know, Dad, that I spent the rest of my career trying to redeem myself,” Favre said through a trembling voice, several times fighting back tears and needing to pause before continuing. “I hope I succeeded.”

Favre also mixed in his trademark humor, rambled through several great stories and turned in one of the longest, but certainly also one of the most memorable speeches, in Hall history.

Dungy’s former wide receiver, Marvin Harrison, kicked off the ceremony. Introduced by Jim Irsay, the quiet Harrison — who rarely did interviews during his 13-year career — started his speech by joking that he had no plans to “break the record for the shortest speech,” and he kept to his word more than surpassing the 3-minute, 46-second speech of former Pittsburgh Steelers defender and scout Jack Butler.

Harrison’s quarterback, Peyton Manning, predicted the length of his receiver’s speech to be 9:20. Former Colts center Jeff Saturday went with five minutes. Harrison blew them away, clocking in at just over 11 minutes.

And he made more than one funny line. The Philadelphia native thanked Colts fans for being the “best in the NFL,” apologizing to the legion of Packers fans who made the trip for Favre. Harrison added: “In Philadelphia, if you get the coin toss wrong, they want to trade you the first thing Monday morning.”

Harrison had a complex legacy in the NFL, but there was little doubting his greatness as a player — and it turns out he’s a bit funnier than we thought.

St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Orlando Pace was a quiet man, too, and often took a backseat to his more famous “Greatest Show on Turf” teammates — including fellow Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk, whom Pace thanked along with the trio of Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, three players Pace said he hoped he could stand alongside as Hall of Famers one day.

DAVIE, Fla., Aug. 8 (UPI) — If you’re looking to add some juice to your fantasy football team this season, don’t skip past Jarvis Landry.

The Miami Dolphins wide receiver has averaged 97 receptions for 987 yards and 4.5 touchdowns in his first two seasons in the NFL. Landry has started 25 of 32 games. Last season he piled up 166 targets and 110 receptions to earn his first Pro Bowl nod.

Look for Landry’s stock to keep ascending.

“I feel myself getting better,” Landry said Monday at Dolphins training camp. “[Receivers] Coach [Shawn] Jefferson and these receivers, they push me everyday. Not only that, but the defensive backs…these guys push me everyday. We compete at a high level and that’s what coach Adam [Gase] wants. In that environment, the level rises.”

Even though teammate Kenny Stills doesn’t play fantasy football, he said he would take Landry as his top wide receiver.

“Jarvis can just do it all,” Stills said. “He gets a ton of targets and what he does with the ball in his hands after the catch is amazing. It’s something I get to watch everyday and I’m looking at in my game.”

“Jarvis can be as good as he wants to be just like everyone else,” Stills said. “He’s a hard worker and I think the sky is the limit for him and I think he knows that. We are pushing each other every day to reach our full potential and we want to see where that takes us.”

While his former LSU teammate and roommate Odell Beckham Jr. ranked No. 1 in UPI’s top 150 fantasy players, Landry is typically seen as a third or fourth round option.

Brett Favre says induction speech will mirror his career

“He kind of poked fun at Green Bay and Minnesota being in the same locker together,” Favre said. “But there’s no doubt how I will be remembered, and that’s as a Packer, as it should be. I wouldn’t trade my 16 years in Green Bay for anything.”

Even the New York Jets got a mention on Friday. Favre played one season for the Jets after the Packers traded him in 2008. A promising start to the season ended in disappointment and injury; Favre struggled through a torn biceps in his throwing arm.

“Well, I threw six touchdowns in one game, and Yippee,” Favre said with a laugh. “But it’s the only time I ever did it. I’ll say, and I’m [no] excuse guy, but before I tore my biceps, I was playing pretty good and we were 9-3, I think, and not hitting on all cylinders, and I thought there was tremendous [upside]. Our last good game was against New England on a Thursday night, and it went downhill from there as my biceps got worse and ultimately ended up in surgery. I would have liked to have seen how it have ended up if I had not had a torn bicep.”

Favre said he’s now at peace with how his career ended and his renewed relationship with the Packers. He said there are no longer any scars with the Packers, who inducted him into their hall of fame and retired his No. 4 last year.

“I feel like they’re 100 percent healed,” he said.

Favre said he doesn’t miss the game, even though he admitted it’s hard to find anything that compares to the competitive drive of playing in the NFL.

“I retired three times; you’d think I’d be an expert, which I was at that part,” Favre said. “But I never really got away. It didn’t last long. I really never knew what it would be like when I was not out there.

“You can’t cut grass and get the same feeling as throwing a touchdown pass to Sterling Sharpe, but the good news is, when the first regular-season game was underway the following year after I retired, I didn’t feel like I needed to be there.”

CINCINNATI — Believe it or not, Vontaze Burfict’s first day of a new football season is a lot like your kids’ first day of school: full of nerves, butterflies and excitement.

“The first day out here I had the little jitterbugs,” the Cincinnati Bengals linebacker said late Thursday. “[But] I felt good and my injury feels good. Everyone else had three days ahead of me with pads and everything, so the first day I put pads on I felt a little heavy. But you just have to get used to it.”

Burfict was back in the Bengals’ practice lineup after missing the start of training camp with an undisclosed injury that landed him on Cincinnati’s active/non-football injury list just before camp started. He came off that list early Thursday.

Last month, coach Marvin Lewis said he has no plans to play Burfict in preseason games. Much of the coach’s reasoning stems from the fact that he believes he knows what Burfict can do on the field, and he also wants to keep Burfict as healthy as possible ahead of his looming three-game suspension.

Burfict will miss the first three games of the season due to his sometimes overly aggressive playing style. A hit to the head of Steelers receiver Antonio Brown in the Bengals’ playoff loss to Pittsburgh in January was the tipping point for the league.

Lewis reiterated Thursday his desire to hold Burfict’s contact to a minimum.

“I’m not looking for anything special out of Vontaze,” Lewis said. “Just go out and practice and do his job. This is not an eye-opening day for Vontaze Burfict, so nothing special out of him. Just stay healthy.”

Dirk Koetter says Cameron Brate is Bucs’ starting TE

According to several reports, Seferian-Jenkins has been splitting out wide as a receiver during the early days of Bucs camp, though this is likely just the product of typical camp cross-training. Seferian-Jenkins was dismissed from the field last month during a minicamp practice, though the team described it as a “wake-up call,” according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. He was not lining up correctly, drawing Koetter’s ire.

“I don’t worry about Cameron Brate,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “I worry about myself and doing what the coaches tell me to do. You know what? If Cameron Brate is No. 1, that’s great. If it’s best for the team, I want what’s best for the team. I want to win as many games as I can. That’s what’s most important. Whatever role I have is whatever role I have.”

With Jameis Winston entering a crucial second season and running back Doug Martin entering the second phase of his career, a good, knowledgeable tight end can make all the difference. Just like Tampa Bay was not taking chances in letting Koetter go somewhere else this offseason, Koetter is not taking chances with his pass catchers and run blockers.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016 gets inducted on Saturday. Shutdown Corner will profile the eight new Hall of Famers, looking at each of their careers and their impact on the game.
Is it possible to list only one?

Stabler’s crowning moment was his Super Bowl championship in 1977, which came on the back of a season in which he led the league in passing and won the Bert Bell Award as the NFL’s player of the year.

But there are two famous plays that, together, sum up who Stabler was. The first was the “Ghost to the Post,” Stabler’s 42-yard pass to Dave Casper that allowed the Raiders to send a 1977 playoff game against the Baltimore Colts into overtime. Stabler then won the game with a 10-yard touchdown strike to Casper in double overtime.

There’s also the famous “Holy Roller” play — known to some as the “Immaculate Deception.” Down 20-14 to the Chargers with 10 seconds remaining, Stabler’s Raiders needed a touchdown. “The Snake,” as he was so accurately nicknamed, found himself surrounded by three rushers and getting thrown to the ground. He subsequently flipped the ball forward, the first of two blatantly intentional forward fumbles. The second was recovered by the Raiders in the end zone for a game-winning touchdown.

Foles is likely the best option for the Cowboys at this point. The team’s other top options, according to Rapoport, include executing a trade with the Browns for Josh McCown or plucking Jimmy Clausen out of free agency.

The Cowboys have fourth-round rookie Dak Prescott on the roster, but the team lacks an experienced veteran behind starter Tony Romo. Cowboys fans could argue that owner and general manager Jerry Jones didn’t do enough to bolster this ultra-critical position in the offseason, especially after watching Dallas burn to the ground last autumn when the combination of Moore, Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel floundered in Romo’s place.

DeAndre Hopkins ends holdout, reports to camp

Texans general manager Rick Smith, though, made it crystal clear that Houston wouldn’t cave into any demands from the Hopkins camp. Holding out was always a long-shot strategy, but the wideout will eventually be paid for what he is — one of the premier pass-catchers in the NFL.

After initially planning a press conference for Sunday afternoon, Hopkins, who was granted reinstatement to the active list from the reserve/did not report list on Sunday, now plans to address his situation with the media on Monday, Rapoport reported.

In just his third season, Hopkins in 2015 tallied a whopping 31.6 percent of the team’s passing targets, ripping through secondaries for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns off 111 grabs. It’s worth noting that he put up those titanic numbers playing with a cavalcade of subpar passers.

While Brock Osweiler still has plenty to prove under center, having Hopkins back on the field gives this J.J. Watt-less Texans team a much better chance to compete in the AFC South.

It’s also another reminder that holdouts rarely work out for players.

San Francisco’s quarterback competition has officially begun.

Niners coach Chip Kelly told reporters on Sunday that Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert will divide first-team reps evenly.

“We are going to split it right down the middle. I think we’ve got 24 reps today with the ones,” Kelly said. “So (Colin Kaepernick) and Blaine (Gabbert) will split it right down the middle with the ones and twos.”

There were rumblings this offseason that Gabbert was the leader in the clubhouse. During organized team activities Gabbert took control of the offense and even showed signs of leadership while Kaepernick recovered from various ailments. A stark contrast for a QB who was ran out of Jacksonville after three atrocious seasons.

Kaepernick, who underwent offseason surgeries on his right thumb and left knee in January after having left shoulder surgery in November, has a skill set that would seem to be ideal in Kelly’s offense. Yet the Nevada product has regressed since the 49ers lost to Baltimore in Super Bowl XLVII, and now he’s stuck in a rather grotesque QB battle.

Back in 2012, it would have been laughable to consider Kaepernick being locked in a battle with Gabbert. But times have certainly changed, and Kelly said there’s no timetable to name a starting quarterback.