Aug 2, 2019; Canton, OH, USA; Ed Reed speaks at a press conference at McKinley High.

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Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019 includes three players from Louisiana

Ed Reed, Kevin Mawae, and Johnny Robinson will be inducted on Saturday

Seth Dunlap
August 02, 2019 - 6:55 pm

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019 will be inducted tomorrow (Saturday) at 6 p.m. CT in Canton, OH.  This year’s group has a distinct Louisiana flavor, with three players having ties to the Pelican state. 

The most prolific player of the group is Ed Reed, the ball-hawking safety that played a dozen seasons in the league, all but one with the Baltimore Ravens.  Reed was born in St. Rose, LA and went to high school at Destrehan.   He holds, or is tied for, six NFL records and was the first person in league history to return an interception, punt, blocked punt, and fumble for a touchdown.  He also has the most multi-interception games in NFL history with 12.   Reed totaled 64 interceptions, 643 tackles, and nine defensive touchdowns.  He was a nine time Pro Bowl selection, and an eight time All Pro.   He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2004.  Reed was an integral part of Ravens defenses that are widely regarded as among the best in NFL history.

WWL football analyst Mike Detillier has covered Reed since his days at Destrehan.  Detillier thinks there’s no question that Reed is one of the best safeties in NFL history.

“I think in the last 25, 30 years (there’s) Ed Reed and Ronnie Lott.  You don’t have to go any further than that,” he said.  “Ed was unbelievable.  One of the smartest football players I’ve ever spoke to.  He could tell you a route by the way a wide receiver would drop his hands or put it on his hips."

Center Kevin Mawae spent 16 seasons in the NFL, playing with the Seahawks, Jets, and Titans.  Mawae went to high school in Leesville, LA before playing college ball at LSU, where he was named All-SEC in 1991 and 1993.  Mawae was an eight time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection, and is enshrined in the New York Jets Ring of Honor.   He is now an offensive assistant on the coaching staff at Arizona State.

There was a time when Mawae almost joined Les Miles’ coaching staff at LSU.  Detillier said Mawae was born to be a leader of young men, and the Tigers made a mistake in not giving him the opportunity he’s currently getting at Arizona State.

“It wasn’t just about what he did on the field.  (Mawae) talking to young players about life, and about things to do with their money and everything else.  He would have loved to coach at LSU.  He got a couple of interviews with coach Miles and it never went anywhere.”

Both Mawae and Reed were named as part of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.

Then there’s Johnny Robinson, seen as one of the best safeties of his era.  Robinson was drafted by the Dallas Texans (now the Kansas City Chiefs) in 1960, and spend 11 seasons in professional football.   Robinson was born in Delhi, LA and played college football at LSU.  He was named as part of the AFL All-Time Team, and was a six time All-Star in that league.  He snagged 57 interceptions in his career, and totaled 17 touchdowns, many of those on the offensive side of the football, as many players during his era were asked to play both ways.  Robinson is part of the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame and won three AFL championships and one Super Bowl with the franchise.

Detillier was glad Robinson will finally be inducted into the Hall of Fame, something he said was long overdue.

“Look the long wait Johnny Robinson had, you know, to get in,” Detillier bemoaned. “His first two seasons he played offense, then (Chiefs coach) Hank (Stram) moved him to defense and he became and unbelievable safety there.  He’s a ball hawk.  Just knew how to get in position and make a play.”

It will be a special night for Louisiana football fans on Saturday when three native sons are awarded with one of the the highest honors a professional football player can receive.  Watch the induction ceremony on the NFL Network beginning at 6 p.m. CT.

Listen to Detillier chat with Bobby Hebert, Deuce McAllister, and Kristian Garic about the three soon-to-be Hall of Famers in the podcast below.

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