CANTON, Ohio — Willie Roaf didn’t sound his best Sunday during a public roundtable discussion with his fellow inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“I had a little too much to drink last night,” the Pine Bluff native said to laughs, his voice hoarse. “They said it was going to be a long weekend, but it was a great weekend. I enjoyed every moment of it.”
Then Chris Doleman joked: “We can tell.”
The inductees traded jokes and shared other newly minted memories at the Canton Memorial Civic Center, the scene of their gold-jacket dinner Friday night. The event preceded the Hall of Fame game between the Arizona Cardinals and New Orleans Saints, Roaf’s former team.
Five of the inductees held separate parties in tents near Fawcett Stadium shortly after Saturday night’s enshrinement ceremony. Curtis Martin’s party was different, as his family and friends followed him into the Hall where he got to place his bust.
Each of the inductees were asked by roundtable host and NFL Network commentator Rich Eisen who they thought should be elected into the Hall. Roaf suggested a couple of wide receivers in Cris Carter and Tim Brown.
“It’s been tough on receivers the past couple of years,” Roaf said. Dermontti Dawson added Sterling Sharpe, whose brother Shannon made the Hall last year. When Jack Butler, who waited 53 years since his retirement for induction, was asked, he answered: “I don’t have an idea. I’m not qualified. I don’t have the slightest clue how the hell I got in.”
Roaf and Martin were enshrined sooner than the other 2012 inductees, as both left the game after the 2005 season. Roaf said his enshrinement speech Saturday night was one of the first he ever delivered, considering he didn’t draw many interviews as an offensive lineman.
Martin talked about his speech that went from taking playful jabs at Cortez Kennedy and Roaf to being emotional as he described his rough childhood in Pittsburgh and mentioned some of his mother’s struggles.
“I’m horrible at planning a speech, number one,” Martin said. “I’m all about go hard or go home. That was a moment for me that’s so deserving of me expressing from my heart.
“I didn’t know I was going to share that. After all of that was done, my mother said, ‘I’m going to kill you.’”
Saints march over Cards
In the Hall of Fame Game, Saints backup Chase Daniel completed 15 of 20 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown in a 17-10 victory over the Cardinals to open the preseason schedule.
Drew Brees engineered the opening drive for New Orleans, which resulted in a touchdown, and sat out the rest of the night.
Cardinals starting quarterback Kevin Kolb was injured on his third series with a rib contusion. Ryan Lindley, third behind Kolb on the depth chart, completed 10 of 21 passes for 118 yards.