Dan Dierdorf is coming home, ending a journey that began nearly a quarter of a century ago just a mile from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It was in 1962 that a thrilled Dierdorf accompanied his father to the Hall's ground-breaking ceremony in his hometown. This time, he won't need a ticket to enter.
Dierdorf will be inducted into the hall today along with lineman Lou Creekmur, coach Joe Gibbs, wide receiver Charlie Joiner and defensive back Mel Renfro.
"The honor of being elected to the Hall of Fame is staggering in its own right, so I understand how the other inductees feel in that respect," said Dierdorf, an analyst on ABC's Monday Night Football. "But they don't know how I feel, especially to be born and raised here in Canton."
Creekmur, who played guard and tackle from 1950-59, came out of William & Mary to help the Detroit Lions to NFL championships in 1952, '53 and '57. He made it to the Pro Bowl in his first eight seasons.
Gibbs led the Washington Redskins to a 124-60 regular-season record and was 16-5 in post-season games and coached three Super Bowl winners. His .683 winning percentage from 1981 to 1992 is the third-best in NFL history.
Joiner played for Houston (1969-72), Cincinnati (1972-75) and San Diego (1976-86), catching 750 passes for 12,146 yards and 65 touchdowns. The Grambling product played more games than any other wide receiver.
Renfro, renowned as a cornerback, safety and kick returner for the Dallas Cowboys from 1964-77, was selected to the Pro Bowl in his first 10 seasons. The former Oregon running back played in four Super Bowls, closing out his career with a victory in the 1978 game.
Giants sign top pick
ALBANY, N.Y. _ Cedric Jones, the Oklahoma defensive end who was the fifth pick overall in the NFL draft, signed a six-year, $12.2-million contract with the Giants.
The Associated Press reported the contract was for six years and worth $12,191,250, which included a $6-million bonus paid in full upon signing and a $635,000 salary in his rookie season.
BENGALS: Doug Pelfrey, who had been on the verge of ending talks about a multiyear contract, signed a five-year deal worth worth $3.4-million, the Dayton Daily News
reported. Terms weren't released. Last year, Pelfrey set a team record with 121 points and bettered his own team record by kicking 29 field goals.
CHIEFS: Defensive back Reggie Tongue, a second-round draft pick from Oregon State, signed a four-year contract. The Chiefs also signed their sixth-round draft pick, wide receiver Dietrich Jells of Pitt, to a three-year contract. Cornerback Rogerick Green, who spent last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, signed a one-year deal.
COLTS: Richard Dent agreed to a one-year contract with Indianapolis, reuniting the former Bears defensive lineman with Indianapolis director of football operations Bill Tobin. Dent, 35, the MVP in the 1986 Super Bowl, is attempting a comeback after being out of football for most of last season.
DOLPHINS: Doctors repaired torn cartilage in receiver Fred Barnett's right knee, but extensive damage might keep him out of the lineup longer than first expected. Tight end Johnny Mitchell is out with the back injury that bothered him with the Jets. His bone scan came back negative and he is listed day to day. Wide receiver Charles Jordan remains sidelined with a severely sprained right ankle.
EAGLES: Rookie Jermane Mayberry, the first-round draft choice, was in fair condition in a Philadelphia hospital, undergoing treatment for pneumonia. Mayberry, 23, will remain at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for at least several days, team physician John McShane said.
49ERS: Seeking help at running back, the team signed former California star Russell White for the NFL minimum of $164,000.
JETS-PACKERS TRADE: Disgruntled receiver Ryan Yarborough was traded to Green Bay for a conditional undisclosed draft choice in 1997. Yarborough, the Jets' second-round draft pick in 1994, left training camp on July 20, telling receivers coach Richard Mann he was "frustrated and mentally spent" and was considering leaving football.
LIONS: Fans interested in the team's local booster club may call Alan Dorfman (800) 484-8456 ext. 0729.
PRESEASON: Three games today kick off the exhibition season: Indianapolis vs. New Orleans at 2:30 in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio; Oakland at Dallas at 9; and Pittsburgh vs. San Diego at 10 in Tokyo.