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hawaiiansteel
02-02-2012, 03:25 AM
Former Steelers center Dawson is no longer in shadows

By Ralph N. Paulk, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, February 2, 2012

http://files.pittsburghlive.com/photos/2012-02-01/0202SteelDawsonCAP-b.jpg

Dermontti Dawson

Draft: Second-round pick in 1988

NFL honors: 7-time Pro Bowl selection; 6-time first-team All-Pro

College: University of Kentucky

Hometown: Lexington, Ky.


Dermontti Dawson spent much of his rookie season watching and learning from the best center Mike Webster.

It was an unspectacular yet productive 1988 campaign for Dawson. He played in only eight games, but started five times at right guard.

Then, in his second season, Dawson inherited the starting job at center. Webster had manned the position for 12 years after taking over for Ray Mansfield, who spent 13 years as the Steelers' starting center.

Dawson, undaunted by the pressure, stepped into the enormous shadows cast by two workhouse centers and spent more than a decade anchoring the offensive line.

For the third consecutive year, Dawson has an opportunity to join Webster in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He is among 17 finalists, including two former teammates running back Jerome Bettis and defensive end Kevin Greene.

"A lot of people ask me about the process, but I don't spend energy on something I can't control," he said. "If it happens, it happens.

"Apparently, I've met the qualifications to potentially to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. It's great to be mentioned for the Hall of Fame. Believe me, I don't take it lightly.

"It never entered my mind that I would get a call from the Hall of Fame. My first goal that I wrote down was to make the Pro Bowl. I never thought I would accomplish what I did in my career."

Dawson was a second-round pick from Kentucky. It didn't occur to him that coach Chuck Noll would ask him to move from guard to center, mostly because the Steelers drafted center Chuck Lanza of Notre Dame with their next pick.

"After my rookie season, they came up to me and suggested I switch to center," Dawson said. "I didn't think much about it, and I guess the rest is history."

It's a storied history, considering Dawson was a first-time All-Pro selection six years in a row (1993 to '98). Also, he was selected to the Pro Bowl seven consecutive seasons.

Like Webster's, Dawson's career can be defined by its longevity. He didn't miss a game during an 11-year stretch in which he became one of the league's most dominant offensive linemen.

He ruptured a hamstring in the 1999 Pro Bowl that ultimately led to his retirement. He spent the '99 and 2000 seasons trying to fight his way back. But when he tore his hamstring for a third time, he decided to walk away, albeit reluctantly.

"It was just one of those things were my body couldn't take the stress anymore," said Dawson, who played in three AFC championship games and Super Bowl XXX. "I wanted to play a few more years, but I had to come to realization that I wasn't going to play."

Dawson doesn't reflect much on his career. However, he said it took him some time to appreciate his talents and those of Mansfield and Webster.

"I think the longevity and playing at such high level for so many years, that's something we all lose sight of," Dawson said. "Seeing the things that (Webster) did in practice, off the field, in the film room and in the classroom, I tried to emulate what he did."

HEADED FOR HALL?

Steelers finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame:

Jack Butler, cornerback (1951-59)

Dermontti Dawson, center (1988-2000)

Kevin Greene, defensive end/linebacker (1993-95)

Jerome Bettis, running back (1996-2005)

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1lCd7o8CK (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_779546.html#ixzz1lCd7o8CK)

SteelBucks
02-02-2012, 08:14 AM
This is the year for Dawson. IMO, he should have gotten the call years ago.

BradshawsHairdresser
02-02-2012, 10:00 AM
IMO, he should have gotten the call years ago.

:Agree
Ironically, he could get bumped by a teammate he paved the way for...

RuthlessBurgher
02-02-2012, 10:08 AM
IMO, he should have gotten the call years ago.

:Agree
Ironically, he could get bumped by a teammate he paved the way for...

Dirt deserves the honor way more than Bus, in my opinion.

I think Butler (senior candidate) and Dawson (modern candidate) are the Steelers that get in this year.

phillyesq
02-02-2012, 10:46 AM
IMO, he should have gotten the call years ago.

:Agree
Ironically, he could get bumped by a teammate he paved the way for...

Dirt deserves the honor way more than Bus, in my opinion.

I think Butler (senior candidate) and Dawson (modern candidate) are the Steelers that get in this year.

I agree that Dawson is more deserving than Bettis. His combination of strength and athleticism was second to none. He was certainly the best center that I've ever seen, but I didn't have the privilege of watching Webster in his prime.

RuthlessBurgher
02-02-2012, 11:07 AM
IMO, he should have gotten the call years ago.

:Agree
Ironically, he could get bumped by a teammate he paved the way for...

Dirt deserves the honor way more than Bus, in my opinion.

I think Butler (senior candidate) and Dawson (modern candidate) are the Steelers that get in this year.

I agree that Dawson is more deserving than Bettis. His combination of strength and athleticism was second to none. He was certainly the best center that I've ever seen, but I didn't have the privilege of watching Webster in his prime.

I've actually heard announcers refer to Jeff Freaking Saturday as a first ballot Hall of Famer. Saturday couldn't hold Dawson's jock...not even close. Dirt had the best qualities of Hall of Famer Dwight Stephenson and Hall of Famer Mike Webster rolled into one body. His enshrinement is way overdue at this point.

BradshawsHairdresser
02-02-2012, 02:04 PM
I agree that Dirt is more deserving than the Bus...BUT...the Bus has gotten more media attention over the years, and like it or not, that could sway voters' perception.

Hope Dirt makes it this time around!

hawaiiansteel
02-02-2012, 03:55 PM
Bires: Bettis may be odd Steeler out for Hall of Fame

By Mike Bires Times Sports Staff | Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012


This summer, the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies will have a black and gold touch to them. But don't look for Jerome Bettis to be part of the festivities.

Of the 17 finalists for the Class of 2012, three are former Steelers. It's hard to imagine that at least one won't get in.

There's Bettis, the burly, bruising running back.

There's Dermontti Dawson, who followed Mike Webster and continued the tradition of excellent center play.

There's Jack Butler, a cornerback from the 1950s.

Some day, all three will be immortalized in the hallowed halls of Canton. But this year, there's no way all three can get in. The list of 17 finalists -- 15 modern-day nominees and two senior nominees -- is too strong.

That's why Bettis will probably have to wait until next year.

On Saturday when the Hall of Fame voters cast their final ballots, the running back who deserves to get in this year is Curtis Martin.

A former Pitt star, Martin was a little more productive than Bettis. Martin has the edge -- albeit a slight edge -- with more 1,000-yard seasons, more 100-yard games, more career touchdown and more career yards. On the NFL's all-time rushing chart, Martin (14,101) ranks fourth and Bettis (13,662) sixth.

Of the 15 modern-day finalists, Dawson is one of three offensive linemen. Tackles Will Shields and Willie Roaf are the others, and convincing arguments can be made for both. However, Dawson was the best center of his generation and was named first-team All-Pro six straight years (1993-98). He was the center of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s. Bill Cowher once said Dawson was the most athletic center to ever play that position.

This could be the year Dawson finally gets the Hall call.

Likewise for Butler, who was one of the best cornerbacks of his era. He and Dick Sanfel, a guard who played on three teams in the 1950s, are the two senior nominees. Both can get in. Both can be bypassed. But it's hard to imagine the voters leaving out Butler.
After all, he still ranks 26th on the NFL's all-time interception list with 52 -- and he didn't even play nine full years. In the seventh game of the 1959 season, Butler suffered a career-ending knee injury.

Butler, now 84, was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1950s.

http://www.timesonline.com/sports/bires ... mode=print (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/bires-bettis-may-be-odd-steeler-out-for-hall-of/article_6681ab5a-7743-5319-817f-31008d6ba8e7.html?mode=print)

flippy
02-02-2012, 04:15 PM
Not sure if I forgot or never knew his career was done after a ProBowl injury :shock:

That was back when football was football.

papillon
02-02-2012, 04:32 PM
Dawson deserves to be in ahead of almost any player being considered and maybe ahead of them all. When you're talked about or in the discussion as the best player EVER at the position you played, it shouldn't even be up for debate, retire, wait 5 years, get the call, make the speech.

It's ridiculous that this man has had to wait even this long for it to happen and it should happen this year.

Just my opinion, and, of course, my opinion doesn't matter to the voters one iota, unfortunately.

Pappy

skyhawk
02-02-2012, 04:36 PM
He better get in. Or it's obvious anti-Steeler bias because so many Steelers are in the Hall. He is the best center to ever play the game.

This is why I am concerned about Hines' chances. I doubt he is a first ballot either. Heck, look at Cris Carter and Andre Reed.

RuthlessBurgher
02-02-2012, 04:55 PM
Bires: Bettis may be odd Steeler out for Hall of Fame

By Mike Bires Times Sports Staff | Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012


This summer, the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies will have a black and gold touch to them. But don't look for Jerome Bettis to be part of the festivities.

Of the 17 finalists for the Class of 2012, three are former Steelers. It's hard to imagine that at least one won't get in.

There's Bettis, the burly, bruising running back.

There's Dermontti Dawson, who followed Mike Webster and continued the tradition of excellent center play.

There's Jack Butler, a cornerback from the 1950s.

Some day, all three will be immortalized in the hallowed halls of Canton. But this year, there's no way all three can get in. The list of 17 finalists -- 15 modern-day nominees and two senior nominees -- is too strong.

That's why Bettis will probably have to wait until next year.

On Saturday when the Hall of Fame voters cast their final ballots, the running back who deserves to get in this year is Curtis Martin.

A former Pitt star, Martin was a little more productive than Bettis. Martin has the edge -- albeit a slight edge -- with more 1,000-yard seasons, more 100-yard games, more career touchdown and more career yards. On the NFL's all-time rushing chart, Martin (14,101) ranks fourth and Bettis (13,662) sixth.

Of the 15 modern-day finalists, Dawson is one of three offensive linemen. Tackles Will Shields and Willie Roaf are the others, and convincing arguments can be made for both. However, Dawson was the best center of his generation and was named first-team All-Pro six straight years (1993-98). He was the center of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s. Bill Cowher once said Dawson was the most athletic center to ever play that position.

This could be the year Dawson finally gets the Hall call.

Likewise for Butler, who was one of the best cornerbacks of his era. He and bad word Sanfel, a guard who played on three teams in the 1950s, are the two senior nominees. Both can get in. Both can be bypassed. But it's hard to imagine the voters leaving out Butler.
After all, he still ranks 26th on the NFL's all-time interception list with 52 -- and he didn't even play nine full years. In the seventh game of the 1959 season, Butler suffered a career-ending knee injury.

Butler, now 84, was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1950s.

http://www.timesonline.com/sports/bires ... mode=print (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/bires-bettis-may-be-odd-steeler-out-for-hall-of/article_6681ab5a-7743-5319-817f-31008d6ba8e7.html?mode=print)

Bires forgot Kevin Greene. Granted, he wasn't in Pittsburgh for very long, but he's still a former Steeler.

papillon
02-02-2012, 04:57 PM
Bires: Bettis may be odd Steeler out for Hall of Fame

By Mike Bires Times Sports Staff | Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012


This summer, the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies will have a black and gold touch to them. But don't look for Jerome Bettis to be part of the festivities.

Of the 17 finalists for the Class of 2012, three are former Steelers. It's hard to imagine that at least one won't get in.

There's Bettis, the burly, bruising running back.

There's Dermontti Dawson, who followed Mike Webster and continued the tradition of excellent center play.

There's Jack Butler, a cornerback from the 1950s.

Some day, all three will be immortalized in the hallowed halls of Canton. But this year, there's no way all three can get in. The list of 17 finalists -- 15 modern-day nominees and two senior nominees -- is too strong.

That's why Bettis will probably have to wait until next year.

On Saturday when the Hall of Fame voters cast their final ballots, the running back who deserves to get in this year is Curtis Martin.

A former Pitt star, Martin was a little more productive than Bettis. Martin has the edge -- albeit a slight edge -- with more 1,000-yard seasons, more 100-yard games, more career touchdown and more career yards. On the NFL's all-time rushing chart, Martin (14,101) ranks fourth and Bettis (13,662) sixth.

Of the 15 modern-day finalists, Dawson is one of three offensive linemen. Tackles Will Shields and Willie Roaf are the others, and convincing arguments can be made for both. However, Dawson was the best center of his generation and was named first-team All-Pro six straight years (1993-98). He was the center of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s. Bill Cowher once said Dawson was the most athletic center to ever play that position.

This could be the year Dawson finally gets the Hall call.

Likewise for Butler, who was one of the best cornerbacks of his era. He and bad word Sanfel, a guard who played on three teams in the 1950s, are the two senior nominees. Both can get in. Both can be bypassed. But it's hard to imagine the voters leaving out Butler.
After all, he still ranks 26th on the NFL's all-time interception list with 52 -- and he didn't even play nine full years. In the seventh game of the 1959 season, Butler suffered a career-ending knee injury.

Butler, now 84, was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1950s.

http://www.timesonline.com/sports/bires ... mode=print (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/bires-bettis-may-be-odd-steeler-out-for-hall-of/article_6681ab5a-7743-5319-817f-31008d6ba8e7.html?mode=print)

Bires forgot Kevin Greene. Granted, he wasn't in Pittsburgh for very long, but he's still a former Steeler.

I don't consider him a former Steeler, even though, technically he is a former Steeler, not enough longevity. If he gets in great, but I won't lose sleep over it if he doesn't; Dirt is a different story, IMHO.

Pappy

RuthlessBurgher
02-02-2012, 05:05 PM
I don't consider him a former Steeler, even though, technically he is a former Steeler, not enough longevity. If he gets in great, but I won't lose sleep over it if he doesn't; Dirt is a different story, IMHO.

Pappy

I won't even lose sleep if Bettis never gets in. Was he an all-time great Steeler? Sure. Loved having him here. But is he an all-time great RB in the history of the NFL? The numbers say he is, but just because he has more yards than Jim Brown doesn't make him better than Jim Brown. He's up there amongst the greats, and wouldn't be out of place in Canton, but he's no slam dunk.

Dawson, on the other hand, is not only an all-time great Steeler, but he's an All-Time great center. I could legitimately argue that he is THE BEST CENTER OF ALL TIME IN THE NFL. How a guy like that has to wait to be enshrined is beyond me. He should have been in 3 years ago.

SteelBucks
02-02-2012, 05:35 PM
Dawson > Stephenson

They both played in the same era and somehow Stephenson is already enshrined and Dawson is still waiting. It's not a shame, it's criminal. Bettis can wait, it's Dawson's and Butler's time.

RuthlessBurgher
02-02-2012, 11:45 PM
Dawson > Stephenson

They both played in the same era and somehow Stephenson is already enshrined and Dawson is still waiting. It's not a shame, it's criminal. Bettis can wait, it's Dawson's and Butler's time.

Well, Stephenson's last was in 1987, and Dawson was drafted in 1988, so their careers didn't overlap. Stephenson was a contemporary of Webster.

NJ-STEELER
02-03-2012, 07:29 PM
He better get in. Or it's obvious anti-Steeler bias because so many Steelers are in the Hall. He is the best center to ever play the game.

This is why I am concerned about Hines' chances. I doubt he is a first ballot either. Heck, look at Cris Carter and Andre Reed.

art monk too. he was also a multi SB winner

bostonsteeler
02-04-2012, 08:26 PM
Awesome that Dirt is now in!!

I guess the Bus waits another year. Martin was clearly the better of the two anyway, especially later in their careers.

pfelix73
02-04-2012, 08:42 PM
DIRT! Way to go, bud...You're finally where you deserve to be!

:tt1

grotonsteel
02-04-2012, 08:44 PM
Congratulation Dirt Dawson...!!!! :Clap :tt2


Dirt should have been in HOF way before this. I guess better late than never.

hawaiiansteel
02-04-2012, 10:04 PM
Steelers' Dawson, Butler elected to Hall of Fame

By Dejan Kovacevic, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, February 4, 2012


INDIANAPOLIS That richly traveled road from Pittsburgh to Canton gained four more followers Sunday with the Pro Football Hall of Fame elections of center Dermontti Dawson and cornerback Jack Butler of the Steelers, running back Curtis Martin of Allderdice High School and Pitt and defensive end Chris Doleman of Pitt.

Still no Bus on that road, though.

Jerome Bettis, who barreled his way to the NFL's No. 5 all-time rushing yardage with 13,662, fell short of election in his second year of eligibility. The 44-member selection committee, which met yesterday at the Super Bowl XLVI media hotel, doesn't release vote totals, but Bettis fell short of the 80 percent needed to join the class of six that also included offensive tackle Willie Roaf and defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy.

Bettis didn't even make the cut of 10 out of the 15 modern-day finalists entering the day. Martin, like Bettis in his second year of eligibility, had the edge with a committee that was reluctant to add two running backs in the same class. In Bettis' first year, Marshall Faulk got the nod.

No more than five modern-era candidates can be elected in one class.

Dawson, 46, was seen by many in the football community as woefully overdue, finally making it in his eighth year of eligibility. He was born in Lexington, Ky., where he lives and works as a real estate developer. After a brilliant career at the University of Kentucky, he went on to become a six-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowl selection in 13 seasons with the Steelers, retiring after 2000.

"It's a great honor to be elected," Dawson said. "I never would have thought I'd be in this position. I feel very fortunate. It's something my kids and grandkids can see, to take a look at what their granddad did."

Following the Hall of Fame footsteps of Mike Webster, Dawson might have been even better. His streak of 170 consecutive games was second-longest in franchise history, and his extraordinary athleticism for a big man he was nationally ranked in discus and the shot put in high school afforded him a then-rare ability to lead sweeps and execute blocks as far downfield as the safety.

Before Webster, Ray Mansfield held the Steelers' center position in 1966-75, making for a three-player, 35-year run unlike any in NFL history.

"I learned a lot from Mike Webster in my first year, how to take care of yourself, how to prepare," Dawson said. "That's something I always valued, and it means so much to me to join this group."

As friendly off the field as he was fiery on it, Dawson was so held in such high regard by fellow players that the Steelers' offensive linemen showed up at the Super Bowl's Media Day in 2009 wearing his No. 63 jerseys to support his Hall induction.

The elections of Dawson and Butler raised the Steelers' Hall total to 20, per the institution's counting of those spent significant time with an organization. Dawson joined cornerback Rod Woodson (2009) as just the second player from the post-dynasty era.

"They're both deserving of this honor for all they've done throughout the years to help build and continue our rich tradition," Steelers president Art Rooney II said.

Butler, 84, was born and raised in Oakland near Forbes Field before starring at St. Bonaventure, then for 103 games in 1951-59 for the Steelers. His 52 interceptions including four in one game Dec. 13, 1953, against the Washington Redskins were second-most in NFL history at the time of his retirement. He was All-Pro in his final five seasons before a knee injury ended his career.

"It's an honor and privilege," Butler said. "Everybody knows that. But I love this. I love being here."

Even if it took a half-century.

"I never, ever thought I would be here. I just didn't think this was reality. When I was a kid, I dreamed about being a football player. And here I am, Jack Butler from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, going into the Hall of Fame. I can't believe it."

Butler went on to work 44 years for the Steelers as a scout/manager.

Martin, 38, also was a Pittsburgh native, growing up in Homewood, Wilkinsburg and Duquesne before finally joining the football team at Allderdice High School as a senior. He was an immediate sensation at running back, linebacker, even quarterback, before the secret was out with four flashy years at Pitt.

In 1995-2005 with the New England Patriots and New York Jets, Martin amassed the NFL's No. 4 all-time rushing yardage a notch ahead of Bettis at 14,101. He won a rushing title in 2004 and was a three-time All-Pro.

"This is one of the most humbling feelings I've had in my life," Martin said. "I'm so grateful to all my coaches and teammates."

Martin has been deeply active in community endeavors, including in the Pittsburgh area. That prompted NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to say upon his retirement, "Curtis Martin represents everything an NFL player should be."

Martin spoke emotionally of being raised by a single parent.

"Football was something I did just to stay out of jail back in Pittsburgh. Shows what can happen if you do the right thing."

Doleman, 50, had 150.5 career sacks over 15 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers. Before that, he excelled in four years at Pitt with 25 sacks, still sixth-most in school history.

This was his eighth year of Hall eligibility, and he and Kennedy emerged from a pack of formidable pass rushers.

"When they call your name, you're absolutely numb," Doleman said. "There are times you wonder if you've been overlooked, but I've always had the respect of my peers. I always went out and played for God, family and friends. It is a big payoff, I'll tell you that."

The elections of Martin and Doleman give Pitt a total of eight players in the Hall, along with Dan Marino, Tony Dorsett, Mike Ditka, Russ Grimm, Joe Schmidt and Rickey Jackson.

The rest of the Hall finalists who didn't make it were former Steelers linebacker Kevin Greene, Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Charles Haley, Andre Reed, Willie Roaf, Will Shields, Aeneas Williams, Bill Parcells and Eddie DeBartolo Jr.

Enshrinement will be Aug. 4 in Canton.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1lSufw7FP (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_780080.html#ixzz1lSufw7FP)