Feb. 4, 2012
PITTSBURGH--Canton added more Pitt Blue and Gold today with the announcement that defensive end Chris Doleman and running back Curtis Martin were named to the 2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
Doleman was a dominating defensive end for the Panthers from 1981-84 and went on to become one of pro football's all-time leading pass rushers in 15 NFL seasons. Martin played at Pitt from 1991-94 before embarking on a prolific rushing career that spanned 11 active NFL seasons.
"I thank my family. I'm blessed to have the family that I have, to be able to play in the National Football League, coming from great parents," Doleman said. "There are so many things I can talk about, great coaches along the way ... guys who have helped me become the man that I am out there on the football field - and in life. I am truly blessed to be in this position and very honored."
"The way I feel about this, it's probably the most humbling feeling that I've had in my entire career," Martin said. "I feel tremendously grateful for all of the players that I've played with and all of the coaches that have coached me and been part of my entire career."
It is the second time in three years that Pitt has had two inductees in the same class. In 2010, offensive lineman Russ Grimm and linebacker Rickey Jackson were inducted together. The Panthers will now have eight total inductees in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Doleman (2012), Martin (2012), Grimm (2010), Jackson (2010), quarterback Dan Marino (2005), running back Tony Dorsett (1994), tight end Mike Ditka (1988) and linebacker Joe Schmidt (1973).
Pitt's total of eight Pro Football Hall of Famers ranks tied for third among all colleges, trailing only Southern California (11) and Notre Dame (10). The Panthers are tied with Ohio State and Michigan.
Boasting incredible longevity and durability, Doleman was an eight-time Pro Bowler, including six times with the Minnesota Vikings and one berth each as a member of the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers. He was a first-team All-Pro three times and was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s. Doleman ranked fourth in NFL history with 150.5 career sacks when he retired in 1999.
While at Pitt, Doleman displayed the athletic and ferocious style that would characterize his pro career. He was part of some of the greatest defenses in school history before going on to be the fourth-overall pick of the 1985 NFL Draft by the Vikings. He had 10 or more sacks in eight different pro seasons. In 1989, he led the NFL with 21 sacks, the fourth-highest single-season total ever. An incredibly disruptive defender, he forced 45 fumbles while recovering 24 during his career.
A third-round draft selection of New England in 1995, Martin spent three years with the Patriots (1995-97) before signing with the New York Jets (1998-2006). He finished his career with an astonishing 14,101 yards to rank fourth all-time among the NFL's career rushing leaders, trailing only Emmitt Smith (18,355), Walter Payton (16,726) and Barry Sanders (15,269). Martin was named to five Pro Bowls.
A Pittsburgh native who attended Taylor Allderdice High, Martin rushed for 2,643 career yards at Pitt despite playing in only two contests during his final campaign in 1994 due to an ankle injury. The highlight of his collegiate career came in the '94 opener when Martin dashed for 251 yards against the Texas Longhorns, setting a Big East single-game rushing record. Martin was a first-team All-Big East running back in 1993 after rushing for 1,075 yards.
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