|Gary Zimmerman joins John Elway in Hall of Fame|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 02 February 2008 16:29|
``I'm happy to be joining John Elway, but at the same time I'm sad because there's so many other Broncos who deserve to be in the Hall, too,'' Zimmerman told The Associated Press in an interview from his home near Bend, Ore.
One of those who he felt should be in the Hall is linebacker Randy Gradishar, who failed to gain enough votes in his 20th and final year of eligibility as a modern era candidate on Saturday.
Now, Gradishar will have to pin his hopes on the veterans committee, where the list of names is longer and the odds slimmer.
``Randy definitely deserves it. Let's keep our fingers crossed for him,'' Zimmerman said.
As for his own selection, Zimmerman was stunned.
``You know, there aren't any stats for offensive linemen, and then there's the fact I didn't talk to the media, so there were a bunch of negatives,'' said Zimmerman, who quit talking to reporters after getting burned during his playing days in Minnesota from 1986-92.
He fit right in with the O-linemen's vow of public silence during his days in Denver from 1993-97, where he won a Super Bowl ring.
Zimmerman began his career with the L.A. Express of the USFL before reporting to the Vikings, where he began a streak of 169 straight starts that lasted until 1996, when surgery sidelined him. He was one of just a handful of players chosen for two NFL all-decade teams, the 1980s and 1990s, earned first- or second-team All-Pro honors eight times and was selected to play in seven Pro Bowls.
Still, he insisted he wasn't expecting a phone call Saturday informing him he'd been selected to the Hall of Fame, where Elway is the only Broncos player ever enshrined.
``It was like a dream, like it wasn't real, like I was in the 'Twilight Zone,''' Zimmerman said. ``There was so many other great players that were up for induction, so I figured I was going to have to wait my turn.''
An avid outdoorsman and winter sports enthusiast, Zimmerman has spent his retirement enjoying snowboarding and snowmobiling although injuries from his playing career have started to crimp his enjoyment of those activities, he said.
``Lately, I've been driving the plow eight hours a day,'' said Zimmerman, who spent much of Saturday clearing the snow from an easement road leading to his house. ``I've got drifts that cover all but about three inches of my six-foot fence.''