We're getting closer to actual football being played, which means the Hall of Fame Game is just around the corner. But before the preseason kicks off with that game on Sunday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will add eight more individuals to its ranks. This year's class is a big one, featuring names like Junior Seau and Ron Wolf.
The enshrinement ceremony takes place on Saturday evening and the inductees in attendance are scheduled to give speeches. Seau, who died in 2012, will have a video package produced by NFL films and his daughter, Sydney, will be allowed to speak in some capacity at the ceremony.
Seau will be the second-to-last enshrinee on Saturday. The order is set with Wolf going first, followed by Charles Haley, Mick Tingelhoff, Will Shields, Bill Polian, Tim Brown, Seau and Jerome Bettis. The event is set to begin at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN from Canton.
Seau had a brilliant 20-year career after being selected with the No. 5 pick in the 1990 draft by the San Diego Chargers. No. 55 was the star linebacker in the middle of the Chargers' defense, where he would make 12 consecutive Pro Bowl appearances in a San Diego uniform from 1991-2002. He was voted the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 1992.
Seau would finish his career playing for the Dolphins and Patriots, playing every game for a 2007 New England team that went undefeated before losing Super Bowl XLII to the New York Giants. He died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound in in 2012. Read Louis Bien on what Seau's career meant to a generation of Polynesians.
Speech: Watch Sydney Seau deliver a powerful tribute to her father.
In Ron Wolf's first season as general manager of the Green Bay Packers, he hired Mike Holmgren as head coach and traded for an embattled young quarterback named Brett Favre. Two years later, in the NFL's inaugural free agent period, Wolf signed superstar defensive end Reggie White away from the Eagles. The rest is history. The Packers went 92-52 during Wolf's nine-year reign as GM, and won Super Bowl XXXI. Wolf's scouting tree shaped the NFL we know today.
Speech: "The ultimate team sport."
Haley became one of the most feared defensive ends of his era with the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, where he would became a Super Bowl champion five times during a 13-year career. Haley finished with double digit sacks in four of his first five seasons, including a 16-sack season in 1990 for the Niners. He ended his career with 100.5 sacks.
Speech: "All this s**t is green!"
As a third round pick out of Nebraska, Shields developed into one of the top interior offensive linemen of his generation. Shields spent every season of his 14-year career with the Chiefs, being selected to the Pro Bowl 12 times. Shields was an iron man, starting 231 consecutive games, including playoff games.
Speech: "Each man and woman has an opportunity to impact human beings as they walk through life."
'The Bus' was a six-time Pro Bowl selection, Super Bowl XL champion and punishing inside runner for the Rams and Steelers during a 13-year career. Bettis is No. 6 on the NFL's all-time rushing list with 13,662 yards. His 91 rushing touchdowns rank No. 10 in NFL history. PFT Commenter penned a tribute to Bettis this week.
The Raiders selected Brown with the No. 6 pick in the draft after winning Heisman Trophy in 1987 at Notre Dame. He would go on to make nine Pro Bowls and set Raiders franchise records in receptions, receiving yards and punt return yards. His 14,934 receiving yards ranks No. 6 in NFL history.
Speech: "An honor you can't think about."
Tingelhoff was selected to the Hall of Fame in his 32nd year of eligibility. The former Vikings center made six Pro Bowl appearances and was an NFL champion with Minnesota in 1969.
Speech: Fran Tarkenton speaks for Tinglehoff.
The six-time NFL Executive of the Year is perhaps best known for drafting Peyton Manning. His teams made five Super Bowl appearances, including three straight with the Buffalo Bills when he was GM in the early 90s. Read Louis Bien on Polian's special eye for talent.
Speech: "... this game and the NFL have given me far more than I've given it."
Below, is all you need to know to watch on Saturday:
Date/time: Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
Venue: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio