Tomlinson and Taylor Join Pro Football's Immortals

Players don't enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame wearing team hats or colors, but Jets Nation will see a splash of green when running back LaDainian Tomlinson and defensive end Jason Taylor are enshrined with the Class of 2017 on Saturday.

"Now that it's here, it's really amazing and mind-boggling at the same time because you're remembered forever," Tomlinson told newyorkjets.com in February. "For me it set in when someone told me the bust lasts 40 thousand years. That's incredible, because once I'm gone, and my kids and their kids and their kids are gone, that bust will still be here with my name on it."

"It's the pinnacle of this game individually," Taylor said. "Winning a championship is the ultimate team goal. Less than one percent of players to play the game at any level. There are only 303 of those guys in the world. ... I honestly feel like I don't belong."

Tomlinson, who spent the last two of his stellar 11 NFL seasons with the team, and Taylor, who started and finished his career with Miami but played the 2010 season for the Jets' AFC Championship Game edition, will be joined by five others to comprise the Class of '17: QB Kurt Warner and RB Terrell Davis, each in his third year as a Modern-Era Finalist, kicker Morten Andersen, in his fourth year; Senior Finalist S Kenny Easley, and owner/president/general manager Jerry Jones as a Contributor Finalist.

Center Kevin Mawae, a six-time Pro Bowler in his eight seasons with the Jets, was a Modern-Era Finalist but did not make this year's final list of five Modern-Era players to start their road to enshrinement in Canton. Neither did cornerback Ty Law, who played in 2005 and '08 in the Jets secondary, or guard Alan Faneca, who played in 2008-09 between C Nick Mangold and T D'Brickashaw Ferguson.

Best Images of Taylor During His Stint with the Green & White

Praise from Woody JohnsonIn February, team owner Woody Johnson offered words of praise for the Jets contributions of Tomlinson and Taylor:

"Congratulations to LaDainian Tomlinson for earning the greatest recognition a football player can achieve. LT spent two seasons with the New York Jets and left a tremendous impression on the franchise. His commitment to our team and his passion for the game helped us get to our second consecutive AFC Championship Game. We are honored that he chose to end his Hall of Fame career as a member of the Jets family.

"I would also like to recognize Jason Taylor. As a Jet he demonstrated the hard work that defined him over his entire career. It was a pleasure to have him in the franchise, even if it was only for a short period of time."

Top Photos of LT During His Time in the Green & White

LT Worked for Jets Fans' RespectTomlinson, whose career was built on nine phenomenal seasons with the Chargers, captured what it meant to be a Jet and connect with the fans.

"When you go to a new place, new fans, new teammates, you've got to earn the respect of all those people, and it's not easy to do," Tomlinson said. "So I took the approach that I'm going to keep my mouth shut, I'm going to prove myself by the way I work, the passion I play with, and I will earn my respect in that way. And so I gained that respect from the fans and my teammates.

"It meant a lot to me because I did it the right way. I earned respect by playing with the passion that I always knew I had but also that was just unique to me. The Jets fans were able to see that passion on the field. That's what it's all about for me. That's what it means to have that connection with fans, fans having that connection with the player. It was really special, it really was."

First-Time Eligibles in the HOFTomlinson and Taylor join a select group of 78 other Hall of Fame members who had been elected to the Hall in their first year of eligibility.

LT and JT also join 10 others with Jets ties already in the Hall. Joe Namath (inducted in 1985), Don Maynard (1987), Weeb Ewbank (1978) and Curtis Martin (2012) spent most of their careers with the Green & White. John Riggins started as a Jets first-rounder, made his name as a Redskin, and was inducted in '92. Ronnie Lott was inducted in 2000, Art Monk in '08, Bill Parcells in '13, contributor Ron Wolf in '15 and Brett Favre last year.

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