Six Inducted Into Arena Football Hall of Fame
JACKSONVILLE - The 2013 Arena Football League Hall of Fame class was announced by the AFL at halftime of the National Conference Championship Game between the Spokane Shock and the Arizona Rattlers. Darryl Hammond, Greg Hopkins, Cory Fleming, Bob McMillen, Carl Paganelli, and Lawrence Samuels have been introduced as the Hall of Fame class of 2013, and they will be introduced next week at ArenaBowl XXVI in Orlando.
With a career spanning from 1991 through 2006, Darryl Hammond was one of the consummate Ironmen in league history. His career was best known for his days in with the Nashville Kats, where he was one of the key cogs in a team that was beaten in both ArenaBowl XIV and ArenaBowl XV. He was a three-time All-Arena selection and a four-time All-Ironman selection. Hammond was also voted as the 19th player in AFL history in 2012 when the league introduced its Top 25 Greatest Players in league history.
There may have never been a better jack linebacker in AFL history than Greg Hopkins. Though Hopkins never put up the flashiest numbers in the world at either linebacker or at receiver, the totality of his career definitely cannot be underrated. Hopkins was honored for all of those amazing interceptions which came by hiding from quarterbacks when the jack was a much more difficult position to play due to the restrictions on the jack in the box. No pick of his was bigger than in ArenaBowl XIII with the Albany Firebirds. That day, Hopkins had a typical day. He had a pick, six tackles, a pass deflection, and five catches for 61 yards and a TD.
Three members of the Nashville Kats team that went to both ArenaBowl XIV and ArenaBowl XV were Hall of Fame finalists, and the one that probably had the most effective career was Cory Fleming. Fleming was the Rookie of the Year in 1997, and he continued his career through 10 amazing seasons. Fleming was not only a fantastic wide receiver, amassing over 10,000 yards and 242 total touchdowns, but he was a great jack linebacker as well. Fleming was the perfect build for a jack at 6'2", and he picked off 20 passes in his Hall of Fame career.
Not only was Bob McMillen a coach worthy of Coach of the Year honors in 2013, but he has become a Hall of Famer as well. McMillen had his face on Arena Football Road To Glory, the second and the most recent of AFL video game. This wasn't a man that was just a good face for the game, though. He was one of the most amazing fullbacks and mack linebackers that this league has ever known. McMillen was voted as the 17th best player in AFL history in 2012. He won the ArenaBowl three times, going so in ArenaBowl XI, ArenaBowl XVI, and ArenaBowl XX. McMillen was one of the few rushers who made it to 1,500 receiving yards in his career, and he had 97 total touchdowns between rushing, receiving, and defense.
Carl Paganelli has been the Supervisor of Officials twice in his career. He did so from 1993 through 2001, and then again starting in 2011. Paganelli also was the first ever Supervisor of Officials in the af2.
Of all of the great players in Tampa Bay Storm history, perhaps the most recognizable is good old #22. Lawrence Samuels donned the blue and gold for 15 of his 16 seasons in his illustrious career, and he was the vintage Ironman, even after the league went away from Ironman football. Samuels amassed over 1,000 catches, nearly 12,000 receiving yards, and 180 combined touchdowns in his career, and he won the ArenaBowl with the Storm in ArenaBowl IX, ArenaBowl X, and ArenaBowl XVII, and he won the ArenaBowl MVP and the ArenaBowl Ironman of the Game in ArenaBowl XVII.