• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

Six Inducted into Kentucky Football Hall of Fame

SIX NEW MEMBERS were inducted into the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame in a ceremony held in Lexington on Thursday and Friday, June 23 and 24. The 2016 inductees are, from left, Warren Bryant, Myron Guyton, Dermontti Dawson, Ray Buchanan  and Council Rudolph. Blanton Long Collier was inducted posthumously. (Photo by David Stephens)

Six athletes were inducted into the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame in ceremonies held in Lexington on Thursday and Friday, June 23 and 24. The six new members are Warren Bryant, Myron Guyton, Dermontti Dawson, Ray Buchannan and Council Rudolph. In addition, Blanton Long Collier, who died in 1983, was inducted posthumously. Warren Bryant, who is a University of Kentucky alumnus, was the sixth pick in the first round of the 1977 NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons. He played almost his entire pro career with the Falcons. He finished his career with the Los Angeles Raiders in the 1984 season. Myron Guyton, who was an Eastern Kentucky University alumnus, was selected in the eighth round of the 1989 draft by the New York Giants. He was a defensive back for the Giants from 1989 to 1993, and was part of the team that won Super Bowl XXV. He also played with the New England Patriots from 1994 to 1995. Dermontti Dawson, a University of Kentucky alumnus, was selected in the second round of the 1988 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played with the Steelers until 2000, when he opted to retire instead of being traded. He began his career as a guard next to center Mike Webster. When Webster retired, Dawson became the Steelers’ starting center. In his career, Dawson played in 170 straight games before sitting out for injury. He also played in seven straight Pro Bowls (1992 to 1998), was a six-time All-Pro (1993 to 1998), a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, and the Pittsburgh Steelers All-Time Team. Dawson also played in Super Bowl XXIX. His number, No. 63, is no longer issued by the Steelers. Ray Buchannan, whose nickname was “RayRay,” was a University of Louisville alumnus. He was drafted in the third round of the 1993 draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He also played for the Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders. Buchanan played defensive back throughout his career. He was a Pro Bowl selection in 1998, and an All-Pro selection in 1994 and 1998. He played in Super Bowl XXXIII with the Atlanta Falcons in 1999. He retired as one of the all-time great NFL cornerbacks with 819 tackles, four touchdowns and 47 interceptions. Council Rudolph, a Kentucky State University alumnus, was drafted in the seventh round of the 1972 draft by the Houston Oilers. He also played with the St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers during his career. While with the Cardinals, the team won NFC East Championships in 1974 and 1975. Rudolph retired from the game in 1977. Blanton Long Collier, who passed away in 1983, coached the University of Kentucky football team from 1954 to 1961, and the Cleveland Browns from 1963 to 1970. His 1964 Browns team won the NFL championship. It is the second most recent Cleveland professional sports team to win a title. According to the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame website, Collier had an interesting path to teaching. “Collier grew up in Paris and attended Paris High School. After graduating from Georgetown College, he returned to his old high school to teach and coach sports for 16 years. “Collier left the position to join the U.S. Navy in 1943 during World War II. At a naval base outside of Chicago, he met Paul Brown, who was coaching a service football team there. After the war, Brown hired Collier as an assistant coach for the Browns, a team under formation in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). “After seven years as Brown’s top aide, a span over which the Cleveland team won five league championships, Collier took a job as head football coach at the University of Kentucky in 1954. His Kentucky Wildcat teams amassed a 41–36–3 win-loss-tie record over eight seasons.” After Paul Brown was fired as head coach of the Browns by owner Art Modell, Collier was hired and led the team to the NFL championship game four times. The team won the title in 1964. Collier retired after the 1970 season, but remained with the team until being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1976. He then retired to Texas where he died in 1983. In 2007, the Kentucky chapter of the NFL Players Association established the Blanton Collier Award in his honor. The Paris High School football field is also named for him. For more information on all the HOF inductees, go to http://kyprofootballhof.org/the-event.

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