The third time seemed to be the charm, as Shannon Sharpe was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday after falling short on the previous two times he made it to the finalists list.
Sharpe joined Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk in headlining a 2011 class of seven. Richard Dent, Ed Sabol, Les Richter and Chris Hanburger rounded out the cast of inductees.
Sharpe now increases the number of Denver Broncos in the Hall of Fame to four. Previous Bronco inductees include Floyd Little, Gary Zimmerman and, of course, John Elway.
Looking back at Sharpe's career, there is absolutely not doubt that he deserves this honor. Frankly, the only question mark that should come out of his induction to the Hall of Fame is why it took so long to induct him.
At the time of his retirement, Sharpe was the all-time leader in receptions (815), touchdowns (62), and receiving yards (10,060) for the tight end position.
In his 14 seasons, Sharpe made the Pro Bowl eight different times. He was voted an AP first-team All-Pro four times, as well as a second-team All-Pro once.
Of course, no long-time Bronco fan can forget what an integral part Sharpe played in the Broncos' back-to-back Super Bowl championships, in Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII. He was also one of Trent Dilfer's favorite targets when the Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV.
After hearing of the induction, Elway took to Twitter to congratulate his former teammate: "Awesome day for Shannon Sharpe! Well deserved!!! Proud he was a Denver Bronco!!!!"
“If I had a thousand tongues, I couldn't say how happy and proud I am,” Sharpe told the AP. “I don’t know what I did to deserve this."
Well, Denver Broncos fans do have several tongues, and we are all saying the same thing right now. Thank you for all the years you gave to us, and congratulations.