CANTON, Ohio – Jerry Kramer has been waiting for this moment for fifty years.
The 82-year-old University of Idaho graduate and Green Bay Packers legend joined seven other former NFL players as they were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Kramer was raised in Sandpoint and signed with the Vandals after his senior year. He became Idaho’s first All-American in 1956. He was later selected 39th overall by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round of the 1958 NFL Draft.
The former offensive guard played all 11 years of his professional career with the Green Bay and won two Super Bowl titles, five NFL championships and was named to the NFL’s 50th anniversary team. He was also named to the All-Decade Team of the 1960s and was a five-time All-Pro.
He was also Green Bay’s placekicker for three seasons. As a kicker, he made 29 of 54 field goal attempts and racked up 90 extra points, missing just five of his career, for a total of 177 points.
On Friday, more than 130 Hall of Famers joined this year's seven-member class for a photo on the steps of the Hall just before the Gold Jacket dinner event.
Kramer had five decades to prepare for this moment, but when he still could not imagine what would be awaiting for him in Canton.
"I had no idea," Kramer told KREM 2's sister station in Boise. "I thought I knew what it was, I thought I understood what it would be like -- had no clue. I just had no clue."
Kramer added that his experience in Canton so far has "been really fun" and that he was "so tickled for the support of the folks back in Boise and Sandpoint and my part of the world, it's just wonderful to have that."
One of his biggest supporters through the whole process has been Kramer’s daughter Alicia. She made it her mission to get her father into Canton. After her efforts and letters poured in from Hall of Fame members and fans alike, Kramer is now the 18th offensive guard to ever enter the Hall of Fame.
“I get goosebumps every five minutes, and then I find myself crying and then I find myself laughing. It’s just a range of feelings and stuff that I’m going through,” Alicia Kramer said.
“I am so relieved and so thrilled for dad,” she added. “I was really worried there for a while that I was making a mistake and embarrassing him to a certain degree, and I never wanted to do that. I wanted to please my dad. He’s a good man and a good father.”
Alicia said seeing her father try on his gold jacket for the first time was “one of the best moments.”
“That was an amazing moment to see dad open up at that cardboard box with the jacket inside and to see his face light up,” Alicia said. “It was like Christmas and to see a little kid on Christmas day. He was glowing…it was such a perfect fit it doesn’t need any fitting. It was made for him.”
“I think being able to share that with the family and for them to see dad and for dad to also have them there…it’s going to be an amazing experience,” Alicia said of the dinner.
Former Phildelphia Eagles star Brian Dawkins, who is also being inducted into the Hall, opened up to the men in their Hall of Fame class about all he had to go through to "still be here alive" for this year's enshrinement week.
"I'm thankful he's in my class with me. He's a great man, a great man," Dawkins said. "Some of the he's gone through ... to still be here, alive, to even receive this award, I'm just so happy for him."
The Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony takes place on Saturday and there are various watch parties throughout the Inland Northwest.