CANTON, Ohio -- It took five decades, but Jerry Kramer finally has a permanent spot in teh Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The former University of Idaho star and Green Bay great became eligible for the Hall in 1974 after 11 seasons of playing for the Packers. At 82 years old, Kramer was finally inducted into the Hall Saturday night during an enshrinement ceremony.
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.
His daughter, Alicia, has been by his side through the entire process since Kramer was voted into the Hall of Fame in February. She was next to him again to help him unveil the Bronze Bust that will now be on display with 317 others in the Hall of Fame.
Shortly after, in typical Kramer fashion, he delivered a speech to thousands that was heartfelt, humorous and inspirational. He told the crowd about his time growing up in his hometown in Sandpoint.
"What a wonderful town, wonderful time," he said. "Small town, about 3,000 people, big lake."
He talked about his college experience playing for the University of Idaho and paid homage to several men who helped him along the way, such as Sandpoint coach Dusty Kline who saw potential in Kramer so long ago.
"He looked me in the eye and said, 'You can if you will,' " Kramer told the crowd.
He also discussed the power of team, which he enjoyed on the Vandals football field.
"The feeling of team is a wonderful thing," Kramer said. "It's a thing that I think the reason most of us play, because there's a team there and we want to be part of a team."
All of his stories on the podium Saturday followed a theme -- be committed and disciplined, choose to do the right thing and making the world better with your presence.
With his name finally in the Hall, it is now time to celebrate. Alicia said she hopes they will celebrate with a day on an Idaho lake with thier fishing poles.
"He wants to have this celebration, he wants to enjoy it, but we're going fishing afterwards," she said.
Kramer, a senior committee nominee, was inducted alongside seven others in the 2018 class, including Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Brian Urlacher.