Aug. 6, 2006
On Saturday afternoon, former UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. He is the fourth UCLA player to be enshrined, joining quarterback Bob Waterfield, receiver Tom Fears and defensive back Jimmy Johnson.
During his induction speech, Aikman discussed how his transfer from Oklahoma to UCLA turned his career around. He mentioned the influence head coach Terry Donahue had on his career and thanked Donahue for the example he set for his players. The Bruins were 20-4 during Troy's two years (1987 and 1988) and he was the No. 1 selection in the 1989 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys.
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero was one of four Bruin administrators at the ceremony. Donahue was also in attendance, as well as many of Aikman's UCLA teammates, including Mike Farr, Charles Arbuckle, John Kidder, Russ Warnick, David Keating, Paco Craig, Tom Whitenight, Doug Kline and Bill Paige, to name a few. David Norrie, who was a senior the year prior to Aikman's redshirt year and is a close friend, was also in attendance, as was Steve Axman, Aikman's offensive coordinator at UCLA, and Kansas City Chief GM Carl Peterson.
Aikman hosted a party on Saturday evening that was attended by over 150 people, including those with Bruin connections, and the quarterback posed for photos with the UCLA group.
During his speech, Aikman's voice cracked as he explained his emotions.
"I was able to live a dream. I played professional football," he said. "That I was able to do so with so many great players and coaches and win three championships and wind up here -- it is almost too much to believe. I am humbled to be welcomed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame."
Aikman won 90 games in the 1990s, the most by any quarterback in one decade.The top overall pick in the 1989 draft, he guided the Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles in four seasons and made six Pro Bowls.
He saved his strongest praise for his teammates, including NFL career rushing leader Emmitt Smith, who was in the audience and certainly will be on the stage for his own induction someday.
"I did what was asked to help the team win," he said, "and after a career of putting team goals first, it is so extremely gratifying to receive the highest individual honor a player can receive."