When the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2013 is introduced and enshrined on Saturday night, some names will more familiar than others. Curley Culp, one of seven incoming Hall members, will likely concede the lion's share of the spotlight to players more familiar to current NFL fans, but that doesn't take away from the former Kansas City Chiefs' defender's impact.
Most fans will be focused on the names they know best: Bill Parcells, Jonathan Ogden, Warren Sapp and Larry Allen. Culp is one of two senior entrants, along with Dave Robinson, and together they represent the players who helped build the game to make it the grand arena it became for modern day athletes.
Culp was already recognized by the Chiefs in 2008 when he was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame. He spent half of his 14-year playing career with the Chiefs, from 1968-74, and was an important part of the team's Super Bowl defense in 1969. Alongside Buck Buchanan, the defensive front controlled the line of scrimmage and gave playmakers like Willie Lanier, Johnny Robinson and Emmitt Thomas a chance to excel.
Culp also spent several years with the Houston Oilers and Detroit Lions, and his stature only rose in his later years. He was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in '75 with the OIlers after an 11.5 sack season, and finished his career with five Pro Bowl appearances and 179 games played. Culp's combination of size, strength and quickness helped the Oilers develop one of the first 3-4 fronts in the game. In the end, he became perhaps the first prototypical 3-4 nose tackle.
"To me, it seems just yesterday," Culp said in a recent interview. "But it's been four decades. That's a long time. I'm just very grateful to get this honor. It crosses my mind, at least, once or twice a day. I realize what an honor it is and it's very exciting to know that is finally coming."
It's an honor only returned to a man who made gave fans the honor of playing at such a high level week in and week out.
More from Arrowhead Pride:
- Kansas City Chiefs training camp 2013: Family Fun Day highlights day 9 practice report
- Curley Culp talks about his Hall of Fame career
- Rokevious Watkins, 2012 draft pick, agrees with Kansas City Chiefs
- Kansas City Chiefs working out a free agent cornerback on Monday
- Andre Reed, former Bills great, back in training camp helping Kansas City Chiefs receivers