James Lofton Hall Worthy

James Lofton, a first year coach for the Chargers, was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. Lofton now coaches the wide receivers in San Diego but goes in with impressive credentials he built while playing for the 1978-86 Green Bay Packers; 1987-88 Los Angeles Raiders; 1989-92 Buffalo Bills; 1993 Los Angeles Rams; 1993 Philadelphia Eagles.

"I'm ecstatic, relieved and excited", James Lofton said after hearing the news from his son. He also stated he had his phone off during the announcement.

In all, he played 16 seasons covering 233 games. He was selected 6th overall by the Green Bay Packers in the 1978 NFL Draft. In his career, he caught 764 passes for 14,004 yards -- an NFL record at the time of his retirement, and 75 touchdowns. Lofton's 43 games with 100-plus receiving yardage was third best at time of his retirement. He led Packers in receptions each year except one (1979). Six times he gained more than 1,000 yards receiving in a season and at 35 became the oldest NFL player to have more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season. He was named All-Pro four times, and All-NFC three times and played in eight Pro Bowls. Nine times he recorded more than 50 receptions in a season and became the first NFL player to score a touchdown in three decades.

The 39-member selection committee consists of media representatives from the league's 32 franchises. There is one voter representing the Pro Football Hall of Fame and six at-large voters. Finalists are first cut down to 10 from 15 and then down to six. The remaining six get a "yes" or "no" vote only. They must get 80% of the votes to get in the Hall. Lofton made it after a five-year wait and three chances in the finals since 2000.

Enshrinement of the class of 2003 is scheduled for Aug. 3 at the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He will be joined by Marcus Allen, Elvin Bethea, Joe DeLamielleure, James Lofton and Hank Stram, who went in as a seniors candidate.

Lofton joined the Chargers coaching staff after spending the past eight years in broadcasting. From 1994-96, he was an analyst for CNN's NFL Preview Show. In 1997, he spent a year as an analyst on NFL games for NBC. In 1998, he returned to CNN as a studio analyst for CNNSI's coverage of the NFL. Over the last three years (1998-2001), Lofton has worked as a game analyst on FOX Sports Net's broadcast of Big 12 football games while also doing NFL games for CBS Radio on Westwood One. From 1995-2001, Lofton worked as an analyst for the Carolina Panthers on the team's preseason telecasts.

Before the season Lofton stated, "The emphasis on blocking on the run game, to me, that's where you get a sense of pride. Everyone can run and catch the ball, but can you be more physical? Can you be mentally tough?"

For Lofton it was not all about his stats, but making the players around him better. Congratulations to James Lofton, the newest member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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