Marvin Harrison understandably thought he should have received the call to the Pro Football Hall of Fame the past two years.
Tony Dungy just thought it an honor to be considered.
Now both retired Indianapolis Colts are headed to Canton, Ohio, for summer enshrinement. Colts owner Jim Irsay let the news slip as he was entering the NFL Honors Show Saturday night in San Francisco.
That also meant Colts all-time leading rusher Edgerrin James, another finalist, will have to wait again until next year.
Dungy offered a statement on his Facebook page: "What an incredible honor to be inducted into the Pro Football HOF. God has blessed me with some great parents, family, coaches and players."
Harrison, 43, still holds the NFL record for receptions in a season with 143 in 2002. When he retired after the 2008 season, only Hall of Famer Jerry Rice had more receptions than Harrison’s 1,102, which now ranks third. And Harrison’s 14,580 receiving yards ranked third at the time, and he’s since slid down to seventh on that list. His 128 touchdowns rank fifth on the all-time chart.
The path to a bronze bust is somtimes blocked by others who have been waiting longer for that call, especially for wide receivers. So while Harrison seemed an obvious first-ballot Hall of Famer, he instead watched as wide receiver Andre Reed was inducted in 2014 and Tim Brown went last year.
A 19th overall pick in 1996, Harrison quickly became one of the NFL’s best deep threats because of his speed, precise route running and great hands. The arrival of quarterback Peyton Manning in 1998 put together arguably the greatest passing tandem in NFL history — they own the league record with 112 touchdowns.
Harrison went to eight Pro Bowls and was selected All-Pro first team three times. He's just the second Colts wide receiver to make the Hall of Fame, the other Raymond Berry in 1973. He and Dungy were on the Colts’ Super Bowl XLI championship team in 2007.
Dungy, 60, has been an NFL analyst for NBC since retiring after the 2008 season. He had coached the Colts for seven seasons after spending six years in Tampa Bay. Dungy’s teams reached the NFL playoffs in 11 seasons. The knock on him in Tampa Bay was that the nice guy couldn’t win a Super Bowl, but he proved critics wrong five years later when he became the first black head coach to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Dungy also won a Super Bowl XIII ring as a safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He becomes the third Colts coach at Canton after Weeb Ewbank (1978) and Don Shula (1997).
He had a 139-69 (.668) record overall, including 85-27 with the Colts, which set a franchise record.
Both men are in the Colts Ring of Honor; Dungy was added in 2010 and Harrison in 2011.
Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.