Former Colts linebacker Cornelius Bennett found out that he was going to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame about a month ago, but he was asked not to tell anyone.
"Biscuit" as he was known to Colts fans, just couldn't do that.
"I had to call and tell Momma and I had to tell my wife," the former Alabama linebacker said. "If I didn't tell them I wouldn't be here today."
Bennett lined up for the Colts during the 1999 and 2000 seasons in one of the most bizarre twists in his career. After being drafted by the Colts with the second overall pick in the 1987 draft, he held out and ended up as part of the monster three-team trade that brought Eric Dickerson to Indianapolis and sent Bennett's rights to Buffalo on Halloween. Bennett went on to play in four Super Bowls with the Bills, but then ironically landed in Indy via Atlanta to finish his career.
"It's a great honor, something that we're really going to cherish," said Bennett who now lives in the Miami area. "I can bring my kids to South Bend and show them that Daddy was an all right football player."
A former Colt who played in the franchise's only Super Bowl victory to date, defensive back Tom Curtis, will also be honored at the induction ceremony which will be held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York on December 6. The players will be enshrined at the Hall's South Bend, Indiana location in August, 2006.
While playing for the University of Michigan, Curtis had 25 career interceptions -- an NCAA record back in 1969. That record still stands as the best by any Michigan player.
Curtis was selected in the 14th round of the 1970 draft by the Colts and spent two seasons with them. That draft class included players such as running back Norm Bulaich, kicker/wide receiver Jim O'Brien, and defensive end Billy Newsome. He earned a Super Bowl V ring when the Colts defeated the Cowboys at the end of the 1971 season.
Curtis is now the owner and publisher of the Football News and three NFL publications. He's also an active member of the NFL Alumni Association in the Miami area.
Two running backs with totally different running styles will round out the group of Colts inductees. But despite that difference in style, they share the bond of working together for a couple of seasons as teammates with the Baltimore Colts.
"Little" Joe Washington ('78-'80) was known for his speed and shiftiness on the field. He was a first-round draft pick by the Chargers out of the University of Oklahoma. Meanwhile, Roosevelt Leaks ('75-'79) was the bruising fullback-style runner who bowled over would-be tacklers by lowering his head and plowing straight through them. He was the short-yardage bulldog when Washington's size was a detriment to getting through those stacked up 3rd-and-short or goal-line defenses.
Leaks, a fifth-round pick by Baltimore out of the University of Texas, played in 54 games for the Colts over five seasons, putting up 1,268 of the really tough yards while posting 14 touchdowns.
But he found himself watching from the sidelines for most of that fifth season while Washington paired up with the Houston Oilers' former first-round draft pick Don Hardeman.
"It was a matter of them having the big money on the field," said Leaks.
He was waived by the Colts at the end of the season and signed with Buffalo, where he spent four years carrying the ball and blocking for Joe Cribbs.
"In my years of playing, I went to the playoffs five years out of my nine years," Leaks said. "I got the opportunity to play and I got the opportunity to meet a lot of other folks from across the country and see how different mentalities were put together and how different players grew up...I made a lot of good friends."
Leaks live in the Austin, Texas area and has worked in the real estate arena for the past 25 years.
Joe Washington enjoyed two productive seasons under Ted Marchibroda in Baltimore, and was a serious threat both running the ball and catching passes out of the backfield. He's still in the Colts record books tied for second place for most games with 10+ receptions in a single season. The only Colt to do better in that category is Marvin Harrison, a wide receiver. And in 1979, he accumulated over 1,600 yards from scrimmage -- 884 rushing and 750 receiving.
But in his third and final season with the Colts under Mike McCormack, Washington saw his role decrease as the Colts turned to rookie running back Curtis Dickey.
After spending nine seasons in the NFL, the former Colt lives in the Baltimore area and runs the Washington Financial Consulting Group.
Joining the four former Colts in this year's College Football Hall of Fame class are Pittsburgh offensive lineman Mark May, USC running back Anthony Davis, Penn State offensive tackle Keith Dorney, Ohio State end Jim Houston, Notre Dame quarterback John Huarte, Stanford defensive lineman Paul Wiggin and Illinois wide receiver David Williams.
Coaches Don Nehlen (West Virginia) and Pat Dye (Auburn) are also being inducted.
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