Thu, Mar 30, 2017
MOBILE , Ala. (Mar. 30) – The Reese’s Senior Bowl welcomed three new members into its Hall of Fame on Thursday night with the addition of Michigan Head Coach and former NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh, former Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs and former Tennessee Titans safety Blaine Bishop.
"It's always such an honor for the Reese's Senior Bowl to recognize our annual Hall of Fame inductees and this 2017 class represents an exceptional group,” said Reese’s Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage.
The trio makes up the 29th class in the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame, presented by Mobile Gas, and pushes the total number of inductees to 114 – an exclusive club when you consider more than 5,000 players have donned a Senior Bowl uniform in its 68-year history.
The three former Senior Bowlers were inducted at the Battle House Hotel in downtown Mobile, Ala., and join a prestigious group that includes Joe Namath, Walter Payton, Dan Marino, Bo Jackson and Brett Favre.
Harbaugh played in the 1987 Senior Bowl as a quarterback out of Michigan. He was a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears and spent 15 seasons in the NFL as a player, suiting up for five different clubs. ‘Captain Comeback,’ as he was called for his late-game heroics, completed 2,305 of 3,918 passes for 26,288 yards and 129 touchdowns in 177 games. In 1995, he was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Year, the NFL Comeback Player of the Year and earned a Pro Bowl selection after leading the Indianapolis Colts to the AFC Championship Game.
“Jim Harbaugh's love of competition was displayed on the field during his playing days at Michigan and over his 15 years in the National Football League,” Savage said. “Now, he is recognized as one of the best coaches in the game, having achieved noteworthy success at both the college and professional levels.”
He has only added to his reputation the past 15 years as a coach. Harbaugh had successful stints as a head coach at the college level at the University of San Diego (2002-2004), Stanford (2007-2010) and now Michigan (2015-present). In between his time at Stanford and Michigan he had an impressive four-year run in the National Football League with the San Francisco 49ers. He led the franchise to the NFC Championship Game in each of his first three seasons, winning the NFC title in 2012, and was 49-22-1 overall in San Francisco.
Briggs, a 2003 Senior Bowl standout from the University of Arizona, played all 12 of his NFL seasons with the Bears and was named to the Pro Bowl seven times. During his career, he recorded 1,173 tackles, 15 sacks, 78 pass deflections, and 16 interceptions. He was named All-Pro three times.
"Being inducted into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame is an honor because that was one of the most important weeks of my life," Briggs said. "I was nervous and excited. So much of my future was determined from one week of playing football with college football's elite. This award confirms that I honored the Senior Bowl by going on to a productive 12-year career with the Chicago Bears."
“Lance proved to be one of the most versatile and dynamic playmakers at the linebacker position in the entire NFL,” Savage said. “Always productive, he racked up more than 100-plus tackles in eight different seasons."
Bishop, who represented Ball State in the 1993 Senior Bowl, enjoyed a 10-year career in the NFL. The former 8th-round pick of the Houston Oilers was known as the ‘Hitman’ for his punishing style of tackling from the safety position.
“I’m truly honored and blessed to be voted into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame amongst other distinguished players who have played in the Senior Bowl,” Bishop said.
“After playing cornerback at Ball State, Blaine made the switch to safety with the Houston Oilers and emerged as a Pro Bowl-caliber player during his career with the Tennessee Titans,” Savage said. “The ‘Hitman’ was known across the NFL as one of the league's fiercest tacklers.”
Bishop was named to the Pro Bowl four times in his career and earned All-Pro honors in 2000.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was honored as the Reese’s Senior Bowl Rookie of the Year.
Prescott, who played in the 2016 Reese’s Senior Bowl and was drafted by the Cowboys in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, was named to the Pro Bowl in February.
“Through his incredibly poised play and magnetic leadership, Dak Prescott is the obvious choice for our 2016 Rookie of the Year Award,” Savage said. “ He has a promising future ahead as the face of the Dallas Cowboys.”
The former Mississippi State standout was named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year after leading the Cowboys to the best record in the NFL in 2016-17 and the playoffs – only the 12th rookie signal caller to lead his team to a postseason berth in the Super Bowl era.
His 13 wins at quarterback tied a league record for the most wins by a rookie quarterback (Ben Roethlisberger). Prescott had the best completion percentage (67.8), TD-INT ratio (23-4), and passer rating (104.9) by any rookie quarterback in NFL history.
Prescott is the second recipient of the Senior Bowl Rookie of the Year Award. Last year, Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett was the inaugural winner of the award.