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Senior Bowl To Enshrine Five New Members to Hall of Fame and Names 2023 Rookies of Year

Former All-Pros and next generation of NFL stars to be honored at June 30th ceremony

MOBILE, Alabama – The Senior Bowl today announced it will induct five new members into the game’s Hall of Fame —former New York Jets defensive tackle Marty Lyons (1979), former Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (2003), former Houston Texans linebacker and current head coach DeMeco Ryans (2006), former San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle (2007), and former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (2005).

Along with the Hall of Fame inductees, the Senior Bowl has chosen record-breaking Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua as 2023 Offensive Rookie of the Year and Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end YaYa Diaby and Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Byron Young as Co-Defensive Rookies of the Year. The recipients will be honored in the annual induction ceremony emceed by NFL Network host Rhett Lewis (presented by Spire) at The Grand Hotel Golf Club & Spa in Point Clear, Alabama on Sunday, June 30, 2024.  

We are excited to bring another accomplished group of Senior Bowl alums back to Mobile,” said Reese’s Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy. “Each of these men is among the greatest players in their respective NFL franchise’ histories and we are thrilled to be honoring their incredible careers.” 

In conjunction with the Hall of Fame festivities, the nation’s premiere all-star game is hosting its Fourth Annual Senior Bowl Charities Celebrity Golf Classic, which will be held on Monday, July 1 at Lakewood Golf Club on the property of The Grand Hotel. This exclusive event will pair 22 foursomes with celebrities from across the football world, including the five current Senior Bowl Hall of Fame inductees and three Rookies of the Year. The full slate of participants from around the NFL and college football will be released periodically over the next few weeks. Proceeds from the golf tournament will benefit the Mobile Baldwin Athletic Partnership, established in 2021. This program provides needed resources, ranging from pants and jerseys to blocking sleds and video technology, for underfunded public high school football programs in the two-county area.

The Senior Bowl Hall of Fame, established in 1988, includes many players who are also members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.  Past honorees are all-time greats such as Doak Walker, Ray Nitschke, Joe Namath, Mean Joe Green, Walter Payton, Franco Harris, Ozzie Newsome, Steve Largent, Kellen Winslow, Dan Marino, Bo Jackson, Derrick Thomas, Terrell Owens, Patrick Willis, and Von Miller.  In addition, Paul Brown, Don Shula, Tom Landry, Paul “Bear” Bryant, and Eddie Robinson are among the list of inducted legendary pro and college coaches.

 

Statement from New York Jets DT Marty Lyons:

“I would like to express my gratitude to the Senior Bowl Committee for this great honor.  It’s a privilege to represent the University of Alabama, the coaching staff, my teammates, and the great fans of the Crimson Tide.  Playing in the Senior Bowl provided me with an invaluable opportunity to showcase my talent against the best players in college football.  The experience played a pivotal role in my journey to becoming a first-round pick of the New York Jets, where I spent my entire 11-year NFL career.  Thank you and Roll Tide!”

 

(Photo: NY Jets)

 

Statement from Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer:

“Getting an invite to the Senior Bowl was one of the big goals I set for myself as a college freshman.  It was a proud moment and I viewed it as the start of my professional career.  Competing every day at Senior Bowl practices gave me an opportunity to see what my competitors looked like up-close and personal, while also showing me things I needed to continue to work on and develop as a player.  I’ll always remember the great week I had in Mobile.”

 

(Photo: Arizona Cardinals)

 

Statement from Houston Texans LB DeMeco Ryans:

“Being from Alabama, it was a huge honor to get the invite and participate in the 2006 Senior Bowl.  I’m thankful to have played my last collegiate game in front of my home state fans.  This game provided me a pivotal opportunity as a draft prospect to prove myself against the best competition in college football.  Now as a coach, I continue to follow the game closely to evaluate the top talent in the draft each year.  This game helped me as a player many years ago, and it is still assisting players in reaching their dream of playing in the NFL”.

 

(Photo: Houston Texans)

 

Statement from San Diego Chargers DB Eric Weddle:

“I am truly humbled by this honor.  The Senior Bowl back in 2007 was a big stepping stone for my NFL career.  Being on the same field with the best of the best and more than holding my own gave me the confidence that I belonged.  Never in my wildest dreams would I consider myself a Hall of Famer and I am beyond thankful.”

 

(Photo: Los Angeles Chargers)

 

Statement from Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White:

“Being invited to the Senior Bowl was special because it gave me an opportunity to compete against the best guys in the nation.  Doing well throughout the week in Mobile drastically improved my draft stock.  I enjoyed learning an NFL playbook for the first time and meetings with Jon Gruden were intense and full of energy.”

 

(Photo: Atlanta Falcons)

 

SENIOR BOWL HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE BIOS

Marty Lyons

NFL: Selected with the No. 14 overall pick in the first round of the 1979 draft by the New York Jets…appeared in 147 games with 135 starts throughout his 12 year career…spent his entire career with the Jets (1979-1990)… played a key role in the formation of the famed “New York Sack Exchange” defensive line…along with teammates Joe Klecko, Mark Gastineau and Abdul Salaam, led the league in sacks during the 1981, 1983 and 1984 seasons…in 1981, the group set a franchise record with 66 sacks and helped lead the team to its first playoff appearance since 1969…Lyons was a two-time Pro Bowl alternate (1982-1983) and finished his career with 43 sacks…also recognized as the NFL Man of the Year in 1984…the Jets made the playoffs 4 times during his career…in 2013, was inducted into the Jets Ring of Honor…Lyons currently works as the Jets’ radio network color analyst. NCAA: Played at the University of Alabama from 1975-1978 under Head Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant…named first-team All-American, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and was a team captain for the Tide…that year, Alabama defeated Penn State in the National Championship…he was a key part in the fourth quarter play known as “The Goal Line Stand”…Lyons finished his Alabama career with 202 tackles.

Carson Palmer

NFL: Selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals… appeared in 182 games with 181 starts throughout his 15-year career…spent 8 years with the Bengals (2003-2010), 2 years with the Oakland Raiders (2011-2012) and 5 years with the Arizona Cardinals (2013-2017)…in 2005, Palmer helped lead the Bengals to its first winning season and first playoff appearance in 15 years, throwing a league-high 32 touchdown passes and owning the league’s best completion percentage…in 2007, he set a franchise record with 373 completions and 4,131 passing yards…in 2015 with the Cardinals, Palmer threw from a franchise record 4,671 yards and 35 touchdowns, leading the team to a 13-3 regular season record, securing the NFC West title and later defeating the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round of the playoffs…Palmer finished his career as a 3-time Pro Bowler (2005, 2006, 2015), is a member of the Arizona Cardinals Ring of Honor, and became the first player in NFL history to top 4,000 passing yards for 3 different teams. NCAA: Played at the University of Southern California from 1998-2002 where he was a 4-year starter…in 2002, he won the Heisman Trophy and Johhny Unitas Award after leading USC to an 11-2 record and setting school records in completions (309), passing yards (3,942) and touchdown passes (33)…earned consensus first-team All-American honors his senior year and finished his career as the Pac-10’s career leader for completions, attempts, and passing yards.

DeMeco Ryans

NFL: Selected with the No. 33 overall pick in the second round of the 2006 draft by the Houston Texans…appeared in 140 games with 139 starts throughout his 10 year career…spent 6 years with the Texans (2006-2011) and 4 years with the Philadelphia Eagles (2012-2015)…was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2006, notching 155 total tackles, second only to Zach Thomas who led the NFL with 165…earned first team All-Pro honors in 2007…was a two-time Pro Bowler (2007, 2009)…finished his career with 970 total tackles, 735 solo tackles and 13.5 sacks…NFL (coaching): currently serves as head coach of the Houston Texans after being the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers…in his first year as head coach in 2023, Ryans helped lead the Texans to a 10-7 record and AFC South title, which was the team’s best finish since winning first division title back in 2019…Houston defeated the Cleveland Browns in the Wild Card round, marking the first playoff win since 2019. NCAA: Played at the University of Alabama from 2002-2005, where he was a 3-year starter…one of only two true freshman to see action in the 2002 season…in 2003, led the team in tackles with 126 and set a single game school record with 25 tackles against Arkansas…in 2005, led the team with 76 tackles while also recording 9.5 tackles for loss…Ryans finished his career as one of the most decorated defensive players in school history…finished fifth on the career tackles list with 309…named first team All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2005…2006 Cotton Bowl MVP…Ryans also excelled off the field, graduating in only 7 semesters and was awarded the Lott Trophy and Bryant Award

Eric Weddle

NFL: Selected with the No. 37 overall pick in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the San Diego…spent 9 seasons with Chargers, 3 seasons with Baltimore Ravens, and 2 seasons with Los Angeles Rams…originally retired from the Rams in 2019 but returned to play in the playoffs two years later and won his first Super Bowl ring as part of Super Bowl LVI champs…earned first-team All-Pro honors twice (2011, 2014) and second-team All-Pro three times (2010, 2012, 2013)…was named to six Pro Bowls and was member of the prestigious All-Decade Team of the 2010’s…selected as Chargers’ Defensive Player of Year three times…incredibly durable player started all 16 games in ten different seasons and never less than 13 games in any year…known by his opponents as clutch performer and playmaking ball-hawk…finished his career with 1,179 total tackles, 38 TFL, 9.5 sacks, 29 INT, 8 FF, and 7 FR…his 13 interceptions from 2011-14 were tied for fourth-most in NFL over that four-year period…scored 5 career defensive touchdowns…nemesis of the great Peyton Manning, as he returned two of his three INTs vs. Manning for touchdowns and the other prevented a touchdown in a divisional playoff win over the Colts…made huge impact in his first two years as a starter, helping turn the league’s second-worst pass defense into the best in the NFL…in 2011, he tied for league lead with 7 INTs, including late fourth-quarter picks in consecutive early season wins, becoming just the third Charger to do so in previous 20 years…NCAA: Four-year starter, rare two-way player, and two-time Mountain West Defensive Player-of-Year at the University of Utah… started 45-of-48 career games (9 at right cornerback, 12 at left cornerback, 6 at nickel back, 18 at strong safety)…set school career record with nine forced fumbles and tied for sixth in Utah history with 23 pass deflections and ranks fifth on the school record books with 52 punt returns, good for 408 yards (7.8 avg).for 148 yards (8.2)…started 9 games at CB as a true freshman, earning first-team Freshman All-American and honorable mention All-MWC after recording 60 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 INT…moved to SS as sophomore and finished third on team with 75 tackles and team-high 4 INT…also averaged 10.5 yards per punt return on 20 returns…in 2005, earned second-team All-American, first-team All-MWC, and MWC Defensive Player of Year…started five games at SS, four at CB, and three games as nickel CB as sophomore…ranked third on team with 78 tackles and second with 11 TFL…also had 4 sacks, 3 FF, and 1 FR this second season…displayed his athletic versatility by punting twice for 46 yards, attempted two passes, returned punts, and rushed 7 times…as junior in 2006, was consensus All-American, unanimous All-MWC first-team, and was named MWC Defensive DPOY for second straight year…started 12 games, primarily at NB…earned first-team All-MWC and conference’s Defensive Player of Year honors…played SS, LCB, and nickel back in 2006…made 64 tackles and ranked seventh in nation with 7 INTs…he also carried the ball 44 times for 203 yards (4.6 avg) and five touchdowns.

Roddy White

NFL: Selected with the No. 27 overall pick in the first round of the 2005 draft by the Atlanta Falcons…appeared in 171 games with 150 starts throughout his 11-year career…spent his entire career with the Falcons (2005-2015)…in 2007, he became the first Falcons receiver since 1999 to reach 1,000 receiving yards…in 2008, he set a franchise record for receiving yards with 1,358…in 2009, he became the second player in franchise history to record 3 straight 1,000 yard seasons…in 2010, he earned first-team All-Pro honors after leading the NFL in receptions (115) and the NFC in receiving yards (1,389)…in 2011, set the franchise record for career receptions with 573…in 2012, he recorded 92 receptions for 1,351 yards and seven touchdowns while helping lead the Falcons to the NFC Championship Game…finished his career as a 4-time Pro Bowler (2008-2011) and is in the Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor. NCAA: Played at the University of Alabama at Birmingham from 2001-2004 where he was a 3-year starter…in 2004, helped lead UAB to their first bowl game in school history amassing 71 receptions for 1,452 yards and 14 TD…during that record-breaking 2014 season, he had 8 games with 100 yards or more receiving and 5 consecutive games with a touchdown.

2023 ROOKIE OF YEAR BIOS

YaYa Diaby (2023 Co-Defensive Rookie of Year)

NFL: Selected with the No. 82 overall pick in the third round of the 2023 draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers…played in all 17 games during the regular season including 7 starts…helped lead Tampa Bay to the Divisional Round of the playoffs after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round…last year, Diaby led the team in sacks (7.5) and all NFL rookies with 12 tackles for loss. NCAA: Played at the University of Louisville from 2020-2022 after starting his college career at Georgia Military College, where he was teammates with fellow 2023 Senior Bowl Co-Defensive Rookie of the Year Byron Young of the Los Angeles Rams…finished his career with 10.5 sacks, 94 total tackles and 19.5 tackles for loss…named third team All-ACC as a senior in 2022.

 

(Photo: Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

 

Byron Young (2023 Co-Defensive Rookie of Year)

NFL: Selected with the No. 77 overall pick in the third round of the 2023 draft by the Los Angeles Rams… played in all 17 regular season games including 16 starts…helped lead the Rams to a 10-7 regular season record and a spot in the playoffs…led all rookies with 8 sacks, 61 total tackles, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery…recognized on the All-Rookie Team by the Pro Football Writers of America. NCAA: Started his collegiate career at Georgia Military College (2019-2020) before transferring to the University of Tennessee (2021-2022). Was one of the top junior college prospects in the 2021 class…was a two-year starter at Tennessee…finished his career at UT with 12.5 sacks, 23.5 tackles for a loss, and 83 total tackles.

 

(Photo: Los Angeles Rams)

 

Puka Nacua (2023 Offensive Rookie of Year)

NFL: Selected with the No. 177 pick in the fifth round of the 2023 draft by the Los Angeles Rams…played and started in all 17 regular season games…helped lead the Rams to the playoffs after a 10-7 regular season…Nacua had a prolific 2023 campaign, breaking all-time NFL rookie records for receptions (105), receiving yards (1,486), receptions in a game (15), and receiving yards in a playoff game (181)…he burst onto the scene Week 1 with 10 catches for 119 yards… the following week he had 15 catches for 147 yards… the 25 catches over the first 2 games was also a rookie record…recorded his first career touchdown Week 4 during an overtime victory vs the Indianapolis Colts…in Week 13, Nacua surpassed 1,000 receiving yards after at 70-yard touchdown vs the Cleveland Browns…in Week 16, received NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after catching 9 passes for 164 yards and scoring a touchdown…earned second team All-Pro honors, was invited to the Pro Bowl, and was recognized on the All-Rookie Team by the Pro Football Writers of America…he was runner-up in the voting for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year behind Houston Texans QB C.J. Stroud; NCAA: Started his career at the University of Washington (2019-2020) before transferring to Brigham Young University (2021-2022)…led BYU in receiving yards in 2021 and 2022…finished his career at BYU with 91 receptions for 1,430 yards and 11 touchdowns…named first-team All-Independent Team (2021-2022) and All-Independent Offensive Newcomer of the Year (2021).

 

(Photo: Los Angeles Rams)

 

About the Senior Bowl

The Reese’s Senior Bowl is widely regarded as the preeminent college football all-star game and the first stage in the NFL Draft process. The longest continual-running all-star game has taken place in Mobile, Alabama the past 73 years.  More than 900 NFL personnel, including key decision-makers from all 32 teams, and over 900 media members from around the country were credentialed last year. This past April, the game produced a record-tying 106 total picks for the second straight year, representing 40 percent of the entire NFL draft, including 45 of the top 100 players selected.

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For More Information:

Molly Middleton                                                                                                                       

Senior Bowl Media Relations Coordinator                                             

mmiddleton@seniorbowl.com