Desmond Howard

Induction Year: 2005 Sport: Football

In a nine-year span which began on the neighborhood fields of Cleveland St. Joseph’s High and culminated in the plush surroundings of the Louisiana Superdome, he assembled a collection of football honors matched just twice before in the history of the sport. The talented speedster earned high school All-American honors as a tailback at St. Joseph’s in 1987, won the Heisman Trophy as a wide receiver for the University of Michigan in 1991, and collected the Super Bowl MVP award as the return specialist for the Green Bay Packers after the Packers’ 35-21 win over New England in Super Bowl XXXI in January, 1997. Those were but crown jewels of a stunning set of accomplishments for Howard. At St. Joseph’s where he was also an All-Ohio two way player, he made USA Today’s High School Honor Roll by scoring five touchdowns in eight carries in a 41-28 victory over arch rival Euclid. In his Heisman Year as a Michigan senior, when he scored a school record 23 touchdowns and 138 points to become the first receiver ever to lead the Big Ten in scoring, he also garnered the Maxwell Award, the College Football Player of the Year Awards of The Sporting News and The Walter Camp Foundation and was a unanimous first team All-American selection. Drafted by the Washington Redskins with the fourth pick in the 1992 NFL draft, went on to play 11 seasons with five teams (the Redskins, Jaguars, Packers, Raiders and Lions), setting numerous team records for punt and/or kickoff return in 1997 including a Super Bowl record 99-yard kickoff return in 1997 which helped him to become the first special teams player to win the MVP trophy that day, and was named to the 2001 NFL Pro Bowl team. He retired after the 2002 season.