Hawkeyes’ Slater, Karras among Pro Football Hall of Fame members to be honored after 2020 induction postponement

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A bronze relief of Duke Slater was unveiled in 2019 as part of Kinnick Stadium’s north end zone renovation. (Ryan Jaster, HawkeyeHQ.com)


The University of Iowa’s Duke Slater and Alex Karras are among the nine new members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame that will be honored in a television special next month after last year’s inductions were postponed because of the pandemic.

Eight men who were selected for the 2020 centennial class and one from the 2021 group will be posthumously recognized. Bobby Dillon, Winston Hill, Steve Sabol, Mac Speedie, Ed Sprinkle and George Young will join the Hawkeyes’ Slater and Karras from 2020, and Bill Nunn from 2021.

The show will feature a video montage of each enshrinee and the unveiling of his bronzed bust in Canton, Ohio. After the show, the families of each member will place the bust on display in the Hall of Fame Gallery.

Fred “Duke” Slater was a seven-time letterman at Iowa, competing in football and track from 1918-21. He was an All-Big Ten tackle for the Hawkeyes from 1919-21, and an All-America track and field athlete from 1920-21. He is a member of Iowa’s all-time team. In 1928, Slater earned his law degree from the University of Iowa, and in 1951 he became the first Black player inducted into the inaugural College Football Hall of Fame.

A bronze relief of Slater was unveiled in 2019 as part of Kinnick Stadium’s north end zone renovation.

The Kinnick Stadium Wall of Fame. (Ryan Jaster, HawkeyeHQ.com)

Karras was a Rose Bowl champion and a consensus All-American in 1957. He was the first two-time AP All-American in Iowa history and a winner of the Outland Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top interior lineman. Karras was Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1957, and a member of the inaugural class of the Iowa Lettermen’s Club Hall of Fame.

“From its inception, the Centennial Class of 2020 has been unique. A special Blue-Ribbon Panel elected a 20-person class to commemorate the founding of the National Football League, with enshrinees dating to the earliest eras of pro football,” said David Baker, president and CEO of the hall. “To recognize eight members of this class, along with trailblazer Bill Nunn from the class of 2021, in this special way brings us great excitement and great joy,” he said.

It will air May 1 on NFL Network and again on May 4 on ESPN2.

Dillion, Hill, Karras, Nunn, Sabol, Slater, Speedie, Sprinkle and Young also will be recognized this summer during their enshrinements. The centennial class of 2020 will be inducted August 7 and the class of 2021 the next day.

“Honoring the legacies of these newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in conjunction with the NFL draft reminds us that the players of today stand on the shoulders of those who came before them,” Baker said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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