February 24, 2010: One of the most anticipated Hall of Fame inductions in any sport will take place this August when Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith lead the Class of 2010 into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Adding more emotion to the event, the NFL said that Smith's former team, the Dallas Cowboys, would face the Cincinnati Bengals in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio on Aug 8.
The game will be televised nationally on NBC’s Sunday Night Football (8 PM ET).
The Bengals will be playing in their first Hall of Fame Game since 1988. The Cowboys' last appearance was in 1999 when Smith was on the roster.
In addition to Rice and Smith, the 2010 Hall of Fame Class includes Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Dick LeBeau, Floyd Little and John Randle. The enshrinement will take place on Aug. 7.
Smith was a member of three Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl championship teams, is the NFL’s all-time leading rusher with 18,355 yards, had 164 rushing touchdowns, won four NFL rushing titles and gained 1,000 yards in a record 11 straight seasons. Rice was on three Super Bowl championship teams with the San Francisco 49ers and is the NFL's all-time receiving and TD leader.
"I really believe that having our players share in Emmitt Smith's Hall of Fame enshrinement should serve as an inspiration to every man on our roster, whether it be a 10-year vet or a rookie that's never played in an NFL game," Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. "I can't think of a better way to start the season from a motivational perspective than wearing the same uniform as the NFL's all-time leading rusher."
According to Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, “We’re excited to get an early start on the 2010 season against a fellow playoff team from last season. It’s a showcase our fans will enjoy, and we’re proud to be a part of the Hall of Fame weekend, honoring some of the league’s greatest players. And any time we think of the Hall of Fame, we think of the fact that our franchise was founded by Paul Brown, one of the greatest Hall of Famers ever.”