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Utah football legend Mac Speedie to finally be inducted in Pro Football Hall of Fame

CANTON, Ohio – Mac Speedie is no longer a secret. The former South High and University of Utah standout, who went on to play professionally for the Cleveland Browns and in Canada, is officially being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Speedie, who passed away in 1993, is part of the organization’s 2020 Centennial Class. Their ceremonies were delayed because of the pandemic and are now slated for Aug. 5-7 in Canton, Ohio. 

It’s been 58 years since Speedie was originally eligible to be in the Hall of Fame. He was a finalist for induction four times (1970, 1972, 1983, 2020). However, it took action by a Centennial Slate Blue-Ribbon Panel to finally get him into the hall. The group, featuring Hall of Famers, selection committee members coaches, executives, and historians, examined the credentials of approximately 300 potential inductees. 

“This was the most thorough vetting of candidates in the hall’s history and it needed to be. Our charge was to scour 100 years of professional football and find the most deserving candidates who have slipped through the cracks,” veteran selector Rick Gosselin told profootballhof.com. “All 38 finalists for the Centennial Slate were Hall of Fame worthy but we could only choose 15. I am proud to be a part of this process that honors these men who shaped the NFL in its first century.”

The centennial class includes coaches Bill Cowher, and Jimmy Johnson, as well as contributors Steve Sabol, Paul Tagliabue, and George Young. The senior players include Harold Carmichael, Jim Covert, Bobby Dilion, Cliff Harris, Winston Hill, Alex Karras, Donnie Shell, Duke Slater, Ed Sprinkle, and Speedie.

In 1972, Speedie was inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame. After overcoming Perthes Disease as a child, Speedie became a stellar three-sport athlete (football, basketball, and track) despite having one leg shorter than the other because of the medical condition that involved bone mass and blood supply issues in the hip joint.  

Following graduation from South, Speedie enrolled at the University of Utah. He continued his athletics career by playing both football and basketball. Speedie was also one of the nation’s top hurdlers in track.

In 1942, Speedie was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 15th round (No. 135 overall). He opted for the Army instead and didn’t play pro football until signing with the Cleveland Browns of the All-America Football Conference in 1946. The Browns finished first each year through 1952 — his tenure with the team.

Speedie’s career took off with a switch to offense. He topped the AAFC in receptions from 1947-49 and led the NFL in 1952. His career totals include 349 receptions for 5,602 yards and 33 touchdowns. 

Speedie played in six title games and was later named to the NFL’s 1940s All-Decade Team. He’s the fourth player from the state to earn Pro Football Hall of Fame honors — joining Utah’s Larry Wilson (1978), Utah State’s Merlin Olsen (1982), and BYU’s Steve Young (2005).

The 2021 Hall of Fame class — featuring Alan Faneca, Tom Flores, Calvin Johnson, John Lynch, Peyton Manning, Bill Nunn, Drew Pearson, and Charles Woodson — will have its ceremonies start on Aug. 8 as the doubleheader celebration continues in Ohio,

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