Cali adds one to NFL Hall of Fame

On the same weekend in which the ninth player from a California high school ever inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame died, the late Junior Seau of Oceanside was enshrined during ceremonies in Canton, Ohio.

It was a bittersweet weekend at the NFL Hall of Fame inductions last weekend in Ohio with California’s Junior Seau being inducted posthumously and then hearing on Sunday morning that California’s Frank Gifford had died at his home in Connecticut.

Seau, a graduate of Oceanside High and also regarded as one of the greatest prep athletes in CIF San Diego Section history, was the only one of the eight inductees who was voted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Seau’s daughter, Sydney, did not speak during any of the festivities, but did speak during a video presentation on the former San Diego Chargers’ all-time great linebacker. Seau died in 2012 at age 43 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.

Our very first preseason all-state team in 1986 included the immortal Junior Seau of Oceanside, pictured here one month before his tragic death in 2012. Photo: Scott Kurtz.

Our very first preseason all-state team in 1986 included the immortal Junior Seau of Oceanside, pictured here one month before his tragic death in 2012. Photo: Scott Kurtz.

There’s only been three from California inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame since 2009, including Seau. He’s also just the second from the San Diego Section along with San Diego Lincoln’s Marcus Allen.

There also was a dry spell of California inductees in the 1970s, but in 1977 one that went in was Bakersfield’s Frank Gifford, who starred for many years as a running back for the New York Giants and then became one of the most famous broadcasters in TV history. Gifford also is known for his college years at USC.

On Sunday, Gifford died at age 84 from natural causes. He was featured in a halftime tribute by NBC during Sunday night’s Hall of Fame Game preseason contest between the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Here is an updated look at the complete list of Pro Football Hall of Famers from California high schools (listed in order of year inducted):

1963 – Ernie Nevers, RB (Santa Rosa)
1965 – Bob Waterfield, QB (Van Nuys)
1969 – Joe Perry, RB (Jordan, Los Angeles)
1970 – Tom Fears, WR (Manual Arts, Los Angeles)
1970 – Hugh McElhenny, RB (Washington, Los Angeles)
1971 – Norm Van Brocklin, QB (Acalanes, Lafayette)
1972 – Gino Marchetti, DE (Antioch)
1972 – Ollie Matson, RB (Washington, San Francisco)
1977 – Frank Gifford, RB (Bakersfield)
1979 – Ron Mix, OT (Hawthorne)
1985 – O.J. Simpson, RB (Galileo, San Francisco)
1985 – Pete Rozelle, Commissioner (Compton)
1987 – John Henry Johnson, RB (Pittsburg)
1990 – Bob St. Clair, OT (Poly, San Francisco)
1991 – Tex Schramm, General Manager (Alhambra)
1993 – Dan Fouts, QB (St. Ignatius, San Francisco)
1993 – Bill Walsh, Coach (L.A. Washington & Hayward)
1994 – Jimmy Johnson, DB (Kingsburg)
1995 – Joe Gibbs, Coach (Santa Fe, Santa Fe Springs)
1997 – Mike Haynes, DB (Marshall, Los Angeles)
1997 – Anthony Munoz, OT (Chaffey, Ontario)
2000 – Ronnie Lott, DB (Eisenhower, Rialto)
2001 – Lynn Swann, WR (Serra, San Mateo)
2001 – Ron Yary, OT (Bellflower)
2003 – Marcus Allen, RB (Lincoln, San Diego)
2003 – James Lofton, WR (Washington, Los Angeles)
2004 – John Elway, QB (Granada Hills)
2006 – John Madden, Coach (Jefferson, Daly City)
2006 – Warren Moon, QB (Hamilton, Los Angeles)
2007 – Bruce Matthews, OL (Arcadia)
2008 – Gary Zimmerman, OT (Walnut)
2011 – Les Richter, LB (Fresno)
2013 – Larry Allen, OL (Napa Vintage)*
2015 – Junior Seau, LB (Oceanside)
*Vintage was the last school that Allen attended. He also went to Edison of Stockton and Tokay of Lodi.

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