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Seven heroes of the game have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Class of 2017 consists of kicker Morten Andersen; running back Terrell Davis; safety Kenny Easley; owner, president and general manager Jerry Jones; defensive end Jason Taylor; running back LaDainian Tomlinson; and quarterback Kurt Warner.
The Class of 2017 will be enshrined on Saturday, Aug. 5. The Enshrinement Ceremony will be held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton as a part of the spectacular Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week.
This is the final edition of a seven-part series on the Class of 2017.
Morten Andersen entered the National Football League as the fourth round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints in 1982. He left the game 25 seasons later as the most prolific scorer in league history.
Following a strike-shortened rookie season, Andersen kicked into high gear in his second season as he netted 91 points for New Orleans in 1983. It marked the first of 22 seasons in which he recorded 90 points or more. He topped the 100-point total 14 times in his career. The first occasion of reaching the century mark came in 1985 when he connected on 31 of 35 field goals and added 27 extra points for 120 points. For his efforts, he earned the first of seven Pro Bowl nominations and was also named first-team All-Pro for the first of five times.
After 13 seasons in New Orleans and ranking as the franchise's all-time leading scorer, Andersen joined the Atlanta Falcons in 1995 and eventually became that team's career scoring leader. He recorded a spectacular season his first year in Atlanta when he scored a career-high 122 points that included a then-NFL record for most 50-yard field goals in a season (8). On Dec. 10, 1995, in a 19-14 win over his former team the Saints, he made NFL history when he became the first kicker ever to convert three field goals of 50 yards or longer in the same game.
Andersen kicked for the Falcons for six seasons before continuing his reliable scoring with the New York Giants (2001), Kansas City Chiefs (2002-03), and Minnesota Vikings (2004). In 2006 he was lured out of retirement by Atlanta and finished his career with two more campaigns with the Falcons.
Among the most notable league records he set were career points (2,544), most field goals (565), and games played (382). In addition, his 40 field goals of 50 yards or longer were the most in NFL history at his retirement.
He is one of the rare players to be named to two NFL All-Decade Teams (1980s and 1990s). In all, he converted 565 of 709 field goal attempts and 849 of 859 point-after-attempts. He led his teams in scoring 22 times, led the NFL in field goals in 1987, the NFC in scoring in 1992 and topped all conference kickers in most field goals in 1985, 1987, and 1995.