Jim Thomas highlights Rams, Cardinals and others with STL connections who are enshrined in Canton, Ohio.
MARSHALL FAULK, St. Louis Rams
THOMAS' TAKE: Arguably the greatest all-purpose running back in NFL history; split career between Colts (1994-98) and Rams (1999-2005).
• First player with 2,000 scrimmage yards in four straight seasons (1998-2001).
• Topped 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in 1999.
• Seven Pro Bowls, league-record 26 TDs in 2000.
ORLANDO PACE, St. Louis Rams
THOMAS' TAKE: Massive but light on his feet, the "Big O" was one of the best pass blockers in NFL history at left tackle.
• Seven-time Pro Bowler spent 12 of 13 NFL seasons with Rams (1997-2008).
• Rams traded up to make him No. 1 overall pick in 1997 out of Ohio State.
• Underrated run blocker; rarely received help as pass blocker.
KURT WARNER, St. Louis Rams
THOMAS' TAKE: From out of nowhere to record-setting triggerman of one of the top offenses in NFL history — the "Greatest Show on Turf."
• Stints with Rams (1998-2003), Giants (2004), Cardinals (2005-09).
• Four time Pro Bowler, two-time MVP, Super Bowl XXXIV MVP.
• First QB to throw for 300-plus yards in three Super Bowls.
AENEAS WILLIAMS, St. Louis Rams
THOMAS' TAKE: Former college walk-on blossomed into a ball-hawking, sure-tackling defensive back in 14-season NFL career.
• First 10 seasons with Arizona (1991-2000), last four (2001-04) with Rams.
• Eight-time Pro Bowler selected to NFL's all-decade team of the 1990s.
• 55 career interceptions, returned nine for TDs.
DAN DIERDORF, St. Louis Cardinals
THOMAS' TAKE: Dominating drive blocker at right tackle for elite "Cardiac Cards" offensive lines of the 1970s.
• Six-time Pro Bowler spent entire career with Cardinals (1971-83).
• Named NFL's top offensive lineman three times (1976-78).
• Made broadcast wing of Hall of Fame in 2008 as Rozelle Award winner
JACKIE SMITH, St. Louis Cardinals
THOMAS' TAKE: The "practically perfect" tight end spent 15 of his 16 NFL seasons (1963-78) with Big Red.
• Retired as NFL career TE leader in catches (480) and yards (7,918).
• Caught 40-plus passes seven times in era when TEs were blockers first.
• Five-time Pro Bowler also handled punting chores early in career.
ROGER WEHRLI, St. Louis Cardinals
THOMAS' TAKE: Cowboys QB Roger Staubach said the term "shutdown corner" originated as a description of Wehrli.
• 40 career interceptions and franchise-record 19 fumble recoveries.
• Seven-time Pro Bowler spent entire career with Cardinals (1969-82).
• Consensus All-American at Mizzou, also returned punts.
LARRY WILSON, St. Louis Cardinals
THOMAS' TAKE: Didn't invent the safety blitz but popularized it during 13-year career in St. Louis (1960-72).
• Eight-time Pro Bowler named to NFL's 75th anniversary team in 1994.
• Once intercepted a pass wearing casts on both hands due to broken wrists.
• 52 career INTs, including league-best 10 in 1966.
THOMAS' TAKE: St. Louis native and Washington U. grad was star halfback, quarterback, kicker, and coach in earliest days of the NFL.
• Player-coach of 1928 champion Providence Steam Roller.
• Coach (at rear, in photo above) of 1947 champion Chicago Cardinals.
• Sculptor, pianist, twice played lead in Muny Opera productions.
• Died in 1970.
THOMAS' TAKE: St. Louis native went to high school in Salem, Ill.; built winners as front office exec with Vikings, Bears, Saints.
• Quarterback/defensive back for Pittsburgh Steelers (1949-55).
• Two-time NFL executive of the year.
• Committee choice for NFL commissioner, but job went to Paul Tagliabue in 1989.
• Died in 1994.
PHOTO: Jim Finks, quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, demonstrates his passing grip for Sisters of Mercy Order during their visit to training camp at St. Bonaventure College in 1955. (AP Photo)
THOMAS' TAKE: Played high school ball in Granite City; went on to become one of most productive pass rushers in NFL history.
• Stints with Rams (above left), Steelers, Panthers, 49ers over 15-year career (1985-99).
• Five-time Pro Bowler ranks third in career sacks (160).
• Recorded double-digits sacks in 10 seasons.
THOMAS' TAKE: Collinsville native was dominant two-way lineman for Bears' "Monsters of the Midway" teams from 1933-44.
• Made All-NFL team at offensive tackle and offensive guard.
• Bears captain for last nine seasons of career.
• Played against former presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford.
• Died in 2000.
PHOTO: George Musso (left) at his Hall of Fame induction with Merlin Olsen, Sam Huff and Doug Atkins in 1982. (AP Photo)
THOMAS' TAKE: East St. Louis High and University of Missouri product helped revolutionize NFL tight end position as pass-catching deep threat.
• Spent entire pro career with Chargers (1979-87).
• Five-time Pro Bowler logged three 1,000-yard seasons.
• Set record for catches (89) and receiving yards (1,290) by TE in 1980.
OTHERS WITH ST. LOUIS CONNECTIONS
• Running back Jerome Bettis (inducted 2015) played for the St. Louis Rams in 1995 (above).
• Coach Marv Levy (inducted 2001) began his coaching career at St. Louis Country Day School (now MICDS) in 1951 and '52.
• Offensive tackle Jackie Slater (inducted 2001) played one game for St. Louis Rams in 1995.
• Coach Weeb Ewbank (inducted 1978) coached at Washington U. in St. Louis in 1947 and '48.