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Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith, the two most statistically accomplished players at their positions in NFL history, will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday.

 

That they are being enshrined in Canton was inevitable. That they are receiving the sport’s most prestigious individual honor together as part of the Class of 2010 is unprecedented.

“Who would have thought that we would be going into the Hall together?” Rice said shortly after the list of this year’s inductees was revealed.

Rice is a three-time Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl XXIII MVP who holds every significant career receiving record. He played for 16 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, where he became the favorite target of Joe Montana and later Steve Young, both of whom are in the Hall of Fame.

Smith will follow the likes of Walter Payton and Jim Brown as the latest all-time rushing leader to be immortalized after a 13-year career with Dallas that included four rushing titles, three Super Bowl rings, a Super Bowl MVP and a regular season MVP. Smith played his final two seasons with Arizona and retired as the league’s career leader in rushing touchdowns.