It has been six days since John Randle got the call informing him he had been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame but the former Vikings defensive tackle admits the honor hasn't completely sunken in yet.
"It really hasn’t," Randle said Friday afternoon during a news conference at Winter Park. "I’m still working on it. We just got back last night and I’m just taking it day by day. I think with all the phone calls I keep getting and the requests and stuff I think eventually it’s going to sink in. But right now, I’m still just kind of shocked that a guy from Mumford, Texas, [a town] of 150 people is going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
Randle, his wife, Candace, and their 5-year-old twins, Jonathan and Ryann, returned from South Florida on Thursday after a whirlwind week. Randle talked about how frantic it was around his house in the western suburbs of Minneapolis on Saturday after he received the call that he had made the Hall and was to go to the Miami area as soon as possible to be included with the other inductees.
Everyone in Randle's family, except for him, all became ill while in Florida but there was no erasing the smile from his face as he addressed reporters. Randle finished his career with 137.5 sacks in 14 NFL seasons, placing him in a tie with defensive end Richard Dent for sixth all-time in sacks. Randle, who was listed at 6-1, 287 pounds, helped to redefine the position of defensive tackle, taking it from a spot where big men played to a position where smaller, athletic players could provide a pass rush.
Asked when he could tell his success was causing a change at the position, Randle said: "I think when I started seeing guys who were kind of similar size [in height] to myself. When I started seeing the Warren Sapps, the Bryant Youngs, the D’Marco Farrs in St. Louis. When I started seeing guys like that, I kind of knew that the defensive tackles were changing because when I first came in the league you had the Keith Millards, who was [6-foot-6]. And after I started seeing guys at 6-2, 6-3, maybe 6 foot than you started recognizing that teams were trying to get more of a pass rush on the inside as opposed to trying to get one on the outside.”
As far as who will serve as his presenter at the Hall of Fame ceremonies on Aug. 7 in Canton, Ohio, Randle said he has yet to make up his mind. "I'm still working on it," he said, before joking, "I'm still getting offers. The bid is up to $1,000 bucks now. No, that’s something that I'm still just thinking about, taking my time to make my decision. ... There are a select few people [I'm considering]. There were people who were very influential in my career in college and in the pros.”
It would not be surprising if the 42-year-old Randle selected Paul Wiggin to present him. Wiggin is a personnel consultant with the Vikings and was the main guy who wanted to keep Randle around when he was an undrafted rookie just trying to make the team in 1990. Randle also points to his former line coach, John Teerlinck, as a guy who helped him learn the NFL.
Randle, who played for the Vikings from 1990 through 2000 and then spent his final three seasons with Seattle, was known for his non-stop motor on the field and his contant ability to trash-talk. He also wore eye-black throughout his career and said he did give some thought to seeing if that could be put on his bust in Canton."I don't think my wife would like that face paint on my bust," he said, "[so it's] not going to happen."