(Born March 16, 1951) -- When O.J. Simpson was having his greatest days as a running back for the Buffalo Bills, he ran behind an offensive line that was called "the Electric Company" … because they turned on the juice. Reggie McKenzie might have been the best-known player of that line -- and he was
very good -- but it was Joe DeLamielleure who ended up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
That's not bad for a player who briefly thought he'd never play one game in pro football.
Joe D. was a first-round draft choice of the Bills out of Michigan State in 1973. He was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat, and told not to suit up with the Bills. But other medical opinions differed, and DeLamielleure was allowed to play.
Once he got into the lineup, it was impossible to get him out of it. DeLamielleure played in 185 straight games with the Bills and Cleveland Browns. He was a regular choice for All-Pro honors and made six Pro Bowls.
DeLamielleure didn't think all that would be enough to get him into Canton. But he didn't complain when he was picked in 2003.
"The longer you wait, the sweeter it is," DeLamielleure said. "I always thought I'm a lineman. I don't have any stats. Nobody knows who I am. I was just blessed to play on great teams. Actually, about seven years ago I gave up hope. But now I made it."
--- Budd Bailey