CANTON - Emotions during the The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement tend to be more serious. There are moments to laugh but they are often far and few between as enshrinees gives speeches about the important people, coaches and events in their lives.
The Hall of Fame ensured there would levity throughout the event by bringing in actor and producer Keegan-Michael Key to perform for the crowd during the breaks between speeches. Key generally kept things light as as he interacted with television personalities and Pro Football Hall of Famers on stage.
The Detroit native received verbal jabs from broadcaster Chris Berman for being a devout Lions fan. Key challenged former Washington cornerback Darrell Green to a race in the 40-yard dash after the ceremony in one break. When the 62-year old Green commented that he could still run a 4.4, Key tried to recruit a substitute to run in his place. Former San Francisco quarterback Steve Young and former Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson declined. Johnson nominated 68-year old Tony Dorsett to take his place. Key eventually agreed to the race if Green had to fight off two blockers during the sprint.
That doesn't mean there weren't poignant moments involving Key. He interviewed the family of Tony Boselli just moments after his enshrinement speech. His wife was still emotional.
"I made him tell me his speech before he gave it so I wouldn't be a disaster," Angi Boselli said. "I'm still a disaster."
Key then asked Tony Boselli's five children to pick a word to describe him. Key finished the segment by adding, "I would go with tall."
Key finished his performance by honoring the late Cliff Branch in a segment with fans that saw him play for the Oakland Raiders. The phrase "speed kills" was mentioned by more than one of them. A fan who knew Branch told him before the Hall of Fame receiver died that the team's move to Las Vegas would never affect his legacy with the Raiders.
"I told him that he should follow the team to Las Vegas and become the official BlackJack dealer of the team," the fan said. "Who wouldn't want to sit down at the table with No. 21?"
Surprise appearance by Terrell Owens
Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Owens made an appearance Saturday to watch former San Francisco teammate Bryant Young give his enshrinement speech. Owens famously skipped his enshrinement in 2018. He instead chose to give his enshrinement speech at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Twice is nice for Michael Signora
NFL Senior Vice President of Football and International Communications Michael Signora was honored for earning the Horrigan Award from the Pro Football Writers Association of America during a break. The award has been given out for 50 years. Signora also won the award in 2013 and is only the second person to earn it twice. The only other to do so was late Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney Sr. in 1975 and 1984.
More memories of Cliff Branch
Former Raiders teammate and fellow Pro Football Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff shared some thoughts on the ability of the late Cliff Branch to come through in the clutch during a break. "He really became the Raiders," Biletnikoff said. "If you need a big score to tie a game or go ahead, you would throw it deep to him. I loved seeing it."
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This article originally appeared on The Repository: Keegan-Michael Key entertains fans at Hall of Fame Enshrinement