Former Alabama offensive tackle Chris Samuels has a long list of accomplishments in football, but he earned what he considers his greatest achievement in the sport on Saturday.
The former consensus All-American, Outland Trophy winner and No. 3 pick in the 2000 NFL Draft was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame’s 2016 class.
“This is probably the highest honor I’ve ever received,” Samuels told TideSports.com’s Aaron Suttles. “Getting drafted third pick overall was big time. Winning the Outland Trophy as the best lineman in the nation was really big.
“But just being among the best in the hall of fame in the state of Alabama is the highest. I grew up on guys like Bo Jackson and Charles Barkley and Hank Aaron down there where I’m from in Mobile, Ala. Just to be in the same hall as those guys is really big time.”
Samuels played for Alabama from 1996-99, helping pave the way for Alabama running back great Shaun Alexander. He started 42 games from his freshman season onward without surrendering a quarterback sack, and spent 10 years in the NFL playing for the Washington Redskins, where he was a six-time Pro Bowler.
But he wasn’t the only great player to be inducted Saturday. Former Auburn running back James Brooks also was honored, along with several other notable figures from Alabama sports history.
Brooks played for the Tigers from 1977-80, recording 3,523 yards and 24 touchdowns, and was the school’s record holder for rushing yards until Jackson surpassed him in ‘85. He still holds the career records for all-purpose yards (5,596 yards) and kickoff return yards (1,726).
Like Samuels, Brooks was selected in the first round (No. 24 overall in the 1981 NFL Draft) and had a long, 13-year career, playing for the San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was also a four-time Pro Bowler and totaled 7,962 rushing yards and 49 touchdowns along with 3,621 receiving yards and 30 scores.
Duke coach David Cutcliffe, a Birmingham, Ala., native, also was honored Saturday.