Sending Jerry Kramer to Canton

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) Packers great Jerry Kramer concluded a magical weekend in Minneapolis today by getting fitted for his gold jacket.

The 82-year old was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame after being a finalist for an NFL record 11th time.

We were with Kramer for an exclusive interview Saturday night in his hotel, just moments after he received the knock on the door from Hall of Fame President David Baker.

Monday, we caught up with one of the voters responsible for ending Kramer's 44-year wait for Canton.

"You could get a pretty good sense in the room that things were going to go well for him," says Pete Dougherty, a Packers columnist for the Green Bay Press-Gazette since 1993.

Dougherty is also one of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 48 voters.

Saturday in Minneapolis, Dougherty says, Jerry Kramer was the second player up for discussion.

"Rick Gosselin, who works for the Hall of Fame radio network, used to work at the Dallas Morning News. He gave the main presentation because he's on the Senior's Committee, and he gave a really good, short, concise but to-the-point presentation. The main argument is Jerry Kramer is on the 50th anniversary team of the league in 1969, he was voted the best guard in league history," says Dougherty.

Dougherty suspects Kramer's long wait was in part due to his team's success, and voters on the committee decades ago were fed up so many with Vince Lombardi players in the Hall.

This year was a different story with a new committee.

"They see this guy as the best guard ever for the first 50 years and he's not in the Hall of Fame. Doesn't compute. I suspect he made it in by a pretty good margin, you could just feel it in the room, the objections were just not very strong, and he had a lot of people speak up on his behalf," says Dougherty.

Those speaking up included Dougherty, who read some quotes from Lombardi praising Kramer.

"You know Lombardi threw around superlatives like manhole covers, so I think that carried a lot of weight," says Dougherty with a chuckle.

Dougherty is proud to help end Kramer's long wait and suspects he'll be basking in the glow of his honor for months to come.

"They have them sit for the bust, I mean they do all these special things for them and then they treat them like absolute kings in Canton on induction weekend, so for the next however many months from now through August, he's just going to be on the ride of his life," says Dougherty.

Jeff Alexander and Jerry Kramer
Jeff Alexander interviews Jerry Kramer (right) on Feb. 1, 2018, at an event ahead of Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis (WBAY photo)

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