Aeneas Williams elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

NEW YORK — After falling short for selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame a year ago, former Southern University All-America cornerback Aeneas Williams was upbeat rather than upset.

Williams didn’t gather enough support from the 46-person Hall of Fame Selection Committee when it met on the eve of Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans — a short drive from where he grew up.

“I didn’t make it in the Big Easy, so maybe I’ll make it in the Big Apple,” Williams said that evening. “I made the final 10 again, so I’m excited about that … no doubt.”

Williams did make it in the Big Apple as he was announced Saturday night as a member of the seven-man Class of 2014 that will be inducted into the Canton, Ohio, shrine later this summer.

Joining Williams will be two first-time eligible players, linebacker Derrick Brooks and tackle Walter Jones, as well as defensive ends Michael Strahan and Claude Humphrey, wide receiver Andre Reed and punter Ray Guy.

Humphrey and Guy were the senior nominees added to the list of modern-day finalists that gave the selection committee 17 former players, coaches, administrators and contributors to choose from.

The 46-year-old Williams was one of 15 finalists named last month, the third consecutive year he had reached that stage of the process. He was a semifinalist in 2011 and ’12 after a solid 14-year NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams.

The news wasn’t as good for former New Orleans Saints kicker Morten Andersen, the NFL’s all-time leading scorer.

A finalist for the first time after being a semifinalist in 2012, Andersen didn’t garner enough votes and was one of five men eliminated from the list of 15 modern-era semifinalists earlier Saturday.

Williams thanked his parents and older brother, Achilles, for helping him along in a brief college football career that didn’t begin until one week before the start of his junior year at Southern.

“I used to always wonder growing up how does God talk to people,” he said after getting the news. “About a week before the season started in my junior year I wasn’t playing football. I was just following Achilles because my parents stressed education.

“So it entered into my heart to walk on to the football team. I just followed my heart, and that’s when I figured out when God talks to people to use your heart.”

A member of the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 1990s, Williams was an effective shutdown cornerback for 12 seasons before switching to safety for his final two seasons.

The three-time All-Pro and eight-time Pro Bowl pick had 55 career interceptions, returning nine for touchdowns, and also returned three fumbles for scores.

Andersen, 53, was a semifinalist in 2013 in his first year of eligibility. The five-time All-Pro was elected to seven Pro Bowl games while scoring 2,544 career points.

He kicked 565 field goals and 849 extra points and is the career leader in field goals and points for two franchises (Saints and Atlanta Falcons).

The Hall announcement was made Saturday night during the third annual NFL Honors show at Radio City Music Hall.

Among the other finalists who didn’t get in were two with ties to the Indianapolis Colts and current Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning — coach Tony Dungy and receiver Marvin Harrison.

Each of the new Hall of Famers walked to the stage and was announced individually. Strahan, who helped the New York Giants win two Super Bowls, got a huge cheer from the home crowd.

The induction ceremony will be Aug. 1 in Canton, Ohio.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.