Since he was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988, legendary Raiders’ wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff has made the trip to Canton, Ohio most summers for the enshrinement ceremony like so many Hall of Famers do.
This year it will be extra special for Biletnikoff. The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Tuesday he will be honored during the week of the enshrinement to commemorate the 35th year anniversary of his enshrinement.
When Fred Biletnikoff broke into the NFL, critics said he was too slow, too small and not strong enough to compete at the highest level.— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) June 27, 2023
Those takes aged poorly.
To commemorate the 35th anniversary of Biletnikoff's Enshrinement, he'll again be honored in Canton this summer. pic.twitter.com/WJ9ygbYIdE
Biletnikoff, 80, told Silver and Black Pride that he didn’t know anything about the honor, but he’s excited to be going back. The enshrinement will be held August 5.
“35 years, I can’t believe it,” Biletnikoff said. “How did that happen? The years have flown by. I was 45 when I went in so I was pretty young and I really enjoyed the process. I also was able to appreciate all the older guys I grew up watching. Now, I’m one of those old guys. But I just love the trip each summer.”
Biletnikoff enjoys every trip to Canton, but in the past several years it has been extra special. Close friends and teammates Ken Stabler, Ray Guy and Cliff Branch were all enshrined as well as Raiders coach Tom Flores.
“That’s been so beautiful,” Biletnikoff said. “To see Kenny, Cliff, Ray Guy and Tom get in during recent years have been so special,” he said. “I just have so many great memories and look forward to go back in a few weeks.”