Tony Gonzalez and Champ Bailey among this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame class

FILE – In this Jan. 20, 2013, file photo, Atlanta Falcons’ Tony Gonzalez reacts after his 10-yard touchdown reception during the first half of the NFL football NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers in Atlanta. Gonzalez is heading to the Hall of Fame, to be joined by three defensive backs who spent parts of their career trying to stop him. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

By Matt Weitz

ATLANTA – Former Falcons Tight End Tony Gonzalez and former Georgia Bulldog Champ Bailey will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this Saturday in Canton, Ohio along with a number of other former players.

Tony Gonzalez played the majority of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs playing there from 1997 until 2008.  He played five more years with the Falcons before retiring in 2013.  In 2012, Tony Gonzalez won a Divisional Playoff game with the Falcons in a victory over the Seattle Seahawks, which would be the only time he ever experienced a playoff win in his illustrious career.  This left Tony on one knee in tears after so many playoff struggles.

Tony revolutionized the tight end position.  For years, the only purpose of the tight end was to back up the offensive line.  Gonzalez decided to become a makeshift wide receiver in addition to fulfilling the previous role that tight ends of the past had played.  Since Tony Gonzalez began this trend, countless other tight ends both in the NFL and in college have done the same thing.  Despite the lack of a Super Bowl title, Tony’s role in changing the tight end position forever led to players such as Rob Gronkowski emulating this formula.  This is what has convinced officials to enshrine him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Former Georgia Bulldog standout and legendary NFL linebacker Champ Bailey is also being enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year.

From 1996 through 1998, Champ played between the hedges at Georgia.  During those years, Bailey was also on the UGA track and field team  However, it was in the NFL that he really made a name for himself.

In 1999, Bailey was drafted seventh overall by the Washington Redskins.   He played in Washington through the 2003 season.  During the following offseason , Champ was traded to the Denver Broncos.  In Denver, Champ Bailey may have had the best seasons in his career.  In the 2013 season, he played in the Super Bowl despite being plagued by injuries.  He wanted to play for the New Orleans Saints in 2014, but was forced to retire due to continuing injury problems without ever playing in a Saints uniform.

On Saturday however, both Tony Gonzalez and Champ Bailey will be forever enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Tune into ESPN at 7pm Eastern Standard time to watch.

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