The Hall of Fame wait was a long one for Harold Carmichael, but it was well worth it. Carmichael is the 10th Eagles player to be enshrined by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and the fourth wide receiver to represent the franchise.
Carmichael had to wait 37 years for his induction, which made his short speech to kick off the centennial class of 2020 even more memorable.
"I am so, so happy to be here," Carmichael said in his induction speech Saturday night. "I am so honored to be a part of this brotherhood, this fraternity. I wasn't part of this journey by myself. God put a lot of people on that highway with me."
Carmichael thanked many people who influenced his life, and described his days as a walk-on at Southern University. He thanked Mel Blount (a teammate at Southern) for pushing him every day in practice to get him ready for the NFL. He then thanked Dick Vermeil, who was his head coach with the Eagles from 1976 to 1982 -- advocating Carmichael's Hall of Fame entry.
"I hope you're in this next class of inductees, Coach," Carmichael said. "You deserve it. You got a lot of guys here pulling for you.
"I remember Coach Vermeil saying 'Do your job better than everybody else. Surround yourself with good people.' And I think I've done that all through my career."
A seventh-round pick in 1971, Carmichael made a name of himself in the NFL with his 6-foot-8 frame -- a nightmare for NFL defensive backs for over a decade. Carmichael owns every major receiving record in Eagles franchise history, ranking first in receptions (589), receiving yards (8,978), and touchdowns (79). He also caught a pass in 127 consecutive games from 1972 to 1982, which was an NFL record until Steve Largent broke it in 1986.
When Carmichael's NFL career ended, he was fifth in NFL history in catches, seventh all-time in yards, and tied for sixth in touchdowns. Carmichael led all NFL wide receivers in receptions (549), receiving yards (8,414), and receiving touchdowns (77) from 1973 to 1983.
Carmichael retired as the Eagles' all-time leader in games played, consecutive games played, touchdowns, receptions, receiving yards, and touchdown receptions. He's one of the greatest players to ever suit up for the franchise.
Carmichael also thanked former Eagles teammates Ron Jaworski, Harold Jackson, and Mike Quick for helping him on the football field and in the community. He then thanked Jeffrey Lurie and the organization for all their support, including making him the first director of player and community relations for the Eagles in 1998. Carmichael still works with the Eagles as an ambassador for the team.
Finally, Carmichael gave a loud shout out to the Eagles fans in his six-minute speech, and a loud ovation ensued.
"Thank you for welcoming a 22-year-old kid from Jacksonville and really accepting me as one of your own," Carmichael said. "Thank you for your support, your relentless passion, energy, and pride. To me, you're the best fans in the world. We all share this together."