FLORENCE, S.C. - A month after his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, former New York Giants star Harry Carson is still happiest when others revel in his upcoming induction.
Carson was elected in February, two years after writing a letter to the Hall of Fame asking to remove his name from consideration. But he said honors and awards, no matter how elite, have never been a driving factor in his life.
"My excitement is probably tempered because I don't allow external things like that to affect me too much," said Carson, who grew up in Florence and played ball at South Carolina State.
"I can't be over the top happy about that (Hall of Fame) because that's just some thing, and things don't make me happy. But knowing that my family is overjoyed over it, I'm happy because everybody else is happy."
After 13 seasons and nine Pro Bowls, Carson became one of the top inside linebackers of his era.
He was a Hall of Fame finalist six times when he wrote to get off the ballot in 2004, agreeing to "fall on the sword" and bring attention to his belief that former players and those enshrined in the hall should judge nominees' credentials.
Carson's feelings against the process where a panel of media members votes on the finalists have not changed.
Carson speaks with pride of his nine Pro Bowls, for which he was voted in by players.
"When you play, you can fool your coaches, you can fool your teammates, but you cannot fool the people you line up against. They know whether you are bringing it or not," he said.
Carson said he'll continue campaigning to change the election procedure to include Hall of Famers.
"There are some guys who are part of the media who are writers who don't necessarily know the difference between a 3-4 defense and a 4-3 defense," Carson said.
Carson's son Donald will be Carson's presenter in Canton. He's got 350 hotel rooms reserved in Ohio for friends and family.
Perhaps then, the excitement of the moment will hit Carson. He's not so sure. He said he felt so detached from the situation that he didn't feel much of anything when told of his election.
"Gradually, I've allowed myself to feel different things," he said. "I think right now, I'm happiest for all those people who have supported me through the years, who hung in there."
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