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Mawae, Robinson Enter Pro Football Hall of Fame

by Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette)
Mawae, Robinson Enter Pro Football Hall of Fame

BATON ROUGE – Two former LSU standouts and football legends – center Kevin Mawae and halfback Johnny Robinson – were officially enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in Canton, Ohio.

Mawae and Robinson were among a group of eight NFL all-time greats named to the 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class.
Mawae and Robinson added their named to an elite list of former LSU football players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining Steve Van Buren (1965), Y.A. Tittle (1971) and Jimmy Taylor (1976) in the Hall.
Robinson, who was born in 1938 in Delhi, Louisiana, helped LSU to its first national title in football in 1958 playing alongside Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon. Robinson starred on both sides of the ball for the Tigers from 1957-59, earning first team All-SEC honors as a halfback in 1958 and second team all-conference distinction as a senior in 1959.
Robinson was also a member of the tennis team at LSU, winning the SEC tennis titles in singles in 1958 and in doubles with his brother Tommy in 1958. 
He capped his career at LSU with 893 rushing yards, 453 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. LSU posted a combined record of 25-7 in his three years with the Tigers, which included an 11-0 record in 1958 followed by a 9-2 mark in 1959. Robinson played in two Sugar Bowls, helping the Tigers to a 7-0 win over Clemson in the 1959 Sugar Bowl to cap the undefeated season.
Robinson was selected in the first round of the 1960 AFL Draft by the Dallas Texans (now the Kansas City Chiefs) and he was picked No. 3 overall in the NFL Draft that same year by the Detroit Lions.
Robinson was a star in the AFL, playing all 10 seasons in which the league existed before the merger with the NFL following the 1969 season.
A running back for his first two seasons with the Texans in the AFL, Robinson moved to defense during his third year and became one of the best safeties in the league. He led the AFL in interceptions with 10 in 1966, was named All-AFL five straight seasons (1965-69), voted to the AFL All-Star game six times and was named to the AFL’s All-Time team.
He led his team to four division titles in the AFL and played in three AFL championship game victories.
Robinson started at safety for the Chiefs in two Super Bowls, including the inaugural World Championship Game that featured Kansas City and Green Bay on January 15, 1967 in Los Angeles. Robinson had nine tackles Super Bowl I as the Packers beat the Chiefs, 35-10. 
Three years later, Robinson recovered a fumble and had an interception in leading the underdog Chiefs to a 23-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV in the Louisiana Superdome.
For his pro career, Robinson intercepted 57 passes, returning one for a touchdown. He accounted for 18 additional touchdowns as a pro, rushing for six, being on the receiving end of nine and returning one punt for a score. He also scored on a 46-yard fumble return against the Baltimore Colts on Monday Night Football in 1970. He led the NFL in interceptions with 10 in 1970.

Robinson retired from the NFL in the summer of 1972 after playing 12 years of pro football.

Mawae, who was born in Savannah, Ga., and came to LSU from Leesville (La.) High School, will go down as one of the best centers in NFL history, playing 241 games, starting 238 times, over 16 seasons.
Before entering the NFL, Mawae was a standout offensive lineman for LSU. He started at left tackle for the Tigers for most of his first three seasons at LSU before shifting to center as a senior in 1993. He earned first team All-SEC honors at left tackle in 1991, and was second-team all-conference in both 1992 and 1993. 
Drafted in the second round (No. 36 overall) by the Seattle Seahawks in 1994, Mawae made an immediate impact, earning a spot on the NFL’s All-Rookie team after playing in 14 games with 11 starts in 1994.
After two years at right guard in the NFL, he moved to center in 1996 and quickly developed into the best at his position in the league. By the time his playing career was over, Mawae had established himself as one of the top centers in NFL history.
Mawae played for three organizations during his 16-year NFL career – the Seahawks (1994-97), Jets (1998-2005) and Titans (2006-09). In his first season with the Jets in 1998, he helped the organization to a 12-4 record as New York captured the divisional title and reached the conference championship game.
Mawae also won divisional titles with the Jets in 2001 and the Tennessee Titans in 2008.
In New York, he anchored a Jets offensive line that paved the way for a 100-yard rusher 44 times and seven 1,000-yard rushing seasons by Curtis Martin.
During the Titans’ 13-3 season in 2008, Mawae helped set a franchise benchmark as Tennessee allowed an NFL-low 12 sacks, which included holding opponents without a sack for five straight games.
He blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher in 13 of his 16 NFL seasons, which came from five different running backs. He capped his career with a Pro Bowl season in 2009 after blocking for 2,000-yard rusher Chris Johnson.
Mawae was named to the Pro Bowl eight times and was All-Pro six times (1999-2002, 2004, and 2008).  He’s also a member of the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team and he’s in the New York Jets Ring of Honor.
Off the field, Mawae joined the NFLPA’s executive committee in 2002 and was elected president of the organization in 2008 and then re-elected in 2010. He held that position until March of 2012.