A member of the 1998 Hall of Fame Class, Anthony Muñoz is considered one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history. Almost two decades later, one of the game's greatest running backs will join him in the Hall.
Although they played in different divisions ,and the fact that he was retired by the time LaDainian Tomlinson took the field, Muñoz recognizes LT as one of the best to ever play the game. But the best part about Tomlinson's induction is that it allows the pair to do something they never could – become teammates.
"The fun thing for us, guys who are much older and never played on the same team as some of the guys going in, now we can say that we're teammates," Muñoz said. "As Deacon Jones would say, this is a team that you can never be traded from, never be cut from and never be waived from. We'll be teammates forever."
A lineman has two main jobs; protect the quarterback and open lanes for the running back. As for the second? Let's just say Muñoz wishes he got to do the latter for LT.
"As a former offensive lineman, I would have loved to block for LaDainian Tomlinson. He was so much fun to watch and it's a well-deserved honor for him. In my humble opinion, he's one of the best that I've watched, and we've had a lot of great running backs. As a former offensive lineman, it was always fun to watch excellent running backs and he was one of those guys."
They say game recognizes game. For Muñoz and his admiration for LT, that's the truth. Like many have acknowledged, Muñoz considers LT to be the "total package" citing it wasn't just his physical prowess that made him special, it was his inherent game knowledge that took his play to another level.
"His speed, strength, vision (made him the) the total package. When you thought he was going to run over somebody, he'd run around them. As you watched him, he was not only physically talented, but the great ones have the mental ability to know. They always talk about defenders knowing formations and plays, but running backs know what formation to cut before they cut. That's what was impressive about LaDainian Tomlinson."
Muñoz, who has made nearly every HOF ceremony since '98, is excited to come to Canton to help welcome his newest teammate. Having been in LT's shoes almost two decades ago, he knows what the weekend will bring but shared a bit of sage advice.
"It's always exciting to see the new guys coming in; the young guys. One of the thing we always tell them is just to take it all in because it's such a whirlwind. I look forward to being there and see LaDainian be enshrined and have his bust in Canton."