Brian Murphy: Jerry Kramer still awaits his call to Canton

bmurphy@idahostatesman.comAugust 4, 2013 

JERRY KRAMER

STATESMAN ARCHIVE PHOTO /2008

Far from the spotlight and far from Canton, Ohio, Jerry Kramer watched Saturday’s Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions from his Boise home.

The former University of Idaho and Green Bay Packer great is nearly unanimously considered the best player not in the Hall. But the 77-year-old spent another induction weekend watching as others were honored.

Dave Robinson, a teammate of Kramer’s in Green Bay, was among the seven inductees in the Class of 2013.

“I think I just saw a tear in dad’s eye after Robbie spoke,” said Alicia Kramer, Jerry’s daughter and biggest advocate for Hall induction.

“It means a lot to him, but he can’t tell that to anybody. There’s some part of him that just really wants that.”

A five-time All-Pro selection, Kramer is the only member of the NFL’s 50th anniversary team not in the Hall. He has been a finalist 10 times, but never gotten the call.

“The personal thing is just a mishmash of emotions,” he said Saturday night while watching the inductions with Alicia and her 7-month-old son, Charlie, who is named for Kramer’s father.

“Still a little anger in there. Still a little resentment in there. Still a little thankfulness that the game has been so good to me and I’ve been so fortunate, and a little confusion about why I wasn’t given this honor.”

Kramer’s absence did not escape notice from the national media.

“Congrats to the newest members, but until Jerry Kramer is enshrined the Pro Football Hall of Fame lacks credibility,” ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap tweeted.

“I have to agree with my friend @JeremySchaap ... Jerry Kramer’s absence from the Hall is ridiculous,” ESPN’s Trey Wingo tweeted.

Such comments fuel Alicia Kramer’s efforts to get her father inducted. She launched a high-profile campaign last year. She and Jerry vowed it would be the final push.

But the goal means too much to both of them to simply abandon it. And the support from Hall of Famers and fans assured there would be no stopping.

Former Packer Paul Hornung is expected to push for Kramer’s induction to the panel that recommends senior candidates to the full Hall of Fame voting group. The Kramers will find out in about three weeks if Jerry is again a finalist.

“Watching Robbie speak and how it impacted him, it’s the pinnacle of your career. Dad just really deserves it,” Alicia Kramer said. “His accolades speak for themselves. It makes me want to try that much harder and do that much more.”

Kramer and Robinson celebrated the latter’s honor at the Super Bowl.

They went to dinner with others and toasted Robinson’s achievement. Kramer saw firsthand how much it meant to his old friend.

He watched Saturday as Robinson received his gold jacket and bust.

“You can’t help but imagine that. So many of the guys you played with and knew are there. You can’t help but think about that,” Kramer said. “But things have been really good and you don’t want to go there. You don’t want to dwell on that. You don’t want to get angry and get your lip stuck out and pout about it.

“It’s not a good look.”

Someday, I hope, Kramer will get his day in the Canton sun.

Get his gold jacket. Deliver his speech. Thank his daughter.

And shed tears of pure joy.

Brian Murphy: 377-6444,Twitter: @MurphsTurph

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