It took two years, but Shannon Sharpe has finally landed in the NFL Hall of Fame (full list of the 2011 inductees via the Associated Press). Sharpe is easily the best tight end in Denver Broncos history and was also considered one of the best in the NFL at the time of his retirement in 2003. Although many of his numbers have since been surpassed by the Atlanta Falcons’ Tony Gonzalez, Sharpe’s inclusion in the Hall of Fame was almost a foregone conclusion. “Sharpe’s numbers may be eclipsed, but his personality never will,” writes the Denver Post’s Dave Krieger.

Sharpe was choked up on Saturday as he discussed what the honor means to him (watch video at Those emotions belie his usual humor, to which the Post pays tribute in a timeline of his life. Sharpe hopes his entry to the Hall will help bring recognition to other deserving Broncos–namely, Terrell Davis, Rod Smith, and Randy Gradishar (also via the Post). In yet another article marking the occasion, the Post notes that Sharpe is the fourth Bronco to be inducted into the NFL’s Hall of Fame in the last eight years after a 40-year dry spell for Denver.