Bob Sanders Among Pennsylvania Sports Hall Of Fame's Class Of 2017

Intro: Bob Sanders, the hard-hitting Indianapolis Colts safety and former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, will be among several former standout athletes, coaches and executives inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame this year.

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INDIANAPOLIS — Bob Sanders remains a legend wherever he goes.

And now, he will be immortalized in his home state, where he was an all-state high school football player who dominated on both sides of the ball.

Sanders, the great former Indianapolis Colts safety, will be among several other great athletes, coaches and executives who will be inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame during an Oct. 28 ceremony in Williamsport, Pa., according to GoErie.com.

Sanders was known to provide an instant boost on every team he played for — and at every level. He wasn't the biggest player on the field, standing at 5 foot 8 and about 210 pounds by the time he reached the NFL, but his speed, ball skills and big-hitter mentality made up for all of that.

He was a legend at Cathedral Prep in Erie, Pa., where he was a standout running back and safety. He really blossomed his junior year, earning third-team All-State honors, and took it even further his senior year, when he was named first-team All-State. That year, he rushed for 17 touchdowns as the team's running back and was also a huge factor on defense, flying around and making plays all over the field for the Ramblers.

While Sanders didn't get a ton of attention from notable Division I programs — he was originally set to play at Ohio University in the Mid-American Conference — he eventually caught the eye of the Big Ten Conference's University of Iowa, where he didn't take long to make an impact, being named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten his freshman year. By his senior season, he was a second-team All-American.

The Indianapolis Colts came calling next, selecting Sanders in the second round with the 44th-overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft.

He would go on to become one of the most beloved players in franchise history.

Nicknamed "The Eraser" by Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy for his knack for making plays and canceling out his other teammates' potential mistakes, Sanders would become a two-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time First-Team All Pro during his time in Indianapolis. He made key plays in big games, too, notching a big forced fumble and an interception each in the team's 29-17 victory over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI.

But Sanders' crowning achievement as an individual player came the next year. He totaled 96 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions and six passes defenses in 15 total games and was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year, becoming only the fourth safety in league history to earn that honor.

Sanders would play in parts of seven seasons in Indianapolis before playing two games in his final year in 2011 with the San Diego Chargers. Unfortunately for Sanders — and his fans, teammates and coaches — his true potential was perhaps never reached due to a multitude of injuries suffered throughout his career.

Sanders becomes the eighth player with Colts ties to be inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, according to the organization's website. Previous Indianapolis/Baltimore Colts inductees include:

• Glenn Ressler, tackle (1980 inductee)
• John D. Yohn, linebacker (1987 inductee)
• Ron Solt, guard (2005 inductee)
• Alex Sandusky, guard (2010 inductee)
• Sam Havrilak, running back/wide receiver/quarterback/defensive back/tight end (2012 inductee)
• Stephen J. Smear, defensive tackle (2013 inductee)
• James Mungro, running back (2016 inductee)

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