Canton preparing for Pro Football Hall of Fame week

Preparations are underway to host some of the greatest ever to play the game of football and thousands of their greatest fans.

For the 22nd year, the 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement week festivities officially kick off

early Wednesday with more than 3,000 kids standing shoulder to shoulder passing a football over

a three mile trek from the place where professional football started on Sept. 17, 1920 to the steps of the hall of fame.

“Twenty years ago, I said it will never last.

Who is going to want to do that? Well, it turns out 3,300 kids want to do it,” said Rich Derosiers of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Called the “First Pass” the event formally kicks off the 103rd season of NFL football.

Also on Wednesday, the city of Canton will unveil a new statue commemorating the legacy of Cleveland Browns Hall of Famer Marion Montley.

The season will then officially kick off Thursday evening with a Hall of Fame Game in Tom Benson Stadium between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Throughout the week, the Hall of Fame campus will host a fun fest, which is a free, 

family-friendly collection of games and activities. 

Hall of fame and pro football merchandise will be available at tents on the property including autographed helmets and memorabilia from Hunt Auctions.

“You have the Superbowl, you have the draft and you have the football Hall of Fame induction.

Those are sort of the three main football events of the year other than the regular season,

” said Gary Reibsane of Hunt Auctions. “I get excited when I see a kid say, ‘Wow, is that Jim Brown?’

Because it shows that their dad or somebody gave them a history lesson because they recognize Jim Brown.

A lot of the kids nowadays, they know the modern guys but they don’t have the appreciation for the older guys so I get excited when they do.”

On Friday, returning hall of famers will gather at Centennial Park in Canton for a group photo opportunity at 10:30 a.m.

They will include 2013 hall of fame enshrinee Dave Robinson,

now an Akron resident who played 10 seasons with the Green Bay Packers and spent years as a Hall of Fame Board Member before his enshrinement.

“I have been doing this since 1988, you never get tired of it.

It’s always new and fresh, it’s a new class and I just love the hall,” Robinson told Fox 8 on Tuesday.