Harold Carmichael wasn’t even in consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame the first time around, never becoming a semifinalist when he was eligible for the modern-era ballot. The centennial class of 2020 gave Carmichael a second chance at football immortality, and the Philadelphia Eagles all-time leading receiver was inducted into the Hall of Fame Wednesday.
Getting the call from Pro Football Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker was a dream come true for Carmichael, one that didn’t seem possible until the past year.
“This is so much of an honor, oh gosh. Never thought this would happen. But thank you, God,” Carmichael said to Baker when he received the call. “Thank you for telling me this, David. Appreciate you. I feel like I’m dreaming. I don’t know what to feel. I feel so numb.”
Carmichael owns every major receiving record in Eagles franchise history — quite the impressive feat since he hasn’t put on an Eagles uniform in 36 years. He is the Eagles all-time leader in receptions (589), receiving yards (8,978), and touchdowns (75). He also caught a pass in 127 consecutive games from 1972 to 1982, which was a NFL record until Steve Largent broke it in 1986.
Carmichael is 28th all-time in receiving touchdowns to go with his two All-Pro selections. He also was member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame 1970s all-decade team (second team) and the 1980 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. Only four wide receivers were in the Hall when Carmichael retired and five when he was up for induction in 1989, which explains why he was overlooked in the first place.
When Carmichael’s NFL career ended, he was fifth all-time in catches, seventh all-time in yards, and tied for sixth in touchdowns. Carmichael led all NFL wide receivers in receptions (549), receiving yards (8,414), and receiving touchdowns (77) from 1973 to 1983.
“I just had a flashback from 60-some years ago and thinking about the guys that helped me to get here,” Carmichael said on Good Morning Football. “Seventh-round draft choice, nobody expected me to make it. To be a part of the 2020 centennial class, is just…I’ll tell every kid, be prepared to do this. This is the ultimate, ultimate honor you can get in the National Football League.”