CANTON, Ohio -- Eddie DeBartolo Jr., whose San Francisco 49ers became the first franchise to win five Super Bowls, has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a contributor.
Presented by his daughter Lisa, DeBartolo was known as much for his compassion and care for people throughout his organization as for building a winning football team. Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young credits DeBartolo for working to create strong relationships between players and owners throughout the NFL.
His teams won the league championships for the 1981, '84, '88, '89 and '94 seasons.
The 69-year-old DeBartolo, who owned shopping malls, was embroiled in the corruption case against former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards and suspended by the NFL for the 1999 season after being found guilty of failing to report a bribe, a felony. After the suspension, DeBartolo gave control of the team to his sister.
"I could be the only inductee of this great hall who didn't make his high school football team," he said. "To share this stage with these gentlemen is more than humbling. We may be wearing the same jackets, but they have shoes I could never fill."