Before 2020, Harold Carmichael had waited decades to receive the call of a lifetime. But in January of last year, Carmichael finally got it.
Carmichael received the call from David Baker, President and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, informing him that he had finally been selected to join the most prestigious fraternity in the sport, cementing him as one of the greatest to ever play the game.
The wait was finally over for Carmichael – or so we all thought.
Only a couple of months later, the world we knew it came to a screeching halt due to COVID-19, canceling virtually every public event that was planned for 2020, including Carmichael's induction.
Although Carmichael was technically a Hall of Famer, he had to wait yet another year to fully revel in his achievement.
But as our country continues its return to some semblance of normalcy, Carmichael's wait is, at long last, finally over. On August 7, he will be in Canton, Ohio, to be celebrated for a tremendous football career, and he will eventually take the stage at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium to deliver a speech that has been nearly 40 years in the making.
Despite the long wait, there was nothing but happiness and gratitude exuding from Carmichael when he spoke to members of the media Tuesday via Zoom.
"One more year didn't hurt," he said when talking about the pandemic delaying his Hall of Fame moment another year.
"There was nothing else for me to do but wait," he later added.
Waiting has been sort of a common theme during Carmichael's football life. He had to unexpectedly wait until the seventh round to receive the call that he had been drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. He had to wait until his third season to receive a feature role in the Eagles' offense. He had to wait until his eighth season to be a part of a team with a winning record.
But there is no more waiting for Carmichael. His time to attain football immortality is quickly approaching.
There is, however, one order of business Carmichael wants to tend to when he gets there, and that is tracking down the 12-foot trophy he was given for breaking the NFL record for consecutive games with a reception back in 1979. The streak lasted another year, extending to 127 games before it ended in the 1980 regular-season finale against the Dallas Cowboys. Despite the loss, the Eagles clinched the NFC East title that day, Carmichael's first as a player, and eventually hosted Dallas in the NFC Championship Game that sent Philadelphia to its first Super Bowl.
According to Carmichael, the trophy was given to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he hasn't seen it in recent years.
"I've been there a couple of times and it's not there anymore, and I'm just wondering if they used that for some firewood," he joked.
Fortunately, Carmichael will be Canton soon enough to find out.