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Old 01-31-2009, 01:32 AM  
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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Covitz: Chiefs’ Thomas faces tough competition for Hall of Fame

Chiefs’ Thomas faces tough competition for Hall of Fame
By RANDY COVITZ
The Kansas City Star

TAMPA, Fla. | From the day he retired as the NFL’s all-time sack leader, Buffalo Bills defensive end Bruce Smith punctuated his autographs with “HOF 2009.”

Today, Smith’s prediction will come true with his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In fact, it could be a big day for pass rushers as several other sack masters are on the final ballot, including the late Derrick Thomas of the Chiefs; former Super Bowl MVP Richard Dent of the Chicago Bears; Minnesota’s John Randle, who holds the all-time sack record for defensive tackles; and Atlanta/Philadelphia defensive end Claude Humphrey, one of the two senior nominees.

A minimum of four and a maximum of seven will be elected today, including no more than five players from the modern era. This is the fifth year of eligibility for Thomas, who had 126 1/2 sacks in his 11-year career, including a league-high 20 in 1990, and a NFL single-game record of seven, also in 1990.

But it won’t be easy for him. There are at least two surefire selections in their first year of eligibility: Smith and Pittsburgh/Oakland defensive back Rod Woodson. Denver/Baltimore tight end Shannon Sharpe is likely to be elected.

So that may leave one of three spots for Thomas, who was a game-changer with his 46 career takeaways (45 forced fumbles, one interception) and a member of the 1990s All-Decade Team.

“I played against him from 1990 to 1999 — 18 times and once in the playoffs — and as far as I’m concerned, he was the best pure pass rusher I ever played against,” Sharpe told The Star before the 2008 election.

“I never got a chance to play against Lawrence Taylor in his prime, and some would argue LT had more of an impact. But if there was more of an impact defensive player when Derrick played … Reggie White is in the Hall of Fame, and you can make a case for Bruce Smith, but you’d be hard-pressed to show me somebody other than that big three who had more of an impact on a game from a defensive perspective than Derrick Thomas did.”

Hall hopefuls
Here’s how The Star handicaps Thomas’ top competition in the field of 17:

They’re in

•DE BRUCE SMITH: Smith, with his NFL-record 200 sacks, was the defensive cornerstone for Buffalo teams that went to four consecutive Super Bowls. He’s a member of the 1980s and 1990s All-Decade teams. He was a two-time NFL defensive player of the year and four time AFC defensive player of the year.

•DB ROD WOODSON: Woodson was a consummate ballhawk, whether he played cornerback or safety, and he was a dangerous kick returner. Woodson’s 71 interceptions rank third all time. His 1,483 yards on interception returns are an NFL record, as are his 12 returns for touchdowns. Woodson played in three Super Bowls for Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Oakland, and was one of only five active players selected to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team.

They’re close

•TE SHANNON SHARPE: Sharpe retired as the NFL’s all-time leader among tight ends with 815 receptions, 10,060 yards and 62 touchdowns, all records since broken by the Chiefs’ Tony Gonzalez. Sharpe played in four AFC championship games and started for Denver’s two Super Bowl championship teams as well as Baltimore’s. He was selected to the All-Decade Team of the 1990s.

•DE RICHARD DENT: Some believe Dent needs to be inducted before Thomas. At the time of his retirement, Dent’s 137 1/2 career sacks ranked third behind Reggie White and Bruce Smith. He was the Super Bowl MVP for the 1985 Chicago Bears, making three tackles, 1 1/2 sacks and two forced fumbles.

•WR CRIS CARTER: Carter, a finalist in his first year of eligibility last year, retired with 130 touchdowns, second in NFL history. He caught 122 passes in back-to-back seasons for Minnesota and had eight straight 1,000-yard seasons.

Keep your eye on


•G BOB KUECHENBERG:
Former Miami coach Don Shula broke his longstanding policy of not endorsing his former players and sent e-mails to the selectors urging them to vote for Kuechenberg, who appeared in four Super Bowls for the Dolphins.

•OWINER RALPH WILSON JR.
: There is some sentiment in electing Wilson, 90, the founder of the Buffalo Bills, while he can still enjoy it. Wilson, along with Lamar Hunt, helped keep the AFL alive, even lending money to another team, and played a key role with Hunt in creating the AFL-NFL merger.

•DTs CORTEZ KENNEDY and JOHN RANDLE: They’re both in their first seasons of eligibility and were dominant players. Kennedy was an eight-time Pro Bowler for Seattle, was a member of the 1990s All-Decade Team and was the NFL’s 1992 defensive player of the year. Randle, also a member of the 1990s All-Decade Team, had 137 1/2 sacks, the most of any interior defensive lineman, including a league-leading 15 1/2 in 1997. They’ll probably have to wait their turn behind Thomas.
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:39 AM   #2
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If he gets in saturday
it pretty much cleans up the Peterson mess
in just a span of a couple months
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:40 AM   #3
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**** Covitz. He and the rest of the KC Media should be leading the charge against this insanity.
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:43 AM   #4
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:45 AM   #5
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My god. The guy has a 20 sack season, 9 straight pro bowls, 128 sacks IIRC, but the most telling stat is 45 FF. Does anyone else have that many ff? Most of which were QB strips. That is an astonishing #.
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Old 01-31-2009, 06:05 AM   #6
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He died young too the Dent buisness is ridiculous he played another four or five years longer. I'm sick of this crap espn and NFL network mention everyone but him. They even said john randlle should definitely get in. A DT was better thaan randlle. It makes me sick cause he can't campaign for himself. Chris carter whinning bout he should be in also makes me sick. He better make it this year.

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Old 01-31-2009, 08:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by chiefscafan View Post
He died young too the Dent buisness is ridiculous he played another four or five years longer. I'm sick of this crap espn and NFL network mention everyone but him. They even said john randlle should definitely get in. A DT was better thaan randlle. It makes me sick cause he can't campaign for himself. Chris carter whinning bout he should be in also makes me sick. He better make it this year.
DT was better than John Randle?

I love DT and believe he should unquestionably be in the HoF, but 137 sacks from a defensive tackle is unheard of.

The guy was incredibly disruptive from the middle and just blew plays up.

It's an apples and oranges comparison, really, but John Randle was a great player, period.
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Old 01-31-2009, 08:54 AM   #8
Deberg_1990 Deberg_1990 is offline
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Honestly, i hate that the Hall works this way but Dent deserves to get in before DT based on his Super Bowl ring and Super Bowl MVP. They had similar regular season stats.


Not to take anything away from DT. He deserves and will get in someday. The whole Hall process is flawed. A guy is either a HoFer or hes not.

This whole thought of "well, he needs to wait X number of years" is laughable.
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:19 PM   #9
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sorry randle is good but DT was only 33 when he died he could have played another 3 to 4 years and excuse me but I don't think he was slowing down. So if he at a low estimate avg 8 sacks which I think he could have that's another 24 to 32 sacks. Which would make himin the top three sack artists of all time. The stupid argument that he wasn't good against the rush or in pass coverage is insane he played 3 different positions. He was olb In 3-4, olb in 4-3, and the falcon. I saw him cover TE stride for stride. One thing he also was that dent and randlle both weren't was NFL man of the year for what he did off the field.

I think it's a shame that gretz is the only one speaking up for him while carter on the programs he's on can cry and say he should get in. We all know how much Shannon sharpe and DT didn't get along but he even said it's ridiculous that DT isn't in allready.

Lastly I say this through out history in the Nfl there were only a handful of guys offenses had to game plan for and DT was one of those guys. He deserves to get in.
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:21 PM   #10
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:24 PM   #11
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Let's hope he didn't f it up again if he did someone else needs to talk him up next year.
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:54 PM   #12
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Gretz and commitee comes thru

Congrats Derrick Thomas RIP
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