Posts Tagged ‘pro football hall of fame’

Prior to Terrell Owens’ inclusion in the NFL Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018, the wide receiver’s candidacy was largely clouded with questions about his attitude and behavior, despite putting up undeniably impressive career numbers.

His third year on the ballot proved to be the one that sealed the deal, and the testimony of one former teammate in particular may have had a lot to do with that.

As this year’s candidates were being considered, Hall of Fame voters were given an 11-page document including nearly 30 testimonials from former teammates of Owens in order to vouch for him as deserving of induction, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports, who is also a member of the Hall of Fame selection committee.

One endorsement in particular came from former San Francisco 49ersquarterback Jeff Garcia, who at times seemed to have as rocky a relationship with Owens as any other teammate.

Garcia gave permission for part of his statement to be made public, according to Maiocco, and in it he says while Owens’ energy was sometimes viewed in a negative manner, his on-field production spoke the loudest.

My response to your question about Terrell Owens is that I believe he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Personality and off-the-field reputation put aside, he was one of the most feared players at his position and was highly productive despite all of the extra attention and defensive game-planning that came his way in order to disrupt his performance.

He was one of the hardest workers on the practice field, and come game day, he always gave all that he could give, despite at times dealing with personal injury.

He was a physical beast on the field and created matchup problems in favor of our offense. The combination of size, speed, and physicality that he brought into a game made him difficult to defend.

He wore his emotions on his sleeve and sometimes that was taken in a negative way, but there’s no taking away from the fact that he wanted to win badly and is near the top of every important receiving category in the history of the NFL. No matter who his QB was or what team he played for, his production was consistent and raised the standard of the position from a performance aspect.

The proof is in what he did on the field.

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Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Ray Lewis are among the 15 finalists for the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame class that was revealed Tuesday.

The trio is joined by Brian Urlacher, Edgerrin James, Isaac Bruce, John Lynch, Brian Dawkins, Everson Walls, Ty Law, Tony Boselli, Kevin Mawae, Joe Jacoby, Steve Hutchinson, and Alan Faneca.

Moss made an immediate impact upon being selected 21st overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1998 NFL Draft, setting a rookie record with 17 touchdowns. The six-time Pro Bowler also caught a league-record 23 touchdown passes during the 2007 season with the New England Patriots.

Lewis is among the greatest linebackers in NFL history, spending the entirety of his 17-year career with the Baltimore Ravens. The 13-time Pro Bowler won Super Bowl MVP in 2000 and helped the Ravens win their second title in his final game, ousting the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII.

Owens ranks second in NFL history with 15,934 receiving yards, third with 153 touchdowns, and eighth with 1,078 receptions. During a career which saw him play for five teams, Owens led the NFL in receiving touchdowns three times (2001, 2002, 2006) and is known for being one of the most entertaining and enigmatic players of all-time.

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Ray Lewis is arguably the most important player in Baltimore Ravens history, and head coach John Harbaugh believes the Pro Football Hall of Fame should induct the 13-time Pro Bowler as soon as possible.

The Hall announced its 108 early nominees for the 2018 class Tuesday, and Lewis was one of 11 first-year eligible players. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber, Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, and New England Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour join Lewis among the first-year nominees.

“Ray Lewis is a definitely first-ballot, unanimous selection to the Hall of Fame, without question,” Harbaugh said to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley on Wednesday. “There’s no doubt about that.”

Lewis won the second Super Bowl of his career under Harbaugh’s tutelage in 2012, helping the Ravens to a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.

His off-field history, however, includes a misdemeanor charge of obstruction stemming from previous murder charges in connection to a January 2000 killing in Atlanta. Some believe that should hinder Lewis’ candidacy, but Harbaugh dismissed that notion.

“If anybody votes against him, then there’s an agenda,” Harbaugh said.

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Randy Moss believes he’ll go down as one of the all-time great players in football history, regardless of how long it takes him to obtain a Hall of Fame jacket.

“First ballot or not, I understand what it is, man,” Moss said Thursday, according to Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “It’s a political war, and I was one of those guys who didn’t play (politics), nor do I intend to play into politics. So I know what I stood for. I know what the game is. I gave my all to the game, 14 years through the ups and downs, I still gave my commitment to the National Football League. Like it or not.”

The former wide receiver will be eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame for the first time in 2018. He boasts some of the greatest numbers ever amassed by a wideout, yet the same could be said for Terrell Owens, who was kept out by voters in his first round of eligibility this year.

Moss, like Owens, picked up a reputation early in his career as a poor locker-room presence, and wasn’t always on the greatest of terms with the media. Though, he seemed to turn around his image toward the end of his career.

“All I know is I just played the game to the best of my ability,” Moss said. “I put my mark, I put my stamp, I put my family’s name on football, the National Football League. You can’t get any higher.”

Moss finished his 14-year career ranked second on the NFL’s all-time list in receiving touchdowns and third in receiving yards.

Jerry Rice, Steve Largent, Paul Warfield, and Raymond Berry are the only wide receivers who’ve been elected to the Hall on the first ballot.

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Antonio Gates wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity to see LaDainian Tomlinson officially become football royalty.

After several days of uncertainty about whether Gates would be at his former teammate’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony Saturday – uncertainty that started after a report suggested the Chargers wouldn’t let Gates and Philip Rivers miss training camp to attend – the veteran tight end ultimately got the green light.

But that’s not to say he was really seeking permission. As Gates told Marty Caswell of Mighty 1090 before the ceremony got underway, he was prepared to make the trip to Canton, Ohio even if the Chargers fined him for a brief training-camp absence.

“Absolutely,” Gates said. “I would’ve paid the fine twice to be here.”

Rivers didn’t join Gates for Saturday night’s induction ceremony, but the quarterback did pass along a congratulatory video message recorded from the end zone where Tomlinson broke the single-season touchdown record in 2006.

The star trio combined to lead a stellar offense in that season and each of the three that followed, posting top-five scoring finishes and capturing AFC West titles in four straight years.

LaDainian Tomlinson pleaded for racial unity and harmony during his Hall of Fame speech, a common theme of the evening amid a turbulent political climate.

The former Chargers running back recounted a story of his great-great-great grandfather coming to the United States on a slave ship from West Africa, and called for harmony in these polarizing times.

“The family legacy that began in such a cruel way has given birth to generations of successful, caring Tomlinsons,” he said Saturday. “I firmly believe that God chose me to help bring two races together under one last name: Tomlinson. I’m of mixed race, and I represent America. My story is America’s story. All our ancestors, unless we’re American Indian, came from another country, another culture. Football is a microcosm of America. All races, religions, and creeds living, playing, competing side by side.”

Tomlinson continued, invoking the message of change championed by former President Barack Obama.

“On America’s team, let’s not choose to be against one another. Let’s choose to be for one another. My great-great-great grandfather had no choice. We have one. I pray we dedicate ourselves to be the best team we can be, working and living together, representing the highest ideals of mankind, leading the way for all nations to follow. One of the most eloquent orators of our time said it best in his farewell address. Paraphrasing and humbly building upon what President Obama said, ‘We all have to try harder, show up, dive in and stay at it.’ I am asking you to believe in your ability to bring about change, to hold fast to the faith and the idea whispered by slaves: ‘Yes, we can.'”

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LaDainian Tomlinson paid his respects to his former coach, Marty Schottenheimer, during Saturday’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Tomlinson, arguably the greatest player in Chargers history, lauded Schottenheimer as the greatest coach he had during his decorated career.

“I spent nine years with the San Diego Chargers. Head coach Marty Schottenheimer was the best coach I ever had, and we won five division titles,” Tomlinson said. “Marty, would you and your wife, Pat, please stand to be acknowledged?”

The crowd then broke out into a “MARTY!” chant to honor the 73-year-old. Schottenheimer, who is battling Alzheimer’s, was visibly moved by Tomlinson’s shout-out.

It should be noted that three of the division titles Tomlinson referenced were won under the guidance of head coach Norv Turner.