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Friday, August 1, 2008
Tasker HOF debate continues


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Last week I posted an item that generated healthy debate about whether former Buffalo Bills special teams stalwart Steve Tasker belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

I was having a conversation with New England Patriots' uber-specialist Larry Izzo Thursday, and he mentioned Tasker's name in passing. With Hall of Fame induction weekend upon us, I asked Izzo to share his thoughts about Tasker's place in Canton.

"He's someone who certainly deserves to be there," Izzo said. "He definitely revolutionized the game as far as putting the focus on individuals on special teams were it hadn't been there before.

"He took the game to another level. I know from playing against him he was a challenge. I just remember watching him on film and thinking 'This guy is (expletive) great.' "

The NFL Network this week named the top 10 players not in the Hall of Fame. Tasker was ranked No. 9 ahead of Ken Anderson and behind (in order from the top) Jerry Kramer, Derrick Thomas, Cris Carter, Jim Marshall, Bob Hayes, Ken Stabler, Ricky Watters and Alex Karras.

Tasker had so much impact the NFL instituted a special-teams position for the Pro Bowl, an honor Izzo has earned three times.

"He's the best ever in my opinion," Izzo said. "He could run. He was tough. He had a nose for the football. He was a playmaker. You put him in different roles, as a gunner, as a penetrator on the kickoff.

"He was a finisher. A lot of guys you see can run down the field really fast, and that's nice if you're outside. But do they finish the play? He was one of those guys who would make those plays."

Watch this Tasker video clip from NFL.com and tell us if you agree with Izzo or not.