Three players who have played in the AFC West are among the finalists for election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The voting and announcement is Saturday. Let’s take a look at the candidates:
Tim Brown: Los Angeles and Oakland Raiders, wide receiver, 1988 to 2003
Career Highlights: Brown was a nine-time Pro Bowl player. He is fourth in all-time career receptions (1,094) and receiving yards (14,934). He had 100 career receiving touchdowns.
AFC West body of work: Of his 1,094 career catches, 1,070 came as a Raider. Brown, who played his final NFL season in Tampa Bay, caught at least 80 passes nine times and had nine 1,000-plus yard receiving seasons.
Quote from a voter: “He could get in, but it will be tight this year.”
What I think will happen: I think Brown belongs in the Hall of Fame and I think he will be enshrined at some point, but I don’t know if it will be this year. The receiving group is log jammed. Cris Carter has been waiting for four years and I think Carter may get in before Brown. It may not be right, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Brown doesn’t get in Saturday.
Willie Roaf: Kansas City 2002 to 2005:
Career Highlights: He made the Pro Bowl 11 times. He made the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1990s and 2000s.
AFC West body of work: He made the Pro Bowl during all four of the seasons he spent with Kansas City after being traded from New Orleans. He played with the Saints for the first nine years of his career.
Quote from a voter: “I’d be surprised if he got in on his first year of eligibility.”
What I think will happen: I think Roaf will get in soon. It seems that it has been difficult for players to get in their first year of eligibility lately unless they were legends. Roaf could be a finalist, but I’m not totally expecting him to be elected Saturday.
Shannon Sharpe: Denver, tight end, 1990 to 1999 and 2002 to 2003
Career Highlights: He made the Pro Bowl eight times. He was named first-team All-Pro four times. He has the second most career receiving yards for a tight end (10,060).
AFC West body of work: Sharpe made 671 of his 815 catches in the AFC West. He had three 1,000-yard receiving seasons and two seasons in which he had 10 touchdowns.
Quote from a voter: “A lot of voters look at him as a receiver, and he doesn’t stack up against the best candidates. It may be tough for him this year.”
What I think will happen: I was surprised when Sharpe didn’t get elected two years ago and I was surprised when he didn’t make it last year. I respect the voting process, but it’s my opinion that it’s shortsighted to look as Sharpe as a receiver. He was a tight end. Sure, he didn’t block well, but he changed the tight end position and he shouldn't be judged against receivers. But that has been the case, so I may be surprised again Saturday.