NFC West: 2014 Hall of Fame finalists

Aeneas Williams named HOF finalist

January, 10, 2014
Jan 10
TEMPE, Ariz. -- And then there were 15.

Former Arizona Cardinals defensive back Aeneas Williams was among the 15 modern-day finalists for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, announced Thursday night.

The class of 2014 inductees will be voted on Feb. 1, the day before Super Bowl, in New York City.

Williams has been a finalist the past two seasons.

Former Cardinals coach Don Coryell was a finalist in 2010 but was not elected. Former Cards running back Emmitt Smith, best known for his time with the Dallas Cowboys, was a finalist for the first time in 2010 and voted in that year. And former Cardinals cornerback Roger Wehrli was enshrined in 2007 after being a finalist for the first time.

Williams’ fellow modern-day finalists are K Morten Andersen, RB Jerome Bettis, LB Derrick Brooks, WR Tim Brown, owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., coach Tony Dungy, LB/DE Kevin Greene, DE/LB Charles Haley, WR Marvin Harrison, T Walter Jones, S John Lynch, WR Andre Reed, G Will Shields and DE Michael Strahan.

The two senior nominees are P Ray Guy and DE Claude Humphrey.

Williams would be the Cardinals’ 12th Hall of Famer and the first since Wehrli was inducted in 2007.

Cardinals Hall of Famers

1963 -- Ernie Nevers, halfback
1964 -- Jimmy Conzelman, coach
1965 -- John “Paddy” Driscoll, halfback
1967 -- Charles W. Bidwill Sr., owner
1968 -- Charley Trippi, halfback
1972 -- Ollie Matson, halfback
1974 -- Dick “Night Train” Lane, defensive back
1978 -- Larry Wilson, safety
1994 -- Jackie Smith, tight end
1996 -- Dan Dierdorf, tackle
2007 -- Roger Wehrli, cornerback

Three former Rams are Hall finalists

January, 10, 2014
Jan 10
ST. LOUIS -- For the second consecutive year, a trio of former Rams has landed spots as modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Defensive back Aeneas Williams, running back Jerome Bettis and linebacker Kevin Greene made the list of 15, which was whittled from 25.

Williams, Bettis and Greene spent varying parts of their careers with the Rams. While none are exactly remembered in the big picture for their time with the team, all made valuable contributions to the organization at some point.

Probably the most familiar to Rams fans is Williams, who came to St. Louis via trade in 2001. He promptly moved to safety and served as a veteran leader of a defense that helped the Rams reach Super Bowl XXXVI. Williams still lives in St. Louis and is active in the community. He spent most of his career in relative anonymity in Arizona but was long regarded as one of the team's best cover corners. His time is probably coming in Canton, but this year might not be it.

Bettis spent just one season in St. Louis after his first two came with the team in Los Angeles. He was traded to Pittsburgh in 1996 and went on to become the sixth-most accomplished rusher in league history. Of this group, Bettis probably has the best chance to break through this season.

Greene never played a down for the St. Louis version of the Rams, but he played for the Los Angeles edition from 1985 to 1992. Greene also has local ties as he hails from nearby Granite City, Ill. Like Bettis, Greene is probably more renowned for his time with the Steelers. He finished with 160 sacks, which ranked third all-time at the time of his retirement. Much like Williams, Greene will probably have his day, but it might not happen right away.

The competition to make it to Canton this year figures to be difficult. First-ballot candidates such as Seattle offensive tackle Walter Jones, Indianapolis wide receiver Marvin Harrison and Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks look to have strong cases to earn a nod this year. Giants end Michael Strahan, defensive end Charles Haley, Buffalo receiver Andre Reed and guard Will Shields are among the others with a shot to get in.

This year's crop of Rams candidates will pale in comparison to what the team figures to have in the next couple of years. Receiver Isaac Bruce, tackle Orlando Pace and quarterback Kurt Warner are due for Hall of Fame eligibility for the class of 2015, followed by receiver Torry Holt in 2016.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Eddie DeBartolo is a happy man.

Charles Haley is a finalist again for induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yes, DeBartolo is one of the 15 finalists again, but he said last month Haley's candidacy is more important to him.

Last month, I asked DeBartolo, the 49ers' former owner, about being a semifinalist. He said he'd be thrilled to be inducted, but his focus is on getting Haley, a pass-rush star, voted into the Canton, Ohio, museum. Haley has asked DeBartolo to present him if he gets inducted. They were both finalists last year.

According to some members of the voting committee, Haley probably has a better chance than DeBartolo of getting in when the vote is made Feb. 1. In addition to the 15 finalists, there are two senior committee nominations. No more than seven and no less than four of the 17 nominees will be elected.

Linebacker Kevin Greene is also a finalist. He spent some time with the 49ers at the end of his career.

Former 49ers star running back Roger Craig did not make the transition from the semifinalist list to the final 15 Thursday night.