Saturday, February 6, 2010
Five Hall enshrinees have NFC West ties
By Mike Sando
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Five of the seven members of the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame class have ties to current NFC West teams:
- 49ers receiver Jerry Rice was an obvious choice. There wasn't much discussion in the room because Rice's credentials spoke so loudly.
- Cowboys mainstay Emmitt Smith, who finished his career with the Cardinals, was another obvious choice. Again, there wasn't much discussion here.
- Former Saints linebacker Rickey Jackson, who finished his career with two strong seasons in San Francisco, broke through as a less obvious choice, beating out several other outside pass-rushers with strong credentials. Jackson started 14 games for the 49ers' 1994 Super Bowl team. He then collected 9.5 sacks in 1995 in his final season. Jackson missed only two games to injury during his 15-year career, and one of those missed games came only after a car wreck. Jackson never wore knee pads or thigh pads and he didn't even tape his ankles. I have no idea how he held up and produced at such a high level for so long.
- Defensive tackle John Randle, who earned Pro Bowl honors with Seattle after a long career in Minnesota, earned enshrinement. Randle was arguably one of the most dominant inside pass rushers in NFL history and I suspect voters couldn't ignore his staggering sack numbers in the end.
- Cardinals assistant coach Russ Grimm earned enshrinement for his work as the Redskins' best offensive lineman on the teams that won three Super Bowls under Joe Gibbs. Grimm has come close to earning enshrinement in the past. He becomes the first member of the fabled "Hogs" to earn enshrinement.
Seniors-committee nominees Floyd Little and Dick LeBeau also earned enshrinement.
Logjams at certain positions might have split votes for some candidates, particularly among wide receivers and outside pass-rushers.