A Browns writer evaluates the chances of Gene Hickerson, which really highlights the roadblocks that still stand in Art’s way:
Aug 29, 2006
Gene Hickerson: One Step to Go
One would think that Sanders, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, and Hickerson would be a lock for election. But when one scans the list of modern-era players, it might cause a furrowed eyebrow or two.
Up for consideration are such luminaries as Buffalo Bills running back Thurman Thomas, Dallas wide receiver Michael Irvin (who should have been elected last year), late Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas (ditto), Washington Redskins wide receiver Art Monk, Pittsburgh Steelers center Dermontti Dawson, Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Bob Kuechenberg and Minnesota Vikings/Denver Broncos offensive lineman Gary Zimmerman.
First-year eligibles include Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans offensive lineman Bruce Matthews and outgoing National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
Thomas, Irvin, Matthews and Tagliabue will get strong consideration for certain. And Monk, one of the all-time great receivers in the game, has been ignored too long.
Bear in mind that there is no guarantee the electors will choose a class of six. Until this past year, when six men were enshrined, the Hall of Fame had gone four straight years with five or less inductees (five each in 2002 and 2003; four each in 2004 and 2005).
So you can see why Hickerson’s election will not be a slam dunk.