The Buffalo News
October 20, 2006
Hall of Fame puts receivers in a delay pattern
Question: Since you’re on the Hall of Fame voters committee, do you have any picks or insight into who are some of the front-runners for the class of 2007? – Mike Bourg, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Answer: Thurman Thomas was very close to getting elected last year in his first year of eligibility. Nothing is ever a lock when it comes to Hall of Fame voting, but Thomas should get elected this year. The top first-year eligible player probably is Oilers offensive lineman Bruce Matthews. The top candidates of those who made the final 15 last year are Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin, Redskins receiver Art Monk and Chiefs pass rusher Derrick Thomas. The two senior candidates are Lions tight end Charlie Sanders and Browns guard Gene Hickerson. Sanders is a lock in my eyes. Hickerson is deserving, but I think Dolphins guard Bob Kuechenberg is more deserving. We’ll see how that plays out.
The voters continue to be reluctant to vote for contributors, but Ralph Wilson should be in the Hall. He has stood up for everything that is right in the game and arguably been the conscience of the NFL for his entire 47-year career. Hopefully he can get to the final 15 again. Andre Reed is a Hall of Famer. But receivers generally take longer to get in than other positions. I get lots of e-mails from Bills fans about Steve Tasker. A strong case can be made for him as the best special teams player ever. But I have to push for Wilson, Thomas and Reed ahead of Tasker. Only one special teamer (Jan Stenerud) ever has made the Hall. Tasker probably has to wait awhile to have a more serious shot at the final 15.