“2018 Class In Session”

“2018 Class In Session”

02/27/2017
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There are many NFL Legends eligible for the Class of 2018 but there is a solid group of eligible players, who have waited five years for their chance for eternity. The list includes Brian Urlacher, Ray Lewis and Randy Moss. The Pro Football Hall of Fame reached out exclusively to all NFL Legends and compiled some of the background to get the fans up to speed.

RANDY MOSS

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The Pro Football Hall of Fame may see two former Minnesota Vikings' stars in 2018, as legends Randy Moss and Steve Hutchinson are now both eligible for the honor. 

Moss, who has gone on to a successful media career with ESPN, is no guarantee as a first-ballot Hall of Famer, despite one of the most dominant careers at the wide receiver position in NFL history. 

Here's what ESPN's Ben Goessling had to say about Moss:

"Moss ranks second in NFL history in receiving touchdowns, third in receiving yards, tied for fourth in overall touchdowns and 15th in receptions. But as seen this year with Terrell Owens and other receivers like Tim Brown, Andre Reed, Cris Carter and Lynn Swann (14 years) had to wait for years before hearing their names called."

There's an argument to be made that none of those receivers was as dominant, or did more to change the nature of defenses in the NFL, than Moss at his peak; the Green Bay Packers used the first three picks of their 1999 draft on defensive backs after Moss burned them twice in his rookie season, and the rise of the Tampa-2 scheme can be attributed, in some ways, to teams looking for a way to keep Moss from getting downfield. As the proceedings take place in the town where Moss crafted the bulk of his legacy, his candidacy figures to be one of the more intriguing cases in the 2018 class.

STEVE HUTCHINSON

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Hutchinson played for the Vikings for six season before heading to Seattle, however was one of the most dominant offensive linemen in the NFL during his career. 

Hutchinson, who was named to two All-Pro teams and played in his only Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks before coming to the Vikings, made four more Pro Bowls and three more All-Pro teams in his six seasons with Minnesota, starting 89 of a possible 96 games for the Vikings. The Pro Football Hall of Fame named Hutchinson to its first-team all-decade squad for the 2000s.

BRIAN URLACHCER

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Urlacher totaled 1,229 tackles, 41.5 sacks and 22 interceptions in a career that restored the tradition of what it means to play middle linebacker in Soldier Field. Whether his numbers are enough to make him a first-ballot inductee is up for debate.

He was named first team All Pro four times. He was also the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. He was also named a part of the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade team.

The middle linebacker racked up numerous accolades as the face of the Chicago Bears for more than a decade, including the 2000 Defensive Rookie of the Year award, the 2005 AP Defensive Player of the Year award and eight Pro Bowl selections. He also helped the franchise reach Super Bowl XLI in 2007.

RONDE BARBER

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Buccaneers greats Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks are already there and John Lynch is very close, so the next man up is Ronde Barber. Let’s take a look at Barber’s career and make the case for the Hall in his first year of eligibility.

Entering his first year of eligibility Ronde Barber has a solid chance at making the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018. John Lynch has failed to make it the past two elections but he’s gotten closer each year. Lynch and Barber were crucial parts of the secondary of the dominant early 2000s defense. While Lynch still has a shot at the hall with his own skill set, Ronde Barber needs to be remembered as a prominent figure in the creation of the nickel corner position.

With Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks as the focal points of the defense the Buccaneers were consistently strong teams for Ronde’s early career. Barber’s first full season as a starter was in 2000 when he had new career bests with 97 tackles, 20 passes deflected, and 5.5 sacks.  Barber was NFC defensive player of the week for the first time in his career in week two with 2.5 sacks and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown, the first of his career. In 2001 Barber made his first All-Pro and Pro Bowl teams recording ten interceptions.

Ronde Barber is known for being an iron man at his position, starting every game for 13 straight seasons. With the 224 games started, 209 as a corner, no other defensive back has reached the 200 mark since. Barber is also fourth in NFL history with 14 non-offensive touchdowns.

In his career Ronde is one of two players to have 40 interceptions and 20 sacks, the other is future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson. With five Pro-Bowl and five All-Pro Selections Barber had a spectacular career. Leading the entire NFL with ten interceptions in 2001 Barber was also a member of the NFL all decade team for the 2000s. Finishing his career with 47 interceptions, 28 sacks, and 1,028 tackles the numbers are comparable to corners already in the Hall of Fame.

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