Road to Canton (via South Florida)

11/11/2009

On the day before Super Bowl XLIV in South Florida next February, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Board of Selectors will meet to hold its annual selection meeting to elect between four and seven individuals who will comprise the Class of 2010. The 44-person committee will debate the merits of 17 final candidates. Two of those finalists are this year’s senior nominees, former Detroit Lions defensive back Dick LeBeau and Denver Broncos running back Floyd Little.

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The other 15 finalists will be selected from the initial list of 131 preliminary modern-era nominees that was announced on September 19. The selection process calls for a reduction to 25 semifinalists in November before the finalists are determined in January.

Between now and Thanksgiving Weekend, Profootballhof.com will profile the groups of players who comprise this list of nominees for the 2010 class.


THIS WEEK:

Linebackers

NEXT WEEK: Defensive backs

PREVIOUS WEEKS: 
First-Year Eligibles | QBs | Special teams, Coaches & Contributors | Defensive Linemen | Running Backs | Offensive Linemen

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Five of the 18 linebackers who are enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame have been elected in the past 10 years. That includes former Kansas City Chiefs’ Derrick Thomas, posthumously last year, and Andre Tippett of the New England Patriots in 2008.

The list of modern-era nominees for the Class of 2010 includes 13 linebackers. It may be a long road for the group if they expect to join Thomas, Tippett, and the others in Canton. Not one of the linebackers under consideration for 2010 has ever become a finalist for the Hall of Fame.

However, two of the names on the list have made the cut-down to 25 semifinalists since that reduction vote was added to the process in 2004. The reduction to semifinalists in 2010 is set for Saturday, November 28.

Greene led the NFL in sacks twice, once as a Steeler and one time while with the Panthers.

Kevin Greene has been a semifinalist in each of the past three years. A five-time Pro Bowler, Greene also played defensive end during his 15-year NFL career with the Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers, and San Francisco 49ers. The other linebacker who has moved beyond the list of preliminary nominees is former Saints’ star Rickey Jackson. He was a semifinalist for the Class of 2008.

Here’s a closer look at the 13 linebackers receiving consideration for 2010 and how they stack up against each other.

Cornelius Bennett – 1987-1995 Buffalo Bills, 1996-98 Atlanta Falcons, 1999-2000 Indianapolis Colts

Matt Blair – 1974-1985 Minnesota Vikings

Kevin Greene – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers

Ken Harvey – 1988-1993 Phoenix Cardinals, 1994-98 Washington Redskins

Rickey Jackson – 1981-1993 New Orleans Saints, 1994-95 San Francisco 49ers

Rod Martin – 1977-1988 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Clay Matthews – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons

Karl Mecklenburg – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos

Sam Mills – 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers

Hardy Nickerson – 1987-1992 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1993-99 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2000-01 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Green Bay Packers

Chris Spielman – 1988-1995 Detroit Lions, 1996-97 Buffalo Bills

Pat Swilling – 1986-1992 New Orleans Saints, 1993-94 Detroit Lions, 1995-96, 1998 Oakland Raiders

Darryl Talley – 1983-1994 Buffalo Bills, 1995 Atlanta Falcons, 1996 Minnesota Vikings

Linebacker Nominees for 2010 Election
 
Player Years Int All-Pro All-Conf. Pro Bowls Div. Conf. League
Cornelius Bennett 14 7 3 3 5 8 5 0
Matt Blair 12 16 1 5 6 6 2 0
Kevin Greene 15 5 2 2 5 5 1 0
Ken Harvey 11 1 0 2 4 0 0 0
Rickey Jackson 15 8 4 4 6 3 1 1
Rod Martin 12 14 3 2 2 3 2 2
Clay Matthews 19 16 1 1 4 5 0 0
Karl Mecklenburg 12 5 4 5 6 5 3 0
Sam Mills 12 11 3 3 5 2 0 0
Hardy Nickerson 16 12 2 3 5 3 0 0
Chris Spielman 10 6 2 1 4 2 0 0
Pat Swilling 12 6 2 2 5 2 0 0
Darryl Talley 14 12 2 2 2 5 4 0

 


Recent Comments
  • Rick S - September 03 2011 05:09 PM

    Clay Matthews finally needs to be enshrined. Oldest person to ever record a sack at over 40. 19 seasons.. All Pro.. All Conf.. Pro Bowls.. Workman like attitude. Matthews was a beast for 19 years!

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  • Anthony Marck - February 23 2010 01:04 PM

    Cornelius Bennett deserves to be a Hall of Famer period!

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  • Rich - February 07 2010 09:33 PM

    I'd like to know how does Joe Klecko get consideration. He is the only player to go to the pro bowl as DE, NT & DT. He was a key to the success of the Jets awesome defense of the 80's

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