Two first-year eligible players, wide receiver Cris Carter and cornerback Darrell Green are among the 17 finalists who will be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when the Hall’s Board of Selectors meets in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday, February 2, 2008.
Joining the two first-year eligible players, are 12 other modern-era players, one contributor and two players nominated earlier by the Hall of Fame’s Senior Committee. The contributor finalist is former National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. The Senior Committee nominees, announced in August 2007, are Chicago Cardinals back Marshall Goldberg and Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Emmitt Thomas. The other modern-era player finalists include defensive ends Fred Dean and Richard Dent; linebackers Randy Gradishar, Derrick Thomas and Andre Tippett; guards Russ Grimm, Bob Kuechenberg and Randall McDaniel; punter Ray Guy; wide receivers Art Monk and Andre Reed; and tackle Gary Zimmerman.
To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent.
Listed alphabetically, the 17 finalists with their positions, teams, and years active follow:
Cris Carter – Wide Receiver – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
Fred Dean – Defensive End – 1975-1981 San Diego Chargers, 1981-85 San Francisco 49ers
Richard Dent – Defensive End – 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
Marshall Goldberg – Back – 1939-1943, 1946-48 Chicago Cardinals
Randy Gradishar – Linebacker – 1974-1983 Denver Broncos
Darrell Green – Cornerback – 1983-2002 Washington Redskins
Russ Grimm – Guard – 1981-1991 Washington Redskins
Ray Guy – Punter – 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Bob Kuechenberg – Guard – 1970-1984 Miami Dolphins
Randall McDaniel – Guard – 1988-1999 Minnesota Vikings, 2000-2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Art Monk – Wide Receiver – 1980-1993 Washington Redskins, 1994 New York Jets, 1995 Philadelphia Eagles
Andre Reed – Wide Receiver – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
Paul Tagliabue – Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League
Derrick Thomas – Linebacker – 1989-1999 Kansas City Chiefs
Emmitt Thomas – Cornerback – 1966-1978 Kansas City Chiefs
Andre Tippett – Linebacker – 1982-1993 New England Patriots
Gary Zimmerman – Tackle – 1986-1992 Minnesota Vikings, 1993-97 Denver Broncos
Dean, Dent, Goldberg, Gradishar, Grimm, Guy, Kuechenberg, Monk, Reed, Tagliabue, Derrick Thomas, Tippett, and Zimmerman have all been finalists in previous years. Although they have been previously eligible, this is the first time Emmitt Thomas and McDaniel have made the finalist list.
From this year’s list, nine players – Goldberg, Gradishar, Green, Grimm, Guy, Kuechenberg, Derrick Thomas, Emmitt Thomas, and Tippett – spent their entire NFL career with just one team.
Goldberg and Emmitt Thomas were selected as senior candidates by the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee at their August 2007 meeting. The Seniors Committee reviews the qualifications of those players whose careers took place more than 25 years ago. The remaining 15 modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall’s 44-member Board of Selectors from a list of 124 preliminary nominees that earlier was reduced to a list of 26 semifinalists (that included a tie for the 25th semifinalist position). To be eligible for election, modern-era players and coaches must be retired at least five years while a contributor need not be retired.
The Board of Selectors will meet in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday, February 2, 2008, to elect the Hall of Fame Class of 2008.
At the 2008 election meeting, the selectors will thoroughly discuss the careers of each finalist before narrowing the field to seven candidates. At least four candidates must be elected but the total class cannot number more than seven.
Of the 2008 finalists, Goldberg has been eligible for 46 years (the Hall of Fame opened in 1963, at which time Goldberg would have been first eligible), Emmitt Thomas 25 years, Gradishar 20, Kuechenberg 19, Dean 18 years, Guy 17, Grimm 12, Tippett 10, Monk eight years, Dent and Zimmerman six years, Derrick Thomas four years, Reed three years, McDaniel two years, and Carter and Green are in their first year of eligibility. Contributors, such as Tagliabue, need not to be retired to be considered for Hall of Fame election. Therefore there is no specific year at which he first became “eligible” for consideration.
The Class of 2008 will be announced at a press conference at 2:30 p.m. (MT) on Saturday, February 2, at the Super Bowl media center in the Phoenix Convention Center.
Representatives of the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche will tabulate all votes during the meeting. At the press conference, they will present Hall of Fame President/Executive Director Steve Perry with an envelope containing the names of the nominees elected. The Hall will contact each new member immediately after the announcement. Members of the Class of 2008 in Phoenix for the Super Bowl will be invited to the press conference. Those not able to attend will be asked to join via teleconference.
The Enshrinement of the Class of 2008 will take place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, on Saturday, August 2, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. ET. The Enshrinement Ceremony will be televised live by both ESPN and the NFL Network. The annual Hall of Fame Game will be played on Sunday, August 3, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. and broadcast live by NBC. Teams have not yet been announced.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, designated by The American Bus Association as one of the Top 100 Events in North America in 2008, is a multi-day celebration of the enshrinement of the newest Hall of Fame Class. Held in Canton each year, the festival includes 15 special public events and culminates with the Enshrinement Ceremony and NFL Hall of Fame Game. Two other major events are the Enshrinees Dinner (Friday, August 1), and the Enshrinees GameDay Roundtable (Sunday, August 3). It is at the Enshrinees Dinner where each member of the Class of 2008 will be presented his gold Pro Football Hall of Fame Jacket. At the GameDay Roundtable, the members of the Class of 2008 will be featured center stage to share memories of the game and their personal feelings about being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Ticket information for the Enshrinement Ceremony, NFL Hall of Fame Game and the other Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival events can be found here.
CLASS OF 2008 FINALISTS
Wide Receiver. . .6-3, 202. . .Ohio State. . .1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins. . .16 seasons, 234 games. . .Selected by Philadelphia in the fourth round of the 1987 Supplemental Draft. . .First reception as a pro was a 22-yard touchdown catch. . .Durable; he played a full 16-game season in 13 of his 16 seasons. . .In 2000, became only the second player in NFL history to catch 1,000 career passes. . .Recorded 1,000 receiving yards in a season eight straight years. . .Broke the 100-yard receiving plateau 42 times during his career. . .Ranks second on the NFL's all-time list for total receptions (1,101) and receiving touchdowns (130). . .His 130 TD receptions came from 13 different passers. . .Caught 70-plus passes in 10 seasons. . .His 122 receptions in 1994 was a then-NFL single-season-record. . .Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s and received the 1999 NFL Man of the Year Award. . .In 2002, returned to the field when he joined the Miami Dolphins in midseason when injuries decimated team’s receiving corps. . .Was first- or second-team All-Pro 1994, 1995, and 1999. . .Selected to play in eight Pro Bowls (1994-2001). . .Born November 25, 1965, in Troy, Ohio. BIO>>>
Defensive End. . .6-3, 230. . .Louisiana Tech. . .1975-1981 San Diego Chargers, 1981-1985 San Francisco 49ers. . .11 seasons, 141 games. . .Selected by San Diego in the second round (33rd player overall) in 1975 NFL Draft . . .A linebacker in college immediately moved to defensive line with the Chargers. . .Quickness, speed, strength made him a feared pass rusher. . .As a rookie, recorded seven sacks, 93 tackles (63 solo, 30 assists), four fumble recoveries. . .Career sack total near 100, but unofficial since sacks were not an official NFL statistic until 1982. . . Unofficially recorded 15.5 sacks in 1978, nine in 1979, and 10.5 in 1980. . .Contributed 12 sacks in 11 games with the 49ers in 1981. . .Had career best 17.5 sacks in 1983, including a then-NFL record six sacks in one game, Nov. 13 vs. New Orleans Saints. . .Played on six division winners (in 1981 he played on both the Chargers and 49ers division winners), and two Super Bowl Championship teams (Super Bowl XVI and Super Bowl XIX). . .Named All-Pro in 1980 and 1981, All-AFC in 1979 and 1980, All-NFC in 1981 and 1983. . .Selected to play in four Pro Bowls (1980, 1981, 1982, and 1984). . .Born February 24, 1952 in Arcadia, Louisiana. BIO>>>
Defensive End. . .6-5, 265. . .Tennessee State. . .1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles. . .15 seasons, 203 games. . .Selected by Chicago in eighth round (203rd player overall) of 1983 NFL Draft. . .Played in every game as rookie. . .Became full-time starter early in 1984, beginning a 10-year period in which he recorded 10 or more sacks in eight of 10 seasons. . .An intimidating player, could speed rush or power rush the quarterback. . .Twice, once in 1984 and again in 1987, recorded 4.5 sacks in a game, both vs. Raiders. . .One of game’s premier pass rushers with 137.5 career sacks, which at time of retirement third all-time best. . .Recorded double-digit sacks eight times including streak of five consecutive years (1984-88). . .Led NFC with team record 17.5 sacks, 1984. . .Following year, led NFL with 17 sacks as an integral part of Bears dominating defense. . .His three tackles, 1.5 sacks, one pass defensed and two forced fumbles earned him Super Bowl XX MVP honors following Bears lopsided 46-10 win over Patriots. . .Career statistics include eight interceptions (one touchdown), a safety, and fumble recovery for a touchdown. . .Named first- or second-team All-Pro four times, All-NFC five times. . .Selected to play in four Pro Bowls (1985, 1986, 1991, 1994). . .Born December 13, 1960 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Halfback. . .5-11, 190. . .Pittsburgh. . .1939-1943, 1946-48 Chicago Cardinals. . .8 playing seasons, 77 games. . . Career interrupted by two years of military service during WW II. . .A two-time All-America pick at the University of Pittsburgh. . .Drafted in the second round (12th player overall) of the 1939 NFL Draft. . .Played offense and defense throughout career and as a kick returner during four seasons. . .An integral part of the team’s 1947 NFL championship. . .An effective runner on offense, was known for his explosive running style. . .Was one of the best defensive players of his day. . .Considered by many to be the first defensive specialist. . .Known for his consistently strong play against league’s best ends, including future Hall of Famer Don Hutson. . .Led the NFL in interceptions 1941. . .Led the NFL in kickoff returns, 1941, 1942. . .Known as “Biggie” and “Mad Marshall,” for his hard, all-out style of play. . .Named second-team All-NFL as a two-way player in 1941 and All-NFL as a defensive back, 1947. . . Born October 25, 1917 in Elkins, West Virginia. . .Died April 3, 2006, at age of 88.
Linebacker. . .6-3, 233. . .Ohio State. . .1974-1983 Denver Broncos. . .10 seasons, 145 games. . .Broncos’ first-round pick (14th player overall) in 1974 draft. . .Foundation upon which Broncos built “Orange Crush” defense. . . Dominant player, caught national attention when he returned interception 44 yards for TD during nationally televised game, 1975. . .Key to Broncos defense that held opponents to AFC-best average 10 points per game, 1977. . .That year team finished 12-2, advanced to Super Bowl XII. . .In 1978, behind “Orange Crush” defense team captured AFC Western Division crown. . . Broncos all-time leader in tackles (2,049). . .Never missed game, played in 145 consecutive matches. . .Led Broncos defenders in tackles nine consecutive years. . .Accounted for 33 turnovers during career, 20 interceptions, 13 fumble recoveries. . .Returned interception 93 yards for TD against Browns, 1980. . .Twice voted defensive MVP by teammates, 1978 and 1980. . .Named to seven Pro Bowls. . .All-Pro five straight seasons, 1977-1981. . .All-AFC 1977-79, 1981-82. . .Defensive Player of the Year in 1978. . .Born March 3, 1952 in Warren, Ohio.
Cornerback. . .5-8, 176. . .Texas A&I. . .1983-2002 Washington Redskins. . .20 seasons, 295 games. . .Selected in first round (28th player overall) in 1983 NFL Draft. . .Holds NFL record with at least one interception in 19 consecutive seasons. . .Career interception totals: 54 interceptions for 621 yards, 6 TDs. . .Tied for first on NFL all-time list for most consecutive seasons with one team (20). . .Set career-highs of three INTs vs. Detroit (11/15/87) and 12 tackles vs. Detroit (10/22/95). . .Had career-best five INTs in three different seasons: 1984, 1986, 1991 . . .Returned fumble 78 yards for a score vs. the Colts (10/7/93), longest fumble return in Redskins history. . . Returned an INT 83 yards for TD vs. Eagles (12/21/97), longest return of his career. . .Returned six interceptions for TDs. . .Also returned 51 punts for 611 yards. . .Returned punt 52 yards for a TD in NFC Divisional Playoff Game (1/10/88). . .Jarred the ball from Minnesota’s Darrin Nelson on a fourth-down pass at the goal line late in the NFC championship (1/17/88), securing the Redskins 17-10 victory. . .Tied for second all-time for most interceptions returned for touchdowns in playoffs with two. . .A member of the 1990s All-Decade Team. . . Selected to play in seven Pro Bowls. . .Named All-Pro 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991. . .Born February 15, 1960 in Houston, Texas.
Guard. . .6-3, 273. . .Pittsburgh. . .1981-1991 Washington Redskins. . .11 seasons, 140 games. . .Selected in third round (69th player overall) in 1981 NFL Draft. . .Originally pegged to play center, moved to left guard as rookie. . . Immediate starter on line that earned nickname "The Hogs". . .Teaming with tackle Joe Jacoby, formed perhaps most punishing side of an offensive line in football at the time. . .With Grimm’s speed and strength, Redskins rode success of dominating running attack to victory in Super Bowl XVII in which John Riggins rushed for then-record 166 yards. . .During playoff run that year, team averaged 152 yards rushing. . .Following 1983 season, Grimm was selected to first of four straight Pro Bowls. . .Also marked start of four consecutive years (1983-86) of All-Pro recognition. . .Also named All-NFC in each of those seasons. . .In 1987 moved to center and started five games before being sidelined until season finale with knee injury. . .Missed 11 games in 1988 with knee injury. . . Appeared in five NFC championship games and four Super Bowls including wins in Super Bowls XVII, XXII, XXVI. . . Elected to NFL's 1980s All-Decade Team. . .Born May 2, 1959 in Scottdale, Pennsylvania.
Punter…6-3, 195. . .Southern Mississippi. . .1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders. . .14 seasons, 207 games. . . All-America, nation’s top collegiate punter, 1972. . .First punter ever to be selected in first round, Raiders 1973 (23rd player overall). . .Became impact player from very first game as a rookie. . .Averaged under 40 yards only one season in NFL career. . .Had best average (45.3 yards) as rookie. . .Led NFL in punting, 1974, 1975, 1977. . . Had only three of 1,049 punts blocked. . .Career average was 42.4 yards. . .Had 619 punts without a block, 1979-1986. . .Veteran of 22 postseason games, adding 111 punts for 42.4 average. . .All-Pro six straight seasons, 1973-1978. . .All-AFC seven times. . .Played in seven Pro Bowls, including six straight from 1974 to 1979. . .Played in seven AFC championship games, Super Bowls XI, XV, XVIII. . .Three-game Super Bowl totals: 14 punts, 41.9-yard average. . .Had 57 punts inside 20-yard line, 1984-1985. . .First punter to hit Louisiana Superdome scoreboard, 1977 Pro Bowl. . .Doubled as Raiders’ emergency quarterback with strong, accurate passing arm. . .Born December 22, 1949, in Swainsboro, Georgia.
Guard. . .6-2, 253. . .Notre Dame. . .1970-1984 Miami Dolphins (inj. res. - 1984). . .Selected by Philadelphia Eagles in fourth round (80th player overall) of 1969 AFL-NFL Draft. . .15 seasons, 196 games. . .Spent 1984 season on injured reserve. . .Released by both the Eagles and Atlanta Falcons. . .Played semi-pro football before signing as free agent with Miami Dolphins in 1970. . .Highly competitive and driven to succeed, played in more regular season games (196) than any other player in Dolphins history at the time of his retirement. . .Also only player to play in all 19 playoff games in franchise’s history at that time. . .A versatile player, spent time at tackle and center positions. . .In 1978 played eight games at guard and seven at tackle, earning Pro Bowl spot at guard and Sporting News All-AFC honors at tackle. . .In 1977 suffered a pair of fractures in back in August but returned to lineup after missing just two regular season starts. . .Named to six Pro Bowls (1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1983, 1984). . .All-Pro 1975, 1978; All-AFC 1974, 1975, 1978; All-Pro Second Team 1975, 1977, 1978. . .Had memorable performance in Super Bowl VII victory. . .Born October 14, 1947 in Gary, Indiana.
Guard. . .6-3, 276. . .Arizona State. . .1988-1999 Minnesota Vikings, 2000-01 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. . .14 seasons, 222 games. . .Selected by the Vikings in first round (19th player overall) of 1988 NFL Draft. . .Played in all 16 games as rookie, starting 15. . .Earned all-Rookie honors. . .Started in 13 consecutive playoff games with the Vikings. . .Started in 202 consecutive games before retiring. . .Possessed uncanny ability to either finesse block or overpower opponents. . .Led Vikings offensive line that held opponents to a sack every 22.7 attempts (1994), and every 21.3 attempts in 1998. . .Blocked for six 1,000-yard rushers and five 3,000-yard passers during career . . .With McDaniel leading the offensive line, team captured NFC Central Division titles in 1989, 1992, 1994, and 1998. . .Anchored offensive line of explosive Vikings team that led league with then-record 556 points in 1998. . . Named All-Pro nine consecutive times (1990-98). . .Selected to play in a record 12 consecutive AFC-NFC Pro Bowls (1990-2001). . .Born December 19, 1964 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Wide Receiver. . .6-3, 210. . .Syracuse. . .1980-1993 Washington Redskins, 1994 New York Jets, 1995 Philadelphia Eagles. . .16 seasons, 224 games. . .Selected by Washington in first round (18th player overall) of 1980 NFL Draft . . .Prototype for today’s bigger, stronger receivers. . .Caught 58 passes as a rookie and was unanimous All-Rookie choice. . .Had 50 or more receptions in a season nine times. . .Gained 1,000 or more receiving yards in a season five times. . .Set then-NFL records for catches in a season (106), most consecutive games with at least one reception (164), and career receptions (820). . .Finished career with 940 catches. . .A strong receiver, especially effective over the middle in traffic, made the “dodge pattern” his signature play. . .Had finest season in 1984, catching eight or more passes in six games, five games of 100-plus receiving yards, and in one game caught 10 passes for 200 yards. . .Named Redskins 1984 Most Valuable Player. . .First Redskin to produce three consecutive 1,000 receiving yard seasons. . .A three-time Pro Bowl selection, was All-Pro choice in 1984 and 1985. . .First- or second-team All-NFC three times. . .Born December 5, 1957 in White Plains, New York.
Wide Receiver. . .6-2, 190. . .Kutztown. . .1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins. . .16 seasons, 234 games. . .Selected by Buffalo in fourth round (86th player overall) of 1985 NFL Draft. . .Most prolific receiver in Buffalo Bills history. . .His 941 career receptions still Bills record and 266 more than number two on that list. . .His 13,095 career reception yardage, 36 games with 100-plus receiving yards, and 15 catches in a game are current team records. . .Known for his “yards after catch”. . .His 951 career receptions were third all-time in NFL history at the time of his retirement. . .His 13 seasons, including nine consecutive, with 50-plus receptions is exceeded only by Jerry Rice. . .Reed is tied with Bills running back Thurman Thomas for team best career touchdowns (87), most on passes from Jim Kelly. . .Kelly-Reed tandem held NFL record for career receptions (663) until 2004 when eclipsed by Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison. . .Known for toughness as he made most of his receptions over the middle. . .A four-time All-AFC choice and three-time All-NFL second team, was selected to play in seven consecutive Pro Bowls (1989-1995). . .Added an additional 85 catches for 1,229 yards, including five 100-yard games in postseason play. . .Born January 29, 1964 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Commissioner. . .Georgetown, New York University. . .1989-2006 National Football League. . .During tenure, NFL grew to unparalleled heights. . .By a wide margin, NFL with its competitive equity is considered nation’s most popular sport. . .Committed to a “league think” philosophy, his leadership enabled NFL to address several key priorities. . .The league expanded to 32 teams. . .Nearly two decades of labor peace with the NFL Players Association. . .League supported some 20 new stadium construction projects. . .Established NFL as a global brand with operations in overseas markets. . .Was first league to operate on a weekly basis on two separate continents . . .Created a league-wide internet network and subscriber-based NFL TV Network. . .Secured largest TV contracts in entertainment history totaling some $25 billion. . .Before becoming league’s CEO, represented NFL as attorney . . .Served in office of U.S. Secretary of Defense as policy analyst. . .Currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. . .Born November 24, 1940 in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Linebacker. . .6-3, 243. . .Alabama. . .1989-1999 Kansas City Chiefs. . .11 seasons, 169 games. . .Selected in the first round (4th player overall) in 1989 NFL Draft. . .Consensus All-America. . .Amassed 10 sacks and 75 tackles to earn Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. . .In 1990 recorded league-leading and team record 20 sacks; including NFL record seven sacks in game vs. Seahawks. . .Also recorded six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 63 tackles, five pass deflections, 35 quarterback pressures and was named to first of nine Pro Bowls. . .No player amassed more sacks during 1990s than 116.5 by Thomas. . .Finished career with 126.5 sacks; fourth highest total by linebacker in NFL history. . .Had 10 or more sacks in a season seven times; recorded multi-sack games 27 times. . .Forced 45 fumbles, had 19 fumble recoveries, scored four touchdowns on fumble returns and added three safeties during career. . .Lone interception came in final season. . .Member of NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s . . .All-NFL three times. . .Named first-team All-AFC seven times during eight-year stretch (1989-1996). . .In 11 years Thomas anchored defense, Chiefs finished first or second in AFC West ten times, made seven playoff appearances, won three division titles. . .Born January 1, 1967 in Miami, Florida. . .Died February 8, 2000, at age of 33.
Cornerback. . .6-2, 192. . .Bishop. . .1966-1978 Kansas City Chiefs. . .13 seasons, 181 games. . .Joined the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent from Bishop College in Dallas, Texas. . .One of finest cornerbacks of his era. . .Ranks ninth all-time in interceptions with 58, which is fourth all-time best by a pure cornerback and is Chiefs all-time record. . .Led NFL with team-record 12 interceptions in 1974 - two shy of NFL all-time record. . .Two of his 1974 interceptions went for touchdowns. . .His 38-yard score helped seal an opening day victory over the New York Jets, then a 73-yarder in season closer vs. Minnesota proved to be longest of his career and seventh longest in Kansas City history at time of his retirement. . .Led AFL with nine picks in 1969 and added three more during playoffs including interception in Chiefs Super Bowl IV win over the Vikings. . .Returned five interceptions for TDs during career. . .Led the Chiefs in interceptions in 1969, 1971, 1973, 1974, and 1975. . .His 937 return yards on 58 INTs is team record. . .Selected to play in five Pro Bowls, was first- or second-team All-AFL/AFC 1969, 1970, 1971, 1974, 1975, first- or second-team All-NFL 1971, 1974, 1975. . .Born June 3, 1943 in Angleton, Texas.
Linebacker. . .6-3, 240. . .Iowa; Ellsworth (IA) Junior College. . .1982-1993 New England Patriots. . .11 seasons, 151 games. . .Selected in the second round (41st player overall) 1982 NFL Draft. . .Used primarily on special teams in strike-shortened rookie season. . .Earned starter’s role following season. . .In 1984 established team record 18.5 sacks and earned first of five consecutive (1985-89) Pro Bowl selections. . .Was a factor in team’s success that led to first Super Bowl (SB XX) appearance. . .That season (1985) led AFC with 16.5 sacks (2nd in NFL), had three forced fumbles, recovered three fumbles, returned one for a 25-yard TD, earning AFC Defensive Player of the Year honors. . .Began 1986 season with 9.5 sacks before injury sidelined him for five games following surgery. . .Returned for final two games of season and one postseason game. . .Even in shortened season, still earned Pro Bowl, All-AFC, and All-Pro second team honors. . .In 1987 had AFC-leading 12.5 sacks, team-best three fumble recoveries (one returned for TD), blocked a field goal that was returned by teammate for 71-yard TD. . . Missed four games in 1988 and entire 1989 season due to injuries. . .Remained a dominant player through final four seasons. . .At time of retirement, his 100 career sacks, 18.5 sacks in a season, 17 opponent fumbles recovered were team bests. . .Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1980s. . .Born December 27, 1959 in Birmingham, Alabama.
Tackle. . .6-6, 294. . .Oregon. . .1986-1992 Minnesota Vikings, 1993-97 Denver Broncos. . .12 seasons, 184 games. . .Selected in first round (3rd player overall) 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft. . . Originally selected by Giants, signing rights traded to Vikings for two second-round picks in 1986 draft. . .Spent two seasons with the L.A. Express of failed USFL before reporting to Vikings. . .After joining Vikings, began streak of 169 consecutive starts that lasted until 1996 when surgery sidelined him. . .Anchored offensive line that helped Vikings lead NFC in rushing, 1991. . .Acquired by Broncos in trade prior to start of 1993 season. . .With Zimmerman blocking, Broncos recorded most successful offensive output in franchise history. . .Led AFC in total combined yards, 1995. . .Led NFL in that category, 1996, 1997. . .Broncos also led NFL in rushing, 1996. . .Had a streak of 169 consecutive starts before being sidelined with shoulder surgery. . .Equally adept at pass blocking, Minnesota and Denver quarterbacks led their conferences in passing 1986, 1988, 1993, and 1996. . .One of just handful of players to earn honor of being named to two NFL All-Decade Teams, 1980s, 1990s. . .NFL Lineman of the Year in 1987. . .Earned first- or second-team All-Pro honors eight times. . .Selected to play in seven Pro Bowls. . .Born December 13, 1961 in Fullerton, California.