Class of 2004 Finalists

01/14/2004

Bob Brown | Harry Carson | Richard Dent | Carl Eller | John Elway
Cliff Harris | Bob Hayes | Lester Hayes | Bob Kuechenberg | Jim Marshall
Art Monk | Barry Sanders | Rayfield Wright | George Young | Gary Zimmerman

Click on photo or "EXTENDED BIO" link for detailed biography, career statistics, and highlights of finalist.

 Win a trip to this August's enshrinement in our Predict the Class of 2004 Contest>>>

 15 Finalists by Year, 1970-2004

BOB BROWN

Tackle. . .6-4, 280. . .Nebraska. . .1964-1968 Philadelphia Eagles, 1969-1970 Los Angeles Rams, 1971-1973 Oakland Raiders. . .10 seasons, 126 games. . .Eagles' first-round draft pick (2nd player overall), 1964 NFL Draft. . .Also Denver Broncos first- round pick (first player overall), 1964 AFL Draft. . .Named college football's "Lineman of the Year" by Washington Touchdown Club. . .An aggressive blocker, he used his size and strength to neutralize pass rushers. . .Possessed great quickness, strength, and self-confidence. . .Knee injury suffered in 1967 bothered him through much of career, but continued to excel. . .Was traded to Los Angeles in 1969, after four all-league seasons with Eagles. . .That year Rams offensive line set an NFL record for protecting the passer. . .Named All-NFL seven of 10 seasons (1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972). . .Named second-team All-NFL two of three years he didn't make first-team (1964, 1967). . .Named NFL/NFC offensive lineman of the year three times. . .Chosen to play in six Pro Bowls - three with Eagles, two with Rams, and one with Raiders. . .Born December 8, 1941 in Cleveland, Ohio.

 EXTENDED BIO>>>

HARRY CARSON

Linebacker . . .6-2, 237. . .South Carolina State. . .1976-1988 New York Giants. . .13 seasons, 173 games. . .Giants' fourth-round draft pick (105th player overall), 1976 NFL Draft. . . Defensive end in college . . .Became Giants' starting middle linebacker halfway through rookie season. . .Earned All-Rookie honors. . .Led Giants defenders in tackles five seasons. . .Had career-high performance in 1982 vs. Green Bay, 20 solo tackles and five assists. . .Ferocious run stopper whose 14 career fumble recoveries ranks second in Giants' record book. . .Known for his aggressive pursuit, he recorded 11 career interceptions. . .Was a part of the famed Giants linebacker trio of Carson, Lawrence Taylor, and Carl Banks. . .A big-play performer, his interception and 12 tackles vs. Redskins in 1986 virtually assured Giants of NFC East title. . .Made key goal line stand play in Super Bowl XXI when he stopped Broncos running back for no gain. . .Selected to play in nine Pro Bowls, including seven straight (1982-1988). . .All-Pro (first-team) 1981, 1984; (second-team) 1978, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986. . .All-NFC (first-team) 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1986; (second-team) 1978, 1985. . .Born November 26, 1953, in Florence, South Carolina.

EXTENDED BIO>>>

RICHARD DENT

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 fulltime starter early in 1984. . .An intimidating player, could speed rush or power rush the quarterback. . .One of game's premier pass rushers with 137.5 career sacks. . .Recorded double-digit sacks eight times including a streak of five consecutive years (1984-1988). . .Led NFC with team record 17.5 sacks, 1984. . .Following year, led NFL with 17 sacks as an integral part of Bears dominating defense. . .Earned Super Bowl XX MVP honors following Bears lopsided 46-10 win over Patriots. . .Career statistics include 8 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.

 EXTENDED BIO>>>

CARL ELLER

Defensive End. . .6-6, 247. . .Minnesota. . .1964-1978 Minnesota Vikings, 1979 Seattle Seahawks. . .16 seasons, 225 games. . .Consensus All-America at Minnesota, 1963. . .Played in 1964 College All-Star Game. . . Drafted by both Minnesota Vikings (NFL) and Buffalo Bills (AFL). . .Became a regular as a rookie and held job for 15 seasons . . .During Eller's tenure, Vikings won 10 NFL/NFC Central Division crowns, 1969 NFL title, NFC championships in 1973, 1974, 1976, advanced to four Super Bowls. . .Major factor in this long-term success was ferocious defensive unit known as "Purple People Eaters". . .Eller anchored line at left end. . . Extremely quick, mobile. . .Excellent on rushing defense, superb pass rusher. . .Recorded 44 QB sacks in 1975, 1976, 1977 period. . .Recovered 23 opponents' fumbles, third best mark in history at time of retirement. . .Eller caused fumble that led to teammate Jim Marshall's famous wrong-way run, 1964. . .All-Pro, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973 . . All-Western Conference 1968, 1969. . .All-NFC five times . . .Selected to six Pro Bowls. . .Born February 25, 1942, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 

EXTENDED BIO>>>

JOHN ELWAY

Quarterback. . .6-3, 215. . .Stanford. . .1983-1998 Denver Broncos. . .16 seasons, 234 games. . .Selected by Baltimore Colts in first round (1st player overall) 1983 NFL Draft. . .Was immediately traded to Broncos for two veteran players and 1984 first-round pick. . .From 1983 through 1998, led his team to five victories in six AFC championship games and two Super Bowl wins . . His record 47 fourth quarter game-winning or game-tying drives are legendary. . . In 1986 AFC title game, engineered a 98-yard come-from-behind touchdown drive to tie the Cleveland Browns and send the game into overtime. . .Broncos went on to win 23-20. . .Only player in NFL history to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 200 yards in same season seven consecutive times. . .Only second quarterback in NFL history to record 40,000-plus yards passing and 3,000-plus yards rushing during career. . .Ranks second all-time in three of the game's most significant passing categories, passing yards (51,475), attempts (7,250), completions (4,123). . .Selected to nine Pro Bowls, a first- or second- team All-Pro three times, first- or second-team All-AFC five times. . .Named the NFL's Most Valuable Player, 1987, AFC Offensive Player of the Year, 1993, and Super Bowl XXXIII Most Valuable Player. . .Born June 28, 1960 in Port Angeles, Washington.

EXTENDED BIO>>>

CLIFF HARRIS

Safety. . .6-0, 188. . .Ouachita Baptist. . .1970-1979 Dallas Cowboys. . .10 seasons, 141 games. . .Undrafted, Harris was given free agent tryout after Dallas scouts watched films of tiny Ouachita Baptist University. . .Was playing semi-pro football when the Cowboys extended offer. . .Earned a starter's berth as a rookie free safety, but season interrupted by military service. . .Returned following year and regained starter's role, which he never relinquished. . .Model of consistency throughout career. . .Earned nickname "Captain Crash" for hard-hitting style of play. . .Described as "a rolling ball of butcher knives," by Hall of Fame coach George Allen. . .In addition to 29 career interceptions, also accounted for 16 opponents' fumble recoveries. . . During first half of career also utilized as punt and kickoff return specialist. . . Astute student of game, his vision and leadership on field earned him respect of teammates and opponents alike. . .Six times during 10-year career was invited to play in the Pro Bowl (1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980). . .Named first- or second-team All-Pro or All-NFC and six times. . . Born November 12, 1948 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

EXTENDED BIO>>>

BOB HAYES

Wide Receiver. . .5-11, 185. . .Florida A&M. . .1965-1974 Dallas Cowboys, 1975 San Francisco 49ers. . .11 seasons, 132 games. . .Selected as a future pick by Cowboys, seventh round, 1964 NFL Draft (88th player overall) and future choice by Denver, 14th round (105th player overall) 1964 AFL Draft. . .Won a pair of gold medals in the 1964 Olympic Games earning him the title "World's Fastest Human". . .As a rookie, his 46 receptions for 1,003 yards led all Cowboys receivers. . .His world class speed was major factor in Cowboys offensive successes. . ."Bullet Bob" terrorized defensive backs and demanded deep double coverage rarely seen in the NFL at that time. . .Often said that bump and run defense was developed to slow him down. . .Used his speed "in a football sense," rather than just trying to run fast. . .Four times was named first- or second-team All-NFL. . .. Three times led the Cowboys in receptions, including back-to-back titles in 1965-1966 when he caught a total of 110 passes for more than 2,200 yards and 25 touchdowns. . .For 11-year career, Hayes accumulated 7,414 yards and 71 touchdowns. . .His 71 career touchdown receptions remain a Cowboys' club record. . .Born December 20, 1942 in Jacksonville, Florida. . .Died September 18, 2002.

EXTENDED BIO>>>

LESTER HAYES

Cornerback. . .6-0, 200. . .Texas A&M. . .1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders. . .10 seasons, 149 games. . .Raiders' fifth-round pick (126th player overall) in 1977 NFL Draft. . . Played linebacker first two years and safety second two years at Texas A&M . . .Converted to cornerback in pros. . .Excellent in man-to-man coverage, earned a spot in starting lineup as rookie. . .A bump-and-run specialist, he recorded 39 interceptions for 572 yards and 4 TDs during 10-year career. . .Career interception total is team high, tied with Hall of Famer Willie Brown. . .At retirement, career interception yardage third best in club history . . .Four career TDs tied him for club record at retirement. . .Five-time Pro Bowl selection (1981-1985). . .Had finest statistical season in 1980 with league-leading 13 interceptions. . .Had an additional four picks nullified by penalties. . .Had five interceptions in four 1980 playoff games and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year. . .Recorded eight interceptions in 13 post-season games, 2nd in NFL history . . .Scored two touchdowns on interceptions in post-season, second most in NFL history. . .Born January 22, 1955 in Houston, Texas.

 EXTENDED BIO>>>

BOB KUECHENBERG

Guard. . .6-2, 253. . .Notre Dame. . .1970-1984 Miami Dolphins (inj. res. - 1984). . .Selected by Philadelphia Eagles in 4th 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, also 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.

EXTENDED BIO>>>

JIM MARSHALL

Defensive End. . .6-4, 248. . .Ohio State. . .1960 Cleveland Browns, 1961-1979 Minnesota Vikings. . .Selected by Browns in fourth round (44th player overall) of 1960 NFL Draft and Houston Oilers in 1960 AFL Draft. . .20 seasons, 282 games. . .Played in record 282 consecutive games. . .All-America and All-Big Ten at Ohio State. . .Played one year in CFL in 1959. . .Traded by Browns in a multi-player deal, prior to 1961 season. . . Started Vikings' opener and never missed a start thereafter during his career. . .Twice kept streak alive by walking out of hospitals - recuperating from pneumonia and ulcers. . .Frequently outsized, used competitive spirit and quick moves to compensate and outmaneuver opponents. . .Recorded NFL best 29 opponents' fumbles recovered. . . Anchored and defensive captain of line known as "Purple People Eaters" that dominated NFC Central Division during 11-year period (1968 -1978). . .During those years, captured 10 division crowns, 1969 NFL championship, 1973, 1974, 1976 NFC Championships. . .Second-team All-Pro 1969, second-team All-NFL 1964, 1968, 1969, second-team All-NFC, 1971. Selected to Pro Bowl, 1969 and 1970. . .Born December 30, 1937 in Danville, Kentucky.

 EXTENDED BIO>>>

ART MONK

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. . .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.

EXTENDED BIO>>>

BARRY SANDERS

Running Back. . .5-8, 203. . .Oklahoma State. . .1989-1998 Detroit Lions. . .10 seasons, 153 games. . . Selected by Lions in first round (3rd player overall) in 1989 NFL Draft. . .Rushed for 1,000-plus yards in each of 10 seasons, first ever to do so. . .In 1997 became third person to gain 2,000 yards in a season. . .Made pro debut just three days after signing with Lions. . .His 1,470 yards rushing during rookie season, just 10 yards short of the league's best for the year. . .Topped all ground gainers in 1990 (1,304 yards), 1994 (1,883 yards), 1996 (1,553 yards), and 1997 (2,053 yards). . .In 1997, gained 100-plus yards rushing in record 14 consecutive regular season games. . .Named league MVP, 1997. . .Capitalized on size by running low to ground making him less of a target for tacklers. . .Elusive, uncanny ability to reverse direction seemingly at will. . .First- or second-team All-Pro ten consecutive seasons. . .First running back to record five 1,500-yard rushing seasons, and only back to do so in four consecutive seasons (1994-1997). . .Named to Pro Bowl 10 times. . .Held nearly all Lions' rushing records, and numerous NFL records, at time of retirement. . .Born July 16, 1968 in Wichita, Kansas.

EXTENDED BIO>>>

RAYFIELD WRIGHT

Tackle. . .6-6, 255. . .Fort Valley State. . .1967-1979 Dallas Cowboys. . .13 seasons, 166 games. . . Selected by Cowboys in seventh round (182nd played overall) of 1967 NFL Draft. . . Raw talent, used as a tight end, defensive end, and offensive tackle during first three seasons. . .In 1969 replaced injured right tackle Ralph Neely in lineup. . .First opponent was future Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones. . .Performance against Jones good enough that before 1970 training camp, named permanent starting right tackle. . .One season later was named All-NFL. . .Known as "Big Cat," earned first- or second-team All-NFL honors six consecutive times (1971-76). . .Selected to play in Pro Bowl following each of those seasons. . .1975 season particularly impressive. . .Coming off knee surgery, many questioned whether he would even play. . .Again earned All-NFL honors. . .In 1975 postseason play faced three legendary defensive ends - Jack Youngblood, L.C. Greenwood, and Carl Eller - head on. . .Each time rose to occasion with exceptional play. . .Born August 23, 1945 in Griffin, Georgia.

EXTENDED BIO>>>

GEORGE YOUNG

General Manager/Administrator. . .Bucknell, Johns Hopkins, Loyola. . .1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League. . .Little All-America and All-East honors as a defensive tackle at Bucknell. . .General manager of Giants, rebuilt team by drafting key players such as Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor. . .Hired Bill Parcells as head coach. . .During tenure, Giants earned eight playoff berths, and victories in Super Bowls XXI, XXV. . .Prior to Young's arrival, Giants had not made playoffs since 1963. . .Was named NFL Executive of the Year unprecedented five times, 1984, 1986, 1990, 1993, 1997. . .Following 1997 season, joined NFL front office as executive vice president for football operations. . .Served as chairman of NFL Competition Committee. . . Prior to joining Giants was on staff of Baltimore Colts (1968-1974) as scout, offensive line coach, director of player personnel, offensive coordinator. . .With Miami Dolphins (1974-1978) was director of personnel and pro scouting. . .Born September 22, 1930 in Baltimore, Maryland. . .Died December 8, 2001.

EXTENDED BIO>>>

GARY ZIMMERMAN

Tackle. . .6-6, 294. . .Oregon. . .1986-1992 Minnesota Vikings, 1993-1997 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. . .Equally adept at pass blocking, Minnesota and Denver quarterbacks led their conferences in passing 1986, 1988, 1993, 1996. . .One of just handful of players to earn honor of being named to two NFL All-Decade Teams, 1980s, 1990s. . .Earned first- or second-team All-Pro honors eight times. . .Selected to play in seven Pro Bowls. . .Born December 13, 1961 in Fullerton, California.

EXTENDED BIO>>>

 

Back to news