guard Gene Hickerson and tight end Charlie Sanders have been selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee as finalists for election into the Hall of Fame with the Class of 2007.
Hickerson and Sanders will join 15 still-to-be-named modern-era candidates on the list of finalists from which the Class of 2007 will be selected. The Hall of Fame selection meeting will be held on February 3, 2007, the day before Super Bowl XLI in South Florida. To be elected, Hickerson and Sanders must each receive the same 80 percent voting support that is required of all finalists. The Hall's 39-member Board of Selectors will elect between three and six new members during next February's meeting.
Gene Hickerson (66) blocks for Hall of Fame running back Leroy Kelly (44).
Hickerson, a future pick in the seventh round by the Browns in 1957, was a stalwart on the team's offensive line for 15 seasons. He helped Cleveland to six division titles during his career that spanned from 1958-1960, 1962-1973.
The six-time Pro Bowl selection was one of the game's most highly regarded offensive linemen of his era as he led the way for three Hall of Fame running backs Jim Brown, Bobby Mitchell, and Leroy Kelly.
Known for his durability, strength, and quickness, Hickerson played 202 NFL games and was a key member of the Browns' 1964 NFL championship team. Hickerson was voted first- or second-team All-NFL seven times and named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1960s.
Sanders, a 6'4", 230-pound tight end, was Detroit's third round pick out of Minnesota in 1968. He quickly established himself in the NFL when he recorded 40 catches for 533 yards as a rookie.
More success followed for Sanders in 1969 when he caught 42 passes for a career-high 656 yards and scored three TDs. He was named All-NFL that season, the first of three straight seasons that he earned all-league accolades. In addition, Sanders was elected to seven Pro Bowls during his 10-year, 128-game career.
Sanders caught 30 or more passes in a year seven times. In his career that ended after the 1977 season, he had 336 catches for 4,817 yards and scored 31 touchdowns. He retired as the Lions all-time leader in receptions.
He was also voted to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1970s.
Hickerson vs. HOF guards
Sanders vs. HOF tight ends
Senior nominees, 1972-2007
Pro Football Hall of Fame's selection process
Team histories: |
Detroitlions.com: One step closer to enshrinement | Charlie Sanders bio and stats
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