Williams_Aeneas_700

Road to Canton (via South Florida)

Williams_Aeneas_700
11/17/2009

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:

Defensive Backs

NEXT WEEK: Wide Receivers & Tight Ends

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

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Fourteen of the 131 preliminary nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010 are defensive backs. The list includes six cornerbacks, six safeties, and a pair of players who split time between both of those positions.

The group includes one player who is eligible for the first time. Aeneas Williams earned All-Pro honors four times as a cornerback before moving to safety late in his career. He was named to eight Pro Bowls during his career with the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams.

Aeneas Williams is eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time. He played 14 seasons in the NFL with the Cardinals and Rams.

Two players among the nominees have been semifinalists as well as finalists in previous years. Former Steelers safety Donnie Shell was among the 15 finalists for the Class of 2002 and was also a semifinalist in 2004, the first year that reduction vote was added to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s selection process. Raiders’ cornerback Lester Hayes has been a semifinalist six straight times (2004-09) and was a finalist four consecutive years from 2001 to 2004.

A defensive back has been elected to the Hall of Fame in each of the past three classes of enshrinees. There are a total of 20 defensive backs enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Here’s a closer look at the 14 defensive back nominees under consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010 and how they compare to each other.

CORNERBACK-SAFETY

Carnell Lake – 1989-1998 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1999 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2001 Baltimore Ravens

Aeneas Williams – 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams


CORNERBACK

Eric Allen – 1988-1994 Philadelphia Eagles, 1995-97 New Orleans Saints, 1998-2001 Oakland Raiders

Raymond Clayborn – 1977-1989 New England Patriots, 1990-91 Cleveland Browns

Lester Hayes – 1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Albert Lewis – 1983-1993 Kansas City Chiefs, 1994-98 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders

Frank Minnifield – 1984-1992 Cleveland Browns

Louis Wright – 1975-1986 Denver Broncos


SAFETY

Steve Atwater – 1989-1999 Denver Broncos

Joey Browner – 1983-1991 Minnesota Vikings, 1992 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

LeRoy Butler – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers

Kenny Easley – 1981-87 Seattle Seahawks

Donnie Shell – 1974-1987 Pittsburgh Steelers

Darren Woodson – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys
 

Defensive Back Nominees for 2010 Election
   
Player Yrs. No. Yds. TD No. Yds. TD No. Yds. TD TD PAT FG TOT Other
Eric Allen 14 54 826 8 1 2 0 9 0 0 54 Sacks: 3.0; Fum Ret: 1 TD
Steve Atwater 11 24 408 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 6 Sacks: 5.0
Joey Browner 10 37 465 3 1 0 0 4 0 0 24 Sacks: 9.5; Fum Rec: 1 TD
LeRoy Butler 12 38 533 1 2 0 0 12 Sacks: 20.5; Fum Ret: 1 TD
Raymond Clayborn 15 36 555 1 57 1,538 3 3 0 0 20 Safeties: 1
Kenny Easley 7 32 538 3 26 302 0 3 0 0 18 Sacks: 8.0
Lester Hayes 10 39 572 4 5 57 0 5 0 0 30 Fumble Ret: 1TD
Carnell Lake 12 16 161 3 1 0 0 5 0 0 30 Sacks: 25.0 Fumble Ret: 2TD
Albert Lewis 16 42 403 1 2 0 0 12 Fumble Ret: 1TD; Sacks: 12.5; Safety:1
Frank Minnifield 9 20 124 0 3 0 0 18 Blocked Punts TD: 2; Lateral on Punt Return TD: 1
Donnie Shell 14 51 490 2 1 6 0 4 0 0 24 Lateral on Punt Return TD: 1
Aeneas Williams 14 55 807 9 12 0 0 82 Sacks: 3.0; Fum Rec for TD: 3
Darren Woodson 12 23 271 2 2 0 0 12 Sacks: 11.0
Louis Wright 12 26 360 1 1 0 0 4 0 0 24 Fumble Ret: 2TD; FG Ret: 1TD; Sacks: 2.0

 
Player Yrs. All Pro All Conf. Pro Bowls Div. Conf. League
Eric Allen 14 1 3 6 3 0 0
Steve Atwater 11 2 6 8 4 3 2
Joey Browner 10 4 4 6 1 0 0
LeRoy Bulter 12 4 4 4 3 2 1
Raymond Clayborn 15 3 2 3 2 1 0
Kenny Easley 7 4 5 5 0 0 0
Lester Hayes 10 4 4 5 3 2 2
Carnell Lake 12 2 5 5 6 1 0
Albert Lewis 16 2 3 4 1 0 0
Frank Minnifield 9 2 3 4 4 0 0
Donnie Shell 14 3 2 5 8 4 4
Aeneas Williams 14 4 5 8 2 1 0
Darren Woodson 12 4 3 5 6 3 3
Louis Wright 12 4 5 5 4 2 0

 

 

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