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Road to Canton (via South Florida)

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11/19/2009

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 on Saturday before the finalists are determined in January.

THIS WEEK:

Wide Receivers & Tight Ends

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

Wide Receivers

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Jerry Rice is the NFL’s all-time leading receiver. He amassed 1,549 catches for 22,895 yards in 303 career games over 20 seasons with the 49ers, Raiders, and Seahawks.

Perhaps no position has been debated more fiercely in recent years than wide receiver when it comes to those players who deserve to be included into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Despite the fact that six of the 20 modern-era wide receivers enshrined in Canton have been elected in the 2000s, there is still much discussion about who hasn’t earned a bronze bust yet. The Board of Selectors shouldn’t look for the arguments to simmer in 2010 as the list of preliminary nominees includes 12 wide receivers.

Among the list are two wide receivers who are eligible for the first time – the NFL’s all-time receiving leader Jerry Rice; and Tim Brown, who hauled in nearly 1,100 catches in his career.

Joining Rice and Brown are two other nominees who’ve received much consideration since becoming eligible. Andre Reed of the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins has made the cut-down to 25 semifinalists each year since becoming eligible in 2006. He advanced to the finalists round each of the last three years. Cris Carter, who had 1,101 receptions and 130 TDs in his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, and Miami Dolphins, retired in 2002. He became eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2008 and has been a semifinalist and finalist both in ’08 and last year.

The only other wideout on the list who has moved beyond the preliminary nominee stage is former Raiders great Cliff Branch who was a semifinalist in 2004, the first year that the reduction vote was added to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s election bylaws. Branch was named first-team All-Pro four straight seasons from 1974 to 1977.

Tight Ends

Shannon Sharpe retired as the NFL’s all-time leading receiver among tight ends. He had 815 catches for 10,060 yards and 62 TDs during his 14-season career with the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens.

The first tight end enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame was Mike Ditka in 1988. Since that time six others at that position have joined him, most recently in 2007 with the election of Detroit Lions tight end Charlie Sanders.

There are six nominees on the list for 2010 who have played tight end. Leading the way is Shannon Sharpe who retired as the all-time leading receiver among players at his position. In his first year of eligibility that came last year, Sharpe advanced as a semifinalist before making the cut-down to the list of 15 modern-era finalists for the Class of ’09. He, however, did not receive enough votes during the annual selection meeting to earn election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Here’s a closer look at the wide receivers and the tight ends nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010 and how they’re numbers compare to each other.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Cliff Branch – 1972-1985 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Tim Brown – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cris Carter – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins

Gary Clark – 1985-1992 Washington Redskins, 1993-94 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 1995 Miami Dolphins

Henry Ellard – 1983-1993 Los Angeles Rams, 1994-98 Washington Redskins, 1998 New England Patriots

Irving Fryar – 1984-1992 New England Patriots, 1993-95 Miami Dolphins, 1996-98 Philadelphia Eagles, 1999-2000 Washington Redskins

Roy Green – 1979-1990 St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals, 1991-92 Philadelphia Eagles

Herman Moore – 1991-2001 Detroit Lions, 2002 New York Giants

Stanley Morgan – 1977-1989 New England Patriots, 1990 Indianapolis Colts

Andre Reed – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins

Jerry Rice – 1985-2000 San Francisco 49ers, 2001-04 Oakland Raiders, 2004 Seattle Seahawks

Sterling Sharpe – 1988-1994 Green Bay Packers

Wide Receiver Nominees for 2010 Election
   
Player Yrs. No. Yds TD No. Yds TD No. Yds. TD No. Yds. TD TD PAT FG TOT
Cliff Branch 14 501 8685 67 11 70 0 12 21 0 9 191 0 67 0 0 402
Tim Brown 17 1,094 14,934 100 50 190 1 326 3,320 1 49 1,235 1 103 0 0 620
Cris Carter 16 1,101 13,899 130 13 41 0 13 244 0 131 0 0 796
Gary Clark 11 699 10,856 65 11 54 0 9 62 0 65 0 0 390
Henry Ellard 16 814 13,777 65 19 50 0 132 1,527 4 19 364 0 69 0 0 414
Irving Fryar 17 851 12,785 84 42 246 1 206 2,055 3 27 505 0 88 2 0 530
Roy Green 14 559 8,965 66 23 140 1 27 230 1 89 2,002 1 69 0 0 414
Herman Moore 12 670 9,.174 62 62 0 0 376
Stanley Morgan 14 557 10.716 72 21 127 0 92 960 1 2 29 0 73 0 0 438
Andre Reed 16 951 13,198 87 75 500 1 5 12 0 88 0 0 528
Jerry Rice 20 1,549 22,895 197 87 645 10 1 6 0 204 0 0 1,232
Sterling Sharpe 7 595 8,134 65 23 72 0 9 48 0 1 17 0 66 0 0 396

   
Player Yrs. All Pro All Conf. Pro Bowls Div. Conf League
Cliff Branch 14 4 3 4 8 3 3
Tim Brown 17 2** 6^^ 9 4 1 0
Cris Carter 16 2 2 8 5 0 0
Gary Clark 11 2 2 4 2 2 2
Henry Ellard 16 3^ 2^ 3 1 0 0
Irvng Fryar 17 0 1 5 3 1 0
Roy Green 14 2 3% 2 0 0 0
Herman Moore 12 3 3 4 2 0 0
Stanley Morgan 14 1 2 4 2 1 0
Andre Reed 16 0 4 7 6 4 0
Jerry Rice 20 11 11 13 13 4 3
Sterling Sharpe 7 3 3 5 0 0 0

** Earned one All-Pro as a Kick Returner
^^ Earned two All-Conference honors as Kick Returner
^ Earned honors as a special teams player
% Named All-NFC once as a Kick Returner  


TIGHT ENDS

Mark Bavaro – 1985-1990 New York Giants, 1992 Cleveland Browns, 1993-94 Philadelphia Eagles

Todd Christensen – 1979 New York Giants, 1979-1988 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Ben Coates – 1991-99 New England Patriots, 2000 Baltimore Ravens

Russ Francis – 1975-1980, 1987-88 New England Patriots, 1982-87 San Francisco 49ers

Shannon Sharpe – 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens

Frank Wycheck – 1993-94 Washington Redskins, 1995-2003 Houston/Tennessee Oilers/Titans

Tight End Preliminary Nominees for 2010 Election
   
Player Yrs. No. Yds TD No. Yds TD No. Yds. TD No. Yds. TD TD PAT FG TOT
Mark Bavaro 9 351 4,733 39 1 16 0 39 0 0 234
Todd Christensen Back to news
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