Rice, Seau headed for Canton
While labeling someone a future Hall of Famer during their career is tough, a number of guys fit the billing.
If you never have cast a ballot for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and stood in the room where impassioned campaigns are launched for and against some of the all-time greats, it is difficult for you to understand or relate to the nerve it takes to declare a modern-day star a "future Hall of Famer."
Truth be told, there are no locks. No sure things, no shoo-ins. Only probables and should-bes.
In a poll of a handful of longtime NFL writers and Hall of Fame voters, Pro Football Weekly is casting its ballot using the "Gale Sayers Rule," meaning a player, even if his career ended tomorrow, would be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Voter's comment: "He has the yards, and the TDs, and the numbers and all that. However, he'll have some factors going against him. 1) He never won a Super Bowl; 2) what catches has he made that are indelibly planted in our memory?; (and) 3) there are Hall of Fame selectors who believe there are too damn many Raiders already. There are no Broncos (John Elway will be the first). There are no Falcons. There's one Bengal. When I think of Hall of Famers, I think of "The Best of The Best." Tim Brown is good, even great, but not the best of the best."
Voter's comment: "A strong candidate for the Hall of Fame, but I'm not sure if I'd push him through on the first ballot. I look at guys who have been forced to wait, and he may be one of those guys (for a year or two after he's eligible). When I think of Faulk, I think of versatility, flexibility and explosiveness. His body is breaking down now, but at the peak of his career, he showed excellent durability. There's a completeness about his running and receiving skills that makes him a solid Hall candidate."
Voter's comment: "There's no question with him. He's the most durable quarterback who ever lived. He's unique in a lot of ways, but his greatest skill is sliding in behind the line of scrimmage to buy the time. He's beyond compare."
Voter's comment: "It's almost too soon to judge. There would be reservations, and not relating to off-the-field incidents."
Voter's comment: "Reputation isn't supposed to factor into (a voter's) decision, but it does. Effort will be a part of the discussion. If there is a perception that you don't appreciate and respect the game, you don't get respect and appreciation from the voters. That said, Moss is in, Terrell Owens isn't, solely because Moss has the better numbers."
Voter's comment: "He's the Art Shell or Anthony Munoz of this era, yet he seems to get little exposure. Even if he sticks around too long, Ogden will leave the game as one of the best to ever line up at offensive tackle."
Voter's comment: "This will be controversial. It depends on when he's being judged. The Hall of Fame doesn't want coaches named who are apt to come back. It can be embarrassing. Bill Walsh was named and then resumed his career. Bill Parcells will be a Hall of Famer, but his day will include a wait."
Voter's comment: "He has to be picked. His credentials are impeccable. He might be the greatest receiver of all time. The only guy you can compare with him is Don Hutson."
Voter's comment: "In his heyday, Junior was an outstanding player in an outstanding defense. But I've never thought he was as good as many others. He has deficiencies as a pass defender."
Voter's comment: "In a way, he was a trendsetter, but it's more amazing that he's still holding his own with the (Jeremy) Shockeys and Tony Gonzalezes."
Voter's comment: "When I think of great pass rushers, I think of Reggie White, Lawrence Taylor and Bruce Smith. Because of Smith's talent, durability, longevity and sustained excellence, I would vote for him for the Hall of Fame."
Voter's comment: "A sure-fire, first-ballot Hall of Famer. I remember watching him early in his career in a game at Cleveland. I saw speed (inside and outside), power, balance and an incredible desire to get into the endzone."
Jeff Reynolds is an associate editor for Pro Football Weekly
Material from Pro Football Weekly.
Visit PFW's web site at http://www.profootballweekly.com
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