Smith and Haley are Semifinalists for the Hall of Fame

The Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday announced its class of 2010
semifinalists. The Cowboys are virtually guaranteed at least one player, as
Emmitt Smith is eligible for selection. Few would doubt that he will earn a spot
along with Jerry Rice, Cris Carter, and Shannon Sharpe. A few others have a more
question marks, but former Cowboy and 49er defensive end Charles Haley also has
a good shot. Here’s the complete list:

Smith, RB – 1990-2002 Dallas Cowboys, 2003-04 Arizona Cardinals 

Haley, DE/LB – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys

Branch, WR – 1972-1985 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders 
Tim Brown, WR/KR – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay
Cris Carter, WR – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002
Miami Dolphins
Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers

Roger Craig, RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders,
1992-93 Minnesota Vikings
Terrell Davis, RB – 1995-2001 Denver Broncos
Dermontti Dawson, C – 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
Richard Dent, DE – 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996
Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
Chris Doleman, DE/LB – 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta
Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers
Kevin Greene, LB/DE – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers,
1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers
Russ Grimm, G – 1981-1991 Washington Redskins
Ray Guy, P – 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Lester Hayes, CB – 1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Rickey Jackson, LB – 1981-1993 New Orleans Saints, 1994-95 San Francisco 49ers
Cortez Kennedy, DT – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
Art Modell, Owner – 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-2003 Baltimore Ravens
John Randle, DT – 1990-2000 Minnesota Vikings, 2001-03 Seattle Seahawks
Andre Reed, WR – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
Jerry Rice, WR – 1985-2000 San Francisco 49ers, 2001-04 Oakland Raiders, 2004
Seattle Seahawks 
Shannon Sharpe, TE – 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens
Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League
Steve Tasker, Special Teams/WR – 1985-86 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills
Aeneas Williams, CB/S – 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis


The modern-era Cowboy most noticeably absent from this list is safety Darren Woodson, who earned five Pro Bowl berths and was named all-pro three times. This is a pretty stout list of players, but Woodson deserves a spot.


As for the seniors, the two players selected were former Lion cornerback (and current Pittsburgh defensive coordinator) Dick LeBeau and former Bronco running back Floyd Little. LeBeau would not be a bad pick, given that he had 62 career interceptions. Though his coaching career should not be a factor, it’s hard to believe that it won’t be.


The choice of Little will probably have some heads turning. His career stats include only one 1,000-yard season (he played during the 14-game-season era), and he finished his career with 6,323 yards. That number currently ranks 61st in NFL history. He retired before the Broncos
earned their first berth in a Super Bowl in 1977.


A website devoted to Little’s induction argues the following:

It’s time to elect Floyd Little
to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Without Floyd’s impact, the Denver Broncos
would have been forced to relocate over 40 yrs ago. The 5-Time Pro Bowler
who retired the 7th All-Time Rusher in NFL History saved the franchise.

No offense to Little, but this justifies Little’s induction into Broncos’ Ring of Fame, but Little is not as deserving as several Cowboys. These Cowboys are the same names we’ve heard plenty of times before: Chuck Howley, Cliff Harris, and Drew Pearson.


But given that 2010 will be the year that the Cowboys celebrate Smith’s induction, we can save other debates for future inductions.

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