Bengals HOF candidates now and in the future

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green reacts after having a touchdown called back against the Pittsburgh SteelersPhoto: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Anderson(s), Atkins, Green top prospects for Hall call


--Ken Anderson: When he retired after 16 years just before the 1987 season, he was the all-time leader for completion percentage in a game, career and post-season career. He's the only man to win NFL passing titles in back-to-back seasons in two different decades and two different eras of passing rules and philosophy. He's the only man with at least four NFL passing titles not in the Hall (Sammy Baugh, Steve Young, Len Dawson, Roger Staubach). Not a dinker and dunker, his career 7.3 yards per attempt is longer than the YPA of Bobby Layne, Warren Moon and Terry Bradshaw and the same as Dan Marino and Fran Tarkenton.

--Right tackle Willie Anderson also deserves a mention. In three of his 13 seasons that were played in a kind of golden age of the pass rusher, where the top 13 all-time sackers worked during Anderson's run from 1996-2008, he allowed no sacks.

During his 181 games for the Bengals, he faced nine of the NFL's 11 current leading all-time sackers (heading into the 2017 season) and it's believed he allowed only one sack. The only ones he didn't play were DeMarcus Ware and John Randle and the one he gave up was to all-time leader Bruce Smith with 19 seconds left in a game the Bills led by two touchdowns when he was a rookie. Plus, he was the right tackle when Corey Dillon broke Jim Brown's 40-year-old single-game rookie rushing record in 1997 and Walter Payton's 23-year-old single-game rushing record.

Still playing

--The Bengals have two no-brainer candidates currently on the roster. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins has six Pro Bowls in eight seasons. In three seasons he had the most sacks of any interior lineman and twice he shared the lead.

A.J. Green is the only wide receiver since 1970 to start his career with seven straight Pro Bowls. He has 10 career games of at least 150 yards and a touchdown to lead all active receivers heading into this season. He's the first NFL player to have 100 catches, 1,500 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first 20 games. In 2012, he became only the second player (Jerry Rice) to catch a touchdown pass in nine straight games.