The Bears and Ravens will face off in the Hall of Fame Game on Thursday night and then the new class will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. Terrell Owens will be the 24th Cowboy to go into the Hall, though he will do it on his own terms. Big surprise, right? Owens will not attend the enshrinement in Canton, Ohio, but will instead give his acceptance speech at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he played college football.
Owens played for five teams as he racked up 1,078 receptions for 15,934 yards and 153 TDs. His 235 catches for 3,587 yards and 38 touchdowns were his second best output in all three categories for any one team, behind only to his stats during his eight seasons in San Francisco.
So who will be the 25th Cowboy on his way to Canton?
Top eligible candidates:
It's been 22 years since the Dallas Cowboys won their fifth Super Bowl and, with every passing season that falls short of that bar, Cowboys fans grow more nostalgic about how good they had it for a little while in the 1990s. Several key pieces of Dallas' three Super Bowl champions in four seasons were shoo-ins for the Hall of Fame - Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith. But the architect, Jimmy Johnson, hasn't gotten the call. Fans would also be quick to promote tight end Jay Novacek for induction. Novacek caught 339 passes for 3,576 yards and 22 touchdowns in six seasons with the Cowboys, making the Pro Bowl five times and earning All-Pro in 1992. And his value to Dallas was even greater than the sum of his stats.
Best prospect still on roster:
This question would be easier if Jason Witten and Dez Bryant had not departed during the offseason. Without those players, the Cowboys are left with a young roster. While Das Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are off to promising starts to their careers, it's too early to tab either one of them as future Hall of Famers. Left tackle Tyron Smith has the most Hall of Fame-worthy resume and, with five Pro Bowls and two All-Pro selections in his first seven seasons in the league, he seems to be on a Hall trajectory. Kicker Dan Bailey has also proven his value to the Cowboys, but by Hall of Fame longevity standards for kickers, he needs to keep it up for another decade and a half.