(Chris Hinton photo courtesy of Indianapolis Colts)
Talk of Fame Network
Chris Hinton needs no one to make a Hall-of-Fame case for him. The former offensive lineman was named to seven Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams and last week was chosen as one of 94 former players or coaches on the Hall's preliminary list for the Class of 2017.
Nevertheless, Hinton earlier this month emailed his resume to Hall-of-Fame selectors, hoping it would remind them why he belongs on the short list for Canton. As he acknowledged in his email, his chances of making it to Canton are long, and he understands. In fact, he explained why on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast.
First, there was his versatility. The guy could play almost anywhere … and did … on the offensive line. Then there was success. His teams were short in that department, going a combined 57-70. With a majority of Hall members having either rings or all-decade accolades, that doesn’t bode well for Hinton … and he knows it.
"I think the fact I played multiple positions hurt," he said, "and playing for three different teams also. And, to be very honest with you, I think I played out of position most of my career. I was more of a natural guard. I was more of a physical, run blocking guy vs. the tackles.
"Really, I think I played out of position 10 out of the 13 years (in the NFL). At Northwestern (his alma mater), I played in four years three different positions ... and offensive line for one year. The coach always see you as ... 'We need a guard, put Chris at guard. We need a tackle; put Chris at tackle.' "
Hinton not only played both positions in the NFL; he was named to the Pro Bowl at three different positions (left tackle, right tackle and left guard) and chosen to an All-Pro unit as a right guard in 1993. But he was not an all-decade choice, nor was he a Super Bowl contestant. And with competitors like Alan Faneca, Tony Boselli, Mike Kenn, Joe Jacoby and Kent Hull among the offensive linemen in the Class of 2017's roll call, that could damage his candidacy.
But the question is: Should it? Should all-decade or rings be a consideration? We asked Hinton.
"Well, no," he said. "I would ... hands down, if I played for the 49ers or the Redskins ... I'd be in the Hall of Fame. If I played for championship teams and accomplished what I did, I would probably have more all pro seasons. And so It’s a tough one.
"As a voter, its tough to wrap your arms around a career you guys didn’t see, or it's basically going on paper. Being the only player to either make the Pro Bowl or All-Pro at four different positions, nobody knows that. But if I was a receiver or a running back, and I gained 2,000 yards ... everybody would know that."
So what, then, should voters know about Chris Hinton … other than he was the centerpiece of a 1983 blockbuster trade that brought him to Baltimore and sent John Elway to Denver?
"Even outside of making the Pro Bowls seven times is the fact that I did it at three different positions and made All-Pro at a fourth position on the offensive line," he said. "And I did it on teams that were not very successful.
"Sometimes its easier to get attention if you're on a Super Bowl team or a team that makes a deep run into the playoffs. But there are a couple of teams that I played for ... one year we started out 0-13, and I made the Pro Bowl. So my peers and coaches appreciated what I was doing."