(Photos courtesy of the Tampa Bay Bucs and Arizona Cardinals)
By Clark Judge
Talk of Fame Network
Former star pass rusher Simeon Rice says there’s no Pro Football Hall of Fame without him, but apparently he hasn’t been to Canton.
OK, so he says the Hall isn’t “legitimate” without him, which is a whole different argument, but he’s wrong there, too. The only thing illegitimate about what’s going on – or not going on – with Simeon Rice and the Pro Football Hall of Fame is that his name wasn’t included in last year’s preliminary list of 113 candidates.
And that’s not only puzzling; it’s downright wrong.
Rice had 122 career sacks. Leslie O’Neal, had 132.5, or as many as Hall-of-Famer Lawrence Taylor. Yet neither Rice or O'Neal was on the Hall’s preliminary list a year ago, and, sorry, but that must change.
No, I’m not calling for anyone to send these guys to Canton. Rice already took care of that. What I am saying is to include them on the ballot for the Class of 2016 and make their names available to the Hall's 46 selectors.
Both deserve to be candidates because both were outstanding players, worthy of Hall-of-Fame consideration … and the key word there is consideration. That doesn’t mean they belong in the Hall, but it does mean they belong among the 113-or-so modern-era names that comprise the next preliminary list.
Bubba Baker, Carl Hairston, Steve McMichael, Jerome Brown, Charles Mann and Jevon Kearse were among those on last year’s ballot. So why not Rice and O’Neal? I don’t know, either, which is one reason I emailed the Hall this week, urging it to include both on the next preliminary ballot. You can’t correct an oversight after it’s happened, but you can prevent it from occurring again.
And I'm confident the Hall will.
As for what’s next … well, then it’s up to the voters, and, just a hunch, but Rice’s politicking won't help his cause. He was a very good pass rusher who played on an outstanding defense that carried its team to a Super Bowl victory.
He was not the most valuable piece of that defense. Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp were. He wasn’t the best pass rusher of his era, either. Michael Strahan, Dwight Freeney, Julius Peppers and Jason Taylor were. They were named to the NFL’s 2000 all-decade team. Simeon Rice was not. And that’s something for Rice to remember next time he throws darts at Strahan or a fit about the Hall.
Prior to the 2015 class, there were 73 all-decades choices missing from Canton … including 60 whose names were never discussed … and tell me they don’t have legitimate complaints.
Because they do.
And Simeon Rice? His complaint isn’t that he’s been left out of Canton. It’s that his name wasn't brought forward for consideration, and that must change.