So who would newest Hall of Famers like to see join them?

The Pro Football Hall of Fame adds eight more members Saturday night, and we asked them if they had one vote to cast for someone not in Canton whom they would choose. These are their responses.


By Clark Judge

Talk of Fame Network

CANTON, Ohio -- The Pro Football Hall of Fame swells to 295 inductees with eight additions Saturday, but you know that. What you might not know is who these guys would like to see join them. So we asked. Yes, we asked who they’d push for Canton if they had the chance, and here are their responses:


“Wow, you make the choice. It would be commissioner (Paul) Tagliabue, Bobby Beathard, George Young and Art McNally. Among those four, I don’t know who I’d choose. I don’t know how you separate them because of all the contributions they made to the game. But I think because of all that the game has become, I would have to say commissioner Tagliabue. He deserves it. None of this (what is going on in the league today) would’ve happened with him. You’ve got 17 years of labor peace (with Tagliabue), (and) isn’t it a stark contrast – not that Roger (Goodell) is at fault here – that we’re in federal court and the judge is urging settlement when for 17 years none of that ever surfaced?

“There was plenty of friction (on his watch); there were plenty of issues. But ultimately Gene (Upshaw, executive director of the NFLPA) and Paul sat down and worked it out. There would be no Mike Tomlin (without Tagliabue). There wouldn’t have been a Tony Dungy. I mean, this is affecting American life. The others are great contributors, too, certainly as deserving – or more deserving – than I. But there’s no question that (Tagliabue) changed the face of this sport. It’s number one and growing because of him.“


“There are so many guys that deserve to be in here, but the guy I don’t understand is not in here is Bobby Dillon from the 50s' Packers because he set the record for interceptions. He played 14 games (when) they threw the ball 15 to 16 times a game, and this guy intercepted almost 60 balls (he had 52). The only safety to intercept more was Emlen Tunnell, and he played twice as long as Dillon. Having lived in the history book there in Green Bay, I’ve been told that this is the only player (Vince) Lombardi went after when he came in after (Dillon) announced his retirement. Lombardi went down to Texas to talk him out of it. In those days, the corners were the hitters, and the ballhawks were the safeties. But that’s changed now. You’re talking about a guy who was a little over 6-1, about 200 pounds and a 9.6 sprinter. And back then, that was pretty fast.”


“I would have to say Kevin Greene. He’s been waiting for a long time. He’s been on the Final 15 list a long time, and it’s torture. I’ve seen the man cry. I’ve seen him cry after a couple of the votes didn’t go our way. So I know he’s painfully awaiting for his name to be called. I would love to see Kevin get in.”


“Wow, that’s a great question. I think Kevin (Greene) is a Hall-of-Fame caliber football player. But I’m thinking of a safety for Denver. Steve Atwater … I felt he needed to be in the Hall of Fame. But John Lynch is the guy who definitely (belongs). I played against (when he was) in Stanford. I played against him (when he was) in Tampa. I played against him (when he was) in Denver. I mean, he was one of those guys who deserves to be in. Steve Atwater is one of those guys, and Kevin Greene is one of those guys, too.”


“Eddie DeBartolo. He cared about his players. Guys wanted to play for the 49ers because Eddie DeBartolo cared about his players and because he treated us all like family. He gave us the best of everything. That’s why I love the man. (Former coach) Bill Walsh and Mr. D. taught me what family was. I didn't play well with others, so they had to teach me what team was; what family was. They cared about me. They knew what my family and my kids' names were. When you find people that care about you, you want to give that back to them. Things like that matter. Family matters.”


“I really can’t think of anyone because I don’t have a list in front of me and because he would be unfair. I mean, there are so many guys who are qualified. I’m just not comfortable talking about it unless I take time to look at it more carefully.”