During an 11-year NFL career, former Denver safety Steve Atwater was an eight-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro, two-time Super Bowl champion and joined Green Bay's LeRoy Butler as a starter on the all-decade team of the 1990s. But, unlike Butler, Atwater has been a finalist ... and is back as a Class of 2018 semifinalist to take another run at Canton.
“It was disappointing,’’ Atwater said of not being elected in the past. “I’m hoping to get that knock on the door. It would be the pinnacle of my career.’’
One thing Atwater believes may help safeties like him and Butler is the induction this summer of senior nominee of Kenny Easley. Safety is the most under represented position in the Hall of Fame. In fact, until Easley's election, Kenny Houston was the last Hall-of-Fame safety to play.
And he retired after the 1980 season.
Then, Easley was inducted, and, according to Atwater, “That helped all the safeties’ chances. In his speech, he mentioned all the safeties who have been waiting a long time. He made people dig under the hood a little bit. I’m hoping one day to get that knock on the door.’’
One guy recently visited with a multitude of Los Angeles Rams who did get that knock, and he came to our Talk of Fame Network studios to tell stories behind the stories of the Rams’ greatest players.
Author Jay Paris has written a new book, “Game of My Life Rams,’’ in which he visits with many of the greatest Rams in history, both in L.A. and St. Louis. With the Rams having returned both to L.A. and the playoffs this year, it seemed perfect timing to recall the Rams’ most glorious players.
So who was the toughest of them all?
In Paris’ opinion, it very likely was Hall-of-Fame defensive end Jack Youngblood, who played with a broken leg not only in the playoffs .... but in the Pro Bowl, too.
“He said he didn’t want to give up the trip to Hawaii,’’ Paris told our Talk of Fame guys.
You can hear all that and more on SB Nation Radio Network, on our free podcast at iTunes or the TuneIn app or by going to our website, talkoffamenetwork.com and clicking on the helmet icon.