Is another Bear worthy of Canton?


Photo courtesy of the Chicago Bears
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(Wilber Marshall photos courtesy of the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins)

Talk of Fame Network

There were three Hall of Famers on that great Chicago defense that won the 1985 Bears a Super Bowl – Richard Dent, Dan Hampton and Mike Singletary.

Apparently, there should be a fourth.

We asked out listeners and readers in last week’s Talk of Fame Network poll to identify the player who deserves greater Hall-of-Fame consideration than he’s been given. We put together a ballot with six worthy candidates who were not on the preliminary list of 94 for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017 — and outside linebacker Wilber Marshall won going away.

Marshall, who won Super Bowls with both the Bears and Washington Redskins, received 66.7 percent of the vote to easily outdistance Miami offensive tackle Richmond Webb at 18 percent. Another offensive tackle, Lomas Brown, who went to Pro Bowls with Detroit and went to Super Bowls with both the Giants and Buccaneers, was next with single-digit support, followed by former NFL sack champions Neil Smith and La’Roi Glover and Tampa Bay tight end Jimmie Giles.

The three Talk of Fame Network hosts were split in their voting with Ron Borges and Rick Gosselin casting their ballots for Marshall and Clark Judge his for Neil Smith.

“Neil Smith in a photo finish with La’Roi Glover,” Judge said. “He checked all the boxes — six-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro and all-decade member. Plus, he won two Super Bowls. My guess? He d get more attention if he wasn’t teamed with Derrick Thomas for most of his career.”

Marshall was one of the most complete linebackers of his era, making plays on both sides of the field and on both sides of the line of scrimmage. His first year as an NFL starter was as a weakside backer with the 1985 Bears in Buddy Ryan’s 46 scheme, before he won a Super Bowl as a strongside backer on the 1991 Redskins.

Marshall went to three Pro Bowls, twice as a weakside backer and once on the strongside, and his defenses ranked in the NFL’s Top 10 in nine of his 12 seasons. He collected 1,020 career tackles, with 46 sacks, 24 interceptions and 24 forced fumbles.

“Wilber Marshall was a dominant player on dominant defenses in Chicago and Washington,” Borges said. “A major reason those defenses dominated was the presence of Wilbur Marshall, who could play any linebacking position with Pro Bowl quality.”

Glover, Smith and Webb were all selected to NFL all-decade teams.

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