Neil Smith became one of the best pass rushers of the 1990 decade. He collected 95 ½ of his 104 ½ career sacks from 1990-99 and went to six Pro Bowls. He led the NFL with 15 sacks in 1993 and earned first-team All-Pro honors. His teams won 105 games in the decade and went to the playoffs nine times.
Lee Roy Jordan was the leading tackler on units that led the NFL in run defense five times in seven seasons (1966-72) and led the NFC another time (1971). And that was during an era when football was played on the ground, not in the air.
John Lynch brought attitude both in coverage and run support. He played 15 seasons and amassed 1,051 tackles, including three 100-tackle seasons. He was voted to nine Pro Bowls. The only safety in history who ever went to more was Hall of Famer Ken Houston with 12.
Former Rams’ quarterback Kurt Warner is this close to reaching the Hall of Fame. But how come there are no Rams’ receivers in the conversation for Canton? Well, there’s one now, with Isaac Bruce one of 15 finalists — along with Warner — for the Class of 2017.
The strength of the Jones candidacy is what he did outside of his own building — his impact on the marketing of the NFL. He single-handedly altered the NFL’s financial dynamic and changed the way the league does business. When Jones talks money, the NFL listens.
Former Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward is a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017, with the finalists announced Tuesday evening. Ward should be one of them, and not because he produced big numbers but because he was a complete player.