Howard Cosell once called Russ Francis “the world’s greatest tight end.” He was a three-time All-Pro recruited by 49ers’ head coach Bill Walsh to come and play for him even though he’d retired from pro football after only six seasons. He was a transcendent star. Was he also really the best tight end ever?

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When you play 17 seasons, start 228 games, go to six Pro Bowls, block for two NFL rushing champions and win a Super Bowl as Ray Donaldson has, you certainly deserve to have your career discussed and debated to determine where you game fits in an historical context.

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After the AFL and NFL merged in 1970, there was a two-year window when Otis Taylor was the best wide receiver in football. He went to his first two Pro Bowls in 1971-72 and was a two-time first-team All-Pro. In 1971, he was the only player in the NFL with 1,000 yards in receptions.

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Boyd Dowler was an All-Decade receiver in the 1960s but who remembers him today? Not many people but Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr never forgot him when the game was on the line.

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Why former Chargers’ running back Paul Lowe deserves an audience with Pro Football Hall of Fame voters.

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During his career, Anderson had the responsibility to block three Hall of Fame pass rushers who lined up on the offense’s right side – Reggie White, Michael Strahan and Kevin Greene.

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Torry Holt caught passes and gained yards faster than anyone in NFL history. Did he get enough of them to reach the Hall of Fame?

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Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis should be an easy choice for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.

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When it takes decades for Hall of Famers Michael Irvin, Art Monk and Jerry Rice to break your receiving records, you belong in the Hall of Fame conversation. And Charlie Hennigan is deserving of that discussion.

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Denver finished in the Top 5 in the NFL in rushing nine times in Tom Nalen’s 13 seasons as a starter. Three other times the Broncos finished in the Top 10. And that was with a rotating cast of runners.

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Is Randy Moss a first ballot Hall of Famer? That probably depends on how you look at things. What should not be in question is that he belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But when? In the opinion of some, there are Pro Football Hall of Famers, and there are “first-ballot Hall of …

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Why Hall-of-Fame semifinalist belongs in Canton … hopefully, sooner rather than later.

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Jason Hanson played 21 seasons with one team, an NFL record. Only four players in NFL history played more games than the 327 of Hanson and only three scored more points than his 2,150. His 52 career field goals of 50 yards or more are another NFL record.

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Rodney Harrison was the first player to make 30 interceptions and 30 sacks. He played in Pro Bowls and Super Bowls. He made two different 50th anniversary NFL teams. So why isn’t he in the Hall of Fame?

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