Henry Ellard: Maybe this is why my HOF candidacy has stalled


Talk of Fame Network

Former wide receiver Henry Ellard is one of 94 players on the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame’s preliminary list for the Class of 2017 … and he should be.

He was three-time Pro Bowler, a two-time All-Pro, a member of the 10,000-yard club and someone who, in 1996, at the age of 35, averaged 19.4 yards per catch, and who, two years earlier, had nearly 1,400 yards in catches and produced first downs with 71 of his 74 catches. What’s more, he had four 1,000 seasons with the Los Angeles Rams before switching coasts and producing three more of them in Washington.

"Archival image Henry Ellard #80 of the Los Angeles Rams."
“Archival image Henry Ellard #80 of the Los Angeles Rams.”

Henry Ellard could catch. He could block. He produced first downs. He produced touchdowns. And he returned punts. So why isn’t he on the short list for Canton? Good question. Not only hasn’t he ever been a finalist. He’s never been a Hall-of-Fame semifinalist.

So what gives?

Ellard has an idea, and he shared them with us on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast. The way he sees it, there are two factors working against him – beginning with the Rams’ 1995 move to St. Louis.

“I proved the point that I could still play at a high level even though it was with a different team,” he said. “I think really what hurt more than anything else is that, once I left the Rams, the Rams left L.A. and moved to St. Louis. So I think you kind of get lost there in that move, more than anything else. You don’t have the coverage in L.A. where I had the majority of my career. All that moved to St. Louis. And I’m not known in St. Louis. That’s for sure.”

He’s right about that. Ellard is … and always will be associated … with the L.A. Rams. But which quarterback do you think of when you mention his name? Jim Everett? Chris Chandler? Jeff  Kemp? Steve Dils? They all threw to him. And so did others.

“When I compare myself to guys who are already there,” he said of the Hall, “the only question … and something I have always asked .. is (what would have happened) if I would have had the opportunity to play with some of the quarterbacks these Hall of Famers have played with — compared to my career where I played with 10 different quarterbacks? And yet the body of work still speaks for itself.

UNDATED: Wide reciever Henry Ellard #80 of the Los Angeles Rams carries the ball upfield. Henry Ellard played for the Los Angeles Rams from 1983-1993. (Photo by: Tim DeFrisco/Getty Images)
UNDATED: Wide reciever Henry Ellard #80 of the Los Angeles Rams carries the ball upfield. Henry Ellard played for the Los Angeles Rams from 1983-1993. (Photo by: Tim DeFrisco/Getty Images)

“Even though I worked and played with 10 different quarterbacks, compared to some of these guys that had a Hall-of-Fame quarterback after another Hall-of-Fame quarterback that they played with. I never got that opportunity to play with a Hall-of-Fame quarterback, so who knows what might have happened if I had that opportunity?”

Tim Brown voiced the same concerns about his career, especially after he had been a Hall-of-Fame finalist six years before finally crossing the threshold in 2015.

“And that’s what I would speak on more than anything else,” said Ellard. “The Joe Montanas, the Steve Youngs, the Troy Aikmans, the Jim Kellys of the world that became Hall of Famers I can only (dream) of what might’ve been if I had that opportunity.”

(Henry Ellard photos courtesy of the L.A. Rams)
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3 Comments

  1. Luke Enno
    April 25, 2017
    Reply

    He is a hall of fame worthy player in my mind. He did great things with so many different QBs throwing him the ball. Few WRs had to circulate through a laundry list of QBs and yet he gained just under 14,000 yards. When he retired, I believe he was in the top 3 or 4 all-time in receiving yards. He was right up there somewhere. Give Henry Ellard his due already!!!

  2. Ron Richard
    August 6, 2017
    Reply

    Definitely NFL Hall of Fame worthy!! I was shocked to read that he was not already in. Accomplishments above and beyond while receiving from different quarterbacks.

    • August 6, 2017
      Reply

      Agree, but there’s such a backlog of deserving seniors that, unless the process is changed, most of them have long waits before their cases are discussed … if, in fact, they go that far.

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