The NFL just announced its class of 2010, which is bigger than usual because two names from the veteran's committee got the the thumbs up, in addition to five new members. It consists of:
- Emmitt Smith
- Jerry Rice
- Russ Grimm
- Dick LeBeau
- Floyd Little
- John Randle
- Ricky Jackson
This was one of the deepest groups of candidates in recent years and the voters nonetheless did a solid job. Rice and Smith were locks. One is the all-time receiving leader. The other is the NFL's all-time rushing leader.
LeBeau probably merited consideration for his playing career alone; he was a standout defensive back for the Lions in the 1960s. His deep body of work as a defensive coordinator got him in. Little was an AFL All-Star and led the combined leagues in rushing for the period from 1967 - 1973. He played in relative anonymity because he led some so-so Broncos squads.
Randle didn't get much press this week, as bigger names from his era like Richard Dent, Charles Haley, Shannon Sharpe and Andre Reed got support. I asked K.C. Joyner yesterday to name players he thought were worthy and Randle's name came up first. "He was a five-time consensus All Pro," Joyner told me. "He was the best of the best at his position in his time." All Pro teams, remember, run one deep. Randle dominated as an interior pass rusher and is worthy.
Grimm was the best player on arguably the best offensive line of the '80s. He's the first member of Washington's "Hogs" to be inducted. Jackson was the best of a late '80s, early '90s Saints LB quartet considered among the game's greatest units.
Congratulations to all.