Strong 49ers representation among HOF finalists

Jerry Rice, Roger Craig and Charles Haley have a combined eight Super Bowl rings with the 49ers. All three are finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 

Rice, the holder of every significant receiving record in NFL history, is a lock to be among the four to seven enshrines who will be announced as part of the Class of 2010 Hall of Fame on Saturday at 2 p.m.

 

Rickey Jackson also won a Super Bowl ring with the 49ers, as did Richard Dent, though he was injured and did not play in 49ers’ victory over the San Diego Chargers in January 1995.

 

Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young weighed in with comments on their former teammates who have made it this far in the process. (A big thanks to Kirk Reynolds for his assist in gathering these quotes.)

 

Joe on Jerry: “The best to ever play the position. His numbers will probably never be reached. I watch the league all the time and there’s no one who compares to his consistency and the first thing is catching the football. He was just so good and then John Taylor came along and made it hard for teams to double Jerry. And I can tell you, it’s impossible to cover Jerry Rice one on one. Jerry got to the post more than anyone in history. I know if I was coaching and I was playing against the 49ers I would tell my safety to play deep and stay there and don’t let Jerry Rice get behind you. If he does, you can just keep on running to the locker room. Somehow, he always got behind the safety. I don’t know how he did it, but I was happy he did.”

Steve on Jerry: “Jerry was a supreme route runner. The way he moved was somehow predictable and he really made it easy for me to throw the football. He was just so consistent in his motion and movement that I always knew where he was going to be. We all know that he worked hard, but it wasn’t just that he worked hard. There are a lot of hard workers who just peter out. Jerry was a hard worker for 40 years. He outworked everyone. He outworked free agents, even the guys who all they had was work ethic he outworked them. And he was a star. He rose to every occasion. The bigger the moment the better he played. The playoff games, the Super Bowls, the Monday Night games. If there was a record to break he would do it that day with the lights shining. His specialty was precision and you can’t cover precision. And people questioned his speed. There were plenty of fast guys who would slow down when they put the helmet and pads on. Jerry got faster in uniform. He carried the equipment better than anyone who has ever played. On the street he might not be the fastest, but on the field he was faster than everybody.”

Joe on Roger: “He was the kind of guy who wasn’t flashy, but he was always so consistent and so reliable. He was the first 1,000-1,000 guy and he gave us opportunities long before Marshall Faulk came along. He was such a good runner, but he also ran great routes. You could do more things on offense because of Roger. You didn’t have to substitute. He could run routes like a receiver so if we wanted to keep the nickel defense off the field we could do that all because of Roger. He was way ahead of his time.”

Steve on Roger: “Roger was a very good running back and a very good route runner and that is something you do not see. Not many can do what Roger could do. He really set the stage for the requirement that most backs, with very few exceptions, be able to catch the football. That transformation happened because everyone saw what Roger was doing. The West Coast offense changed football and what Roger did from the backfield had never been seen before. When you think about the 49ers you had 19 years in the playoffs and five Super Bowls. Roger Craig was a big part of that and belongs in the Hall of Fame.”

Joe on Charles: “Charles Haley, the man with five rings (three with the Dallas Cowboys). He is one of the best pass rushers in history. To be able to get a handful of rings in two places really says something and he was a major influence in both places. He was one tough guy, who never quit. Like Ronnie (Lott) has said before, there was a lot of fight in that dog. He was much stronger than you might believe. He was not huge stature, but he could really attack and beat you in a lot of different ways.”

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Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists

Four to seven individuals will be selected today at 2 p.m.

 

Jerry Rice - Wide Receiver – 1985-2000 San Francisco 49ers, 2001-04 Oakland Raiders, 2004 Seattle Seahawks

Roger Craig - Running Back – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings

Charles Haley - Defensive End/Linebacker – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys

Rickey Jackson – Linebacker – 1981-1993 New Orleans Saints, 1994-95 San Francisco 49ers

Richard Dent – Defensive End – 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles

Tim Brown - Wide Receiver/Kick Returner – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cris Carter - Wide Receiver – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins

Don Coryell - Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers

Dermontti Dawson - Center – 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers

Russ Grimm – Guard - 1981-1991 Washington Redskins

Cortez Kennedy – Defensive Tackle – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks

Dick LeBeau* - Cornerback – 1959-1972 Detroit Lions

Floyd Little* – Running Back – 1967-1975 Denver Broncos

John Randle – Defensive Tackle – 1990-2000 Minnesota Vikings, 2001-03 Seattle Seahawks

Andre Reed - Wide Receiver – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins

Shannon Sharpe – Tight End – 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens

Emmitt Smith – Running Back – 1990-2002 Dallas Cowboys, 2003-04 Arizona Cardinals

*-Selected by veteran’s committee

 

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