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Curtis Martin Named Hall of Fame Finalist

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Not to be lost in the aftermath of last night's thrilling win, Curtis Martin was named a Hall of Fame finalist today.

Jerome Bettis, RB (1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers)

Tim Brown, WR/KR (1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Cris Carter, WR (1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins)

Dermontti Dawson, C (1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers)

Richard Dent, DE (1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles)

Chris Doleman, DE/LB (1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers)

Marshall Faulk, RB (1994-98 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams)

Charles Haley, DE/LB (1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys)

" *Chris Hanburger, LB (1965-78 Washington Redskins)

Cortez Kennedy, DT (1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks)

Curtis Martin, RB (1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets)

Andre Reed, WR (1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins)

" *Les Richter, LB (1954-62 Los Angeles Rams)

Willie Roaf, OT (1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs)

Ed Sabol, Contributor (1964-1995 NFL Films)

Deion Sanders, CB/KR/PR (1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-99 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-05 Baltimore Ravens)

Shannon Sharpe, TE (1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens)

 

I'm very skeptical that Curtis will make it in on the first ballot. He clearly deserves to be. There are problems, though. The first is that there are more deserving candidates than there are spots. Only five of those modern era candidates can get in. Guys like Carter and Sharpe who have had to wait might have preference. The other problem is Curtis' quiet, classy demeanor. He never drew attention to himself during his career. That matters. More people know Terrell Owens was an elite player in his prime because of his attention hogging than those who know about quiet guys like Tory Holt and Marvin Harrison. Curtis' game didn't jump off the page either. He didn't run guys over or have blazing speed. His game was just consistent excellence. It wasn't as obvious as other guys with some spectacular attribute. Toughness, heart, and locker room leadership are other subtle attributes he probably won't get credit for.

I'm rooting for him like crazy, but my hopes in the voters doing the right thing is not high.