St. Louis Rams – Blog

Rams Continue Defensive Coordinator Search

Posted by nickwagoner on January 29, 2013 – 4:11 PM

- Despite reports over the weekend that the Rams had hired Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator, the team confirmed Tuesday morning that those reports were pre-mature. In fact, the Rams went so far as to say that despite long conversations with Ryan concerning defensive philosophy, the sides couldn’t find a common ground and the team is actually moving on to interview other candidates.

- From COO/Executive VP of Football Operations Kevin Demoff:

“After extensive conversations regarding defensive philosophy, the Rams and Rob Ryan agreed he was not the right fit for the club’s Defensive Coordinator position. The Rams will continue the interview process with the club’s other candidates.”

- In other words, Rob Ryan will not be the hire. No specifics are available yet on what exactly the disagreement on philosophy was though one would imagine Ryan’s general preference for the 3-4 would have factored in at some capacity. The Rams run a 4-3 defense and the lack of scheme fit would be an obvious reason.

- No word on who some of the other candidates under consideration are but Coach Jeff Fisher has traditionally taken his time and played such hires close to the vest.

- The team did announce the hire of Frank Bush as linebackers coach on Tuesday.

- More on this as it comes. Thanks for reading.


Posted in From the Sidelines | 2 Comments »

Senior Bowl: Wednesday Afternoon Practice (South Squad)

Posted by nickwagoner on January 23, 2013 – 10:57 PM

MOBILE, Ala. -

- Maybe because it was the last padded practice, maybe because they’ve been out of pads until this week for nearly a month, maybe it was the nice weather, whatever it was, the South team came with by far the most competitive and entertaining practice of the week Wednesday afternoon.

- Louisiana Tech WR Quinton Patton said it was hyper competitive because it was the final padded practice before Saturday but he clearly enjoyed every minute of it. To him, it’s what this week is supposed to be about as players from all over the nation come here to compete to prove they are the best.

- Patton is one that has done that consistently, making big plays all over the field. He’s got some upside to him, no doubt.

- The battle this week between Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson and Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher as the best at the position has been a relative draw. Both have been consistently excellent and Johnson was good again on Wednesday afternoon.

- Georgia S Bacarri Rambo (who I’ll have more on later) appeared to suffer some sort of hamstring injury and he sat out the latter half of practice. Rambo had been playing solid as expected in coverage on the back end most of the week.

- BYU DE Ezekial Ansah also appeared to aggravate an injury but he came back and was able to finish out the practice.

- Ansah is an intriguing prospect for teams here because of his combination of size and athleticism but he’s still quite raw. He’s struggled a bit in pass rush drills but flashes on occasion. He’s going to be a bit of a project for any team that gets him but the upside is there.

- Cal DB Marc Anthony has been, perhaps, the best corner out of a talented lot here this week. He was solid again Wednesday and continues to show that he has the total package. He’s fast but he’s also under control at all times.

- Texas A&M linebacker Sean Porter has been solid all week as well. Porter had some nice moments in Wednesday’s practice, including a big hit on a run play in 11 on 11.

- Closer to home, Mizzou LB Zaviar Gooden had a strong afternoon Wednesday. He was all over the place in the run game, made some plays in coverage and even caught an deflected pass and returned it for a touchdown.

- Kentucky G Larry Warford said he has been working to cut weight and expects to ultimately play around 330 pounds. I’ll have more on him later this week but he’s a big, physical mauling type who might make sense for the Rams in the second or third round. His size and style would seem to be a match.

- Warford gave some funny answers to some funny questions after practice:

When asked what the best thing about being 300-plus pounds is, Warford responded “I get to sit in the front seat of cars a lot.”

When asked he worst part of being his size, Warford responded “Giving up rollercoasters.” He explained that most of the big rides have buckle systems that don’t allow for men his size to get strapped in safely.

- During the practice, the defense dominated the first part of team drills with guys flying all over the place and delivering big hits. They controlled the line of scrimmage and Georgia S Shawn Williams seemed to be firmly in the mix most of the time.

- The offense picked it up later in the practice with Florida RB Mike Gillislee once again ripping off some big runs. Gillislee has been a pleasant surprise this week. He’ll have moments where he disappears but has been good for some big runs seemingly every day.

- At QB, none of the guys look as good in this setting as Mike Glennon does for the North team. Landry Jones is probably the most consistent as E.J. Manuel of Florida State and Tyler Wilson of Arkansas have been up and down. But none have really dominated.

- That’ll do it for blog updates from here. I’ll have more feature stories coming in the next few days. Thanks for following along all week. See you back in St. Louis.


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Senior Bowl: Wednesday Morning Practice (North Squad)

Posted by nickwagoner on January 23, 2013 – 6:22 PM

MOBILE, Ala. -

- It was a beautiful morning here at Ladd-Peebles Stadium as the North team went through its final padded practice of this year’s event. With temperatures in the mid-60s, it was a good day for a number of players as they took full advantage of practicing in front of the assembled scouts and coaches. Most of the league types will head home tonight or tomorrow and then watch the tape of the game next week.

- The story of the morning was the return of New Orleans HC Sean Payton, who arrived here in Mobile and took in Wednesday morning’s practice alongside top lieutenant and fill in Joe Vitt. Payton was re-instated by the league on Tuesday and here for practice Wednesday. He held court with the media for a while after the practice.

- Oregon OL Kyle Long, brother of Chris, again did not practice Wednesday as he deals with an illness.

- Michigan WR/QB Denard Robinson was cleared for contact and wearing the normal white jersey with his teammates on Wednesday for the first time. He’s been recovering from a nerve injury in his elbow.

- Also in the house again Wednesday was South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore. Lattimore would be one of the top prospects in this year’s draft were it not for the devastating knee injury he suffered during the season. Lattimore is on the road to recovery and here to get in front of some scouts and coaches. Rams GM Les Snead even spoke to him briefly yesterday.

- Quick update on former Rams CB Travis Fisher, who I promised I’d update you on yesterday. He’s working as a DBs coach for a high school in Florida and is hoping to catch on as a scout.

- Once again, Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher impressed. He has great feet and his punch is a bit better than advertised. During some 9 on 7 run drills, Fisher was downright dominant. On one play, he took on talented Texas DE Alex Okafor and drove him into the ground with a pancake block.

- UCLA DE Datone Jones continues to be perhaps the best pass rusher on the North squad. He’s beaten Fisher a few times, including once on Wednesday morning.

- The QB situation remains questionable for this draft as a whole but NC State’s Mike Glennon is showing up this week. This atmosphere seems to be quite conducive for him because there’s no pressure, no pass rush and he can stand in the pocket and deliver. He threw one perfect deep ball down the right sideline to KSU WR Chris Harper that drew oohs and aahs from the assembled crowd. Glennon throws a pretty ball, that’s for sure.

- Another solid practice for UCLA RB Johnathan Franklin, who still looks like the best running back on the North squad and possibly here this week.

- Utah State DB Will Davis didn’t have a real strong showing but he has great potential, especially as a nickel.

- Florida International S John Cyprien is a bit of an unknown but a solid prospect on the back end. He has good speed to close on the ball and isn’t afraid to deliver a blow.

- Ohio State DE John Simon again did not practice Wednesday.

- Elon WR Aaron Mellette looks a bit awkward wearing No. 33 and playing wide receiver but he ran some good routes and made some nice plays throughout the practice. He could be an intriguing prospect.

- Harvard FB  Kyle Justzczyk might not look like a natural lead blocker but he has turned some heads this week. He’s versatile enough to get out and catch passes, shows decent burst running for a fullback and has been more than willing to try to open holes blocking. Not sure if the Rams will go back to having a full time fullback but if they do he could be an interesting prospect.

- I’ll have more on him later but UNC DT Sylvester Williams grew up in North County in St. Louis in a rough neighborhood before moving to Jefferson City to live with his sister for high school. He was a huge Rams fan and loved the Greatest Show on Turf teams and all St. Louis teams in general. He has a good story and I’ll have it all for you later on.

- That’s all for now. Don’t forget, chat is starting shortly and I’ll answer any questions you might have. I may have to cut out early because of the South practice but I’ll answer more this evening if that’s the case.

- Thanks for reading.


Posted in From the Sidelines | 1 Comment »

Senior Bowl: Tuesday Afternoon Practice (South Squad)

Posted by nickwagoner on January 22, 2013 – 10:20 PM

MOBILE, Ala. -

- The South team took its turn on the practice field this afternoon with a big crowd in attendance. It’s common practice down here for the South team to draw more attention than its northern counterparts. That’s because the South is full of SEC players and we are here smack in the middle of SEC country. This year’s team is loaded with Alabama and Georgia players, in particular.

- Let’s get the proceedings started with a couple of under the radar names that seem to be making a strong impression in the first two days.

- Perhaps no player seems to be doing that more than Rice TE Vance McDonald. McDonald wowed scouts just by showing up and checking in at 6’4, 262 pounds. But McDonald is fast, shows the ability to separate and seems to have strong route running skills. He seems to clearly be the best TE in attendance but he could make a case to be one of the top TE’s taken in April if he continues to show strong here this week.

- Another pair of smaller school guys that are drawing some eyes are Southeastern Louisiana CB Robert Alford and Louisiana Tech WR Quinton Patton. Patton apparently made some big plays in Monday’s practice and he followed with a few more during the team portion on Tuesday. Alford is a smooth athlete with a lot of upside. Those two could join Missouri Southern DT Brandon Williams as the small school standouts here this week.

- Southern Miss LB Jamie Collins did not practice with an apparent injury. Also, as expected Alabama OT D.J. Fluker did not participate and he departed Mobile because of an injury suffered while training.

- I have a strong suspicion that Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson is going to make himself a lot of money here this week. Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher is going to get much of the hype but Johnson might be right on his heels as the best tackle here and potentially the second best tackle overall when it’s all said and done. Johnson seems to be the more balanced prospect. The scary thing about Johnson is he’s only been playing football for a few years. He’s considered a bit raw as a prospect but the polish seems to be coming fast.

- Speaking of somewhat raw prospects with major upside, BYU DE Ezekial Ansah has major motor and athleticism. He hasn’t necessarily been consistently dominant and wasn’t Tuesday but you can see why NFL types are intrigued by him.

- Was told that Florida OT Xavier Nixon struggled a bit on Monday but he had a couple of nice moments on Tuesday. Nixon popped a big block to open a hole for a long run during team drills by his teammate, Florida RB Mike Gillislee.

- Gillislee has a nice afternoon, particularly in team drills. He broke some long runs and showed good burst.

- Most of the players in attendance here are pretty polished products. As seniors, that goes with the territory. But you might be hard pressed to find a more true to form, downright football player than Georgia S Shawn Williams. Bacarri Rambo might steal a lot of the headlines, maybe because he has a cool name, but Williams seems to do a little of everything and do it all well. He’s an interesting guy to watch, certainly.

- WR Terrance Williams had another good day and continued to make a case to be one of the top receivers taken or at least the top senior WR.

- Didn’t watch too much of the QBs but seemed that Florida State QB E.J. Manuel did a nice job going through his reads and delivering strikes during today’s practice.

- That’s all for today. I’ll have much more coming for the centerpiece of the site today and back in the morning with an update on the North’s final padded practice.

- Thanks for reading.


Posted in From the Sidelines | 1 Comment »

Senior Bowl: Tuesday Morning Practice (North Squad)

Posted by nickwagoner on January 22, 2013 – 7:12 PM

MOBILE, Ala. -

- Just back from this morning’s North team practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Some guys missing, some guys flashing and a whole lot of on lookers watching.

- First, from a Rams perspective, here’s something I found interesting. GM Les Snead, Director of College Scouting Taylor Morton and a couple others from the scouting staff take a little different approach to scouting here. Rather than sitting in the stands and getting a big picture view, Snead likes to be down on the field, right in the mix. It allows him to stalk the sidelines, see how guys interact and evaluate players up close. Plenty of people come down here for the networking but make no mistake, Snead and Co. are all business.

- Between after the practice interviews on the field and the formal interviews at night, the Rams will have someone talk to pretty much every player in attendance at this Senior Bowl. The formal interviews take place for about two and a half hours every night at a local hotel.

- As for today’s practice, there were a few players either not in attendance or not practicing worth noting in the morning session. Oregon OT Kyle Long, brother of Chris, was nowhere to be found during the practice. No word on his whereabouts but he wasn’t there. Same for Ohio State DT John Simon.

- Linebackers Arthur Brown (Kansas State) and Trevardo Williams (Connecticut) also did not participate in practice.

- A few former Rams are walking the bleachers here. Former wideout/safety Mike Furrey is here. He’s now the head coach at Kentucky Christian University. Although he doesn’t have a defined role yet, former Rams CB Todd Lyght is a part of the Eagles’ coaching staff and down here talking to prospects on their behalf. Another former CB, Travis Fisher, has also been spotted down here. I’ll try to catch up with him for an update.

- It’s an interesting mix this week at quarterback as none of the signal callers seem to stand above the rest. The North features Miami (Ohio)’s Zac Dysert, North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon and Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib. Glennon hit some big throws during team drills and seven on seven but nobody really seemed to stand above the rest.

- North Carolina DT Sylvester Williams is an impressive player. He’s also a St. Louis native with an interesting story. I plan to have more on him in the coming days.

- Another local guy playing DT who is drawing some buzz is Missouri Southern’s Brandon Williams. He’s built solid despite weighing in around 340 pounds and he has the look of a small school gem.

- Some talented receivers showed up for the North during the Tuesday morning practice. Oregon State’s Markus Wheaton can absolutely fly. He made some big catches down the field in team drills and during seven on sevens. Of course, nobody looks more athletic than Texas’ Marquise Goodwin. This is an Olympic level athlete with the burst and explosion that could make him a big time performer if he gets the fundamentals down.

- Kansas State WR Chris Harper brings a little different dimension. Harper has great size and strength. He’s not the fastest guy here but he’s solid and made some nice grabs.

- Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher is as advertised. A big, long limbed, quick footed tackle. Scouts say he may lack the punch and power to be a dominant run blocker but he has the pass protection skills to step in immediately.

- Michigan WR/QB Denard Robinson is still wearing the no contact jersey. He’s struggling a bit to adjust to his new position and he really struggled with trying to catch punts at the end of practice.

- Of course, everyone who tried to catch punts at the end of practice really struggled.

- Off to get a look at the South team. It seems this is where the major talent is as many of the bigger “names” reside on the South squad. Back with an update on that and much more after this practice.

- Thanks for reading.


Posted in From the Sidelines | 1 Comment »

Full List of NFL Draft Underclassmen

Posted by nickwagoner on January 22, 2013 – 3:08 PM

MOBILE, Ala. -

- Before I head to practice this morning, I wanted to post the full list of players who have been granted early eligibility for this year’s NFL Draft. A record 73 players have declared early.

- Below is the full release from the league:

The National Football League announced today the names of 73 players who have been granted special eligibility for the 2013 NFL Draft on April 25-27 in New York.

Each of the 73 players has met the league’s three-year eligibility rule and each has submitted a written application in which he renounced his remaining college football eligibility.  The deadline for receiving applications was January 15.

The NFL Draft will kick off in primetime for the fourth consecutive year.  The first round will be held on Thursday, April 25.  The second and third rounds are set for Friday, April 26.  Rounds four through seven will be held on Saturday, April 27.

The players granted special eligibility for the 2013 NFL Draft:

Number
Player
Pos.
College

1

Allen, Keenan
WR
California

2

Amerson, David
DB
North Carolina State
3

Bailey, Alvin
G
Arkansas
4

Bailey, Stedman
WR
West Virginia
5

Bakhtiari, David
T
Colorado
6

Beckford, Dwayne
LB
Purdue
7

Bell, Le’Veon
RB
Michigan State
8

Bernard, Giovani
RB
North Carolina
9

Bray, Tyler
QB
Tennessee
10

Brown, Terrence
DB
Stanford
11

Carter, Duron
WR
Ohio State
12

Davis, Knile
RB
Arkansas
13

Edwards, Mike
DB
Hawaii
14

Elam, Matt
DB
Florida
15

Ertz, Zach
TE
Stanford
16

Escobar, Gavin
TE
San Diego State
17

Faulk, Chris
T
Louisiana State
18

Floyd, Sharrif
DT
Florida
19

Ford, Michael
RB
Louisiana State
20

Frederick, Travis
C
Wisconsin
21

Geathers, Kwame
NT
Georgia
22

Gholston, William
DE
Michigan State
23

Hankins, Johnathan
DT
Ohio State
24

Harley, Jajuan
DB
Middle Tennessee
25

Hopkins, DeAndre
WR
Clemson
26

Hunter, Justin
WR
Tennessee
27

Jamison, Jawan
RB
Rutgers
28

Jefferson, Stefphon
RB
Nevada
29

Jefferson, Tony
DB
Oklahoma
30

Jenkins, Jelani
LB
Florida
31

Joeckel, Luke
T
Texas A&M
32

Jones, Jarvis
LB
Georgia
33

Jose, Jose
DT
Central Florida
34

Kruger, Joe
DE
Utah
35

Lacy, Eddie
RB
Alabama
36

Lattimore, Marcus
RB
South Carolina
37

Lemonier, Corey
DE
Auburn
38

Logan, Bennie
DT
Louisiana State
39

Maponga, Stansly
DE
Texas Christian
40

Mathieu, Tyrann
DB
Louisiana State
41

Milliner, Dee
DB
Alabama
42

Mingo, Barkevious
DE
Louisiana State
43

Minter, Kevin
LB
Louisiana State
44

Montgomery, Sam
DE
Louisiana State
45

Moore, Brandon
DT
Texas
46

Moore, Damontre
DE
Texas A&M
47

Ogletree, Alec
LB
Georgia
48

Patterson, Cordarrelle
WR
Tennessee
49

Randle, Bradley
RB
Nevada-Las Vegas
50

Randle, Joseph
RB
Oklahoma State
51

Reed, Jordan
TE
Florida
52

Reid, Eric
DB
Louisiana State
53

Reid, Greg
DB
Florida State
54

Rhodes, Xavier
DB
Florida State
55

Richardson, Sheldon
DT
Missouri
56

Robey, Nickell
DB
Southern California
57

Ryan, Logan
DB
Rutgers
58

Sanders, Ace
WR
South Carolina
59

Sentimore, Darrington
DT
Tennessee
60

Simon, Tharold
DB
Louisiana State
61

Sims, Dion
TE
Michigan State
62

Spence, Akeem
DT
Illinois
63

Stills, Kenny
WR
Oklahoma
64

Toilolo, Levine
TE
Stanford
65

Ware, Spencer
RB
Louisiana State
66

Watson, Menelik
T
Florida State
67

Werner, Bjoern
DE
Florida State
68

Williams, Steve
DB
California
69

Wilson, Marquess
WR
Washington State
70

Wing, Brad
P
Louisiana State
71

Wood, Cierre
RB
Notre Dame
72

Woods, Robert
WR
Southern California
73

Wort, Tom
LB
Oklahoma

# # #


Posted in From the Sidelines | 1 Comment »

Senior Bowl Festivities Underway

Posted by nickwagoner on January 22, 2013 – 3:26 AM

MOBILE, Ala. -

- Greetings from Mobile, where they claim one of the nation’s largest Mardi Gras parties but for this week at least is the home to the premiere annual College All Star game, the Senior Bowl.

- Practices got underway today and though I wasn’t able to arrive until early this evening, there is already some news to report in terms of the roster.

- First, a player I know many Rams fans are interested in is Alabama OT D.J. Fluker. The big man weighed in this morning, checking in around 6’5, 356 pounds but I’m told his 356 isn’t like former Tide tackle Andre Smith and Fluker is built much more solidly. Unfortunately, reports tonight indicate that will be all for him this week in Mobile and he has already taken off to head home and train for the combine and the draft.

- Also, a few players on the listed roster on the Senior Bowl website were late scratches. That includes Texas S Kenny Vaccaro and Wisconsin RB Montee Ball (also a St. Louis native).

- I’ll do a full roster check with the rundown tomorrow. Also, for those planning, we’ll have a Senior Bowl chat on Wednesday this week. I’m thinking a 12:30 Eastern time start so get your questions in now.

- One thing that jumps out about this Senior Bowl and this year’s draft in general is a lack of pop at the top. There’s not the usual clear cut top guys at many positions. That makes weeks like this one fun. There are a number of positions to watch this week where guys can start to separate from others.

- Perhaps no spot will be better for that than offensive tackle. Even without Fluker, Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson, Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher, Wisconsin’s Ricky Wagner and many more are still here jockeying for position behind Texas A&M stud Luke Joeckel.

- Spoke to Fisher at tonight’s media night. An impressive looking kid who is genuinely excited to be here and represent a MAC school. He takes great pride in following the footsteps of Joe Staley, the Super Bowl bound left tackle of the San Francisco 49ers.

- Coming tomorrow, I’ll have a big piece on Oregon OL Kyle Long, the brother of Rams DE Chris. He has an interesting story and he explains why he could no longer put off joining the “family business.”

- Long is an intriguing prospect in his own right. He started at left tackle for the Ducks but when injuries hit, kicked inside to guard. He can play both tackle spots and his versatility is valuable. As for playing for the Rams, he says he’d love to play with his brother but of course, he isn’t dead set on it and would be happy to play anywhere.

- Another interesting position that the Rams could have interest in is safety. Right now, there is no consensus on the top guy though Vaccaro seems to be the early leader in the clubhouse. Still, there is a lot of movement possible there and some contenders are in attendance. Guys like USC’s T.J. McDonald, Georgia’s Bacarri Rambo and South Carolina’s D.J. Swearinger are here and looking to make a statement.

- Spoke to Rambo, who aside from winning the awesome surname award, is here on a mission to prove he is more than just a ballhawk. I’ll have plenty on him later this week but Rambo said he knows the perception is that he can’t tackle and he has come to Mobile to prove that perception wrong. By the same token, he’s also not shying away from his ballhawking reputation. He believes that’s a God given skill that one can’t be taught.

- Baylor WR Terrance Williams was an interesting fellow in his own right. Williams credited his coaches for allowing the Bears offense to continue to thrive even without RG3 at QB. He also made it very clear that he intends to differentiate himself in what is a receiver class with no clear cut star. He wants to be the top wideout drafted.

- Georgia DT John Jenkins wins the early award for player who is the most overwhelmingly massive. He’s a large man.

- Michigan QB/WR Denard Robinson seems happy to be here and not upset with playing a position other than his normal quarterback spot. That’s a bit refreshing because not all players in his spot have moved as graciously. He cited Green Bay’s Randall Cobb as a prime example for him to follow.

- Rumor has it Purdue DT Kawann Short made quite the impression today.

- Oh, second prize in the massive human being contest is Kentucky G Larry Warford. I know there’s been a lot of talk amongst Rams fans about Alabama’s super impressive OG prospect Chance Warmack but Warford could be an interesting prospect. He’s big and physical and figures to be there into the second round. He’s the most touted interior prospect here this week and should be worth following.

- Some really talented RBs in the house this week as well, including UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin and Oregon’s Kenjon Barner, among others. Barner seemed like a genuine kid excited to be here and show the football world what he can do. He didn’t get a ton of credit for making that Oregon offense go but he had a heck of a year.

- Interesting to note, dismissed LSU DB Tyrann Mathieu aka The Honey Badger, is in town to meet with teams this week and do some damage control.

- Plenty more to come the rest of the week as I’ll be here through Thursday with multiple updates each day, insight from scouts and much more.

- The Rams contingent is here already though I’m told coach Jeff Fisher is not in attendance as he tends to other business (such as defensive coordinator hire). GM Les Snead and his group is here and doing the legwork though so we’ll try to catch up before the week is out.

- In the meantime, thanks for reading and talk to you all tomorrow.


Posted in From the Sidelines | 1 Comment »

Hall of Fame Announces Finalists

Posted by nickwagoner on January 11, 2013 – 4:39 PM

- The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 15 final nominees for this year’s induction class on Friday morning and three former Rams made the cut. Linebacker Kevin Greene, defensive back Aeneas Williams and running back Jerome Bettis are all former Rams to have made the cut.

- All three split many of their career achievements between the Rams and another franchise. Bettis and Greene were probably more known for their work in Pittsburgh than with the Rams and likewise for Williams with the Cardinals. Still, all three at one point or another played integral roles in the Rams’ story. Keep in mind, unlike the baseball Hall of Fame, players don’t go in as a “representative” of any team. There are no helmets on the busts or hats on their head. Players just go in as players so no need to debate whether, say, Williams would go in as a Ram or a Cardinal.

- Here’s the official release from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton:

15 MODERN-ERA FINALISTS

FOR HALL OF FAME ELECTION ANNOUNCED

Four first-year eligible nominees – Larry Allen, Jonathan Ogden, Warren Sapp, and Michael Strahan – are among the 15 modern-era finalists who will be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when the Hall’s Selection Committee meets in New Orleans, La. on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013.

Joining the first-year eligible, are eight other modern-era players, a coach and two contributors. The 15 modern-era finalists, along with the two senior nominees announced in August 2012 (former Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Oilers defensive tackle Curley Culp and former Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins linebacker Dave Robinson) will be the only candidates considered for Hall of Fame election when the 46-member Selection Committee meets.

The 15 modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall’s Selection Committee from a list of 127 nominees that earlier was reduced to a list of 27 semifinalists, during the multi-step, year-long selection process.  Culp and Robinson were selected as senior candidates by the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee. The Seniors Committee reviews the qualifications of those players whose careers took place more than 25 years ago. 

To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee’s 17 finalists (15 modern-era and two senior nominees*) with their positions, teams, and years active follow:

  • Larry Allen Guard/Tackle – 1994-2005 Dallas Cowboys; 2006-07 San Francisco 49ers
  • Jerome Bettis – Running Back – 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams; 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Tim Brown – Wide Receiver/Kick Returner/Punt 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
  • Curley Culp* 1968-1974 Kansas City Chiefs; 1974-1980 Houston Oilers; 1980-81 Detroit Lions
  • Edward DeBartolo, Jr. – Owner – 1977-2000 San Francisco 49ers
  • Kevin Greene – Linebacker/Defensive End – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams;  1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers; 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers; 1997 San Francisco 49ers
  • Charles Haley – Defensive End/Linebacker – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers; 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
  • Art Modell – Owner – 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns; 1996-2011 Baltimore Ravens
  • Jonathan Ogden Tackle – 1996-2007 Baltimore Ravens
  • Bill Parcells – Coach – 1983-1990 New York Giants; 1993-96 New England Patriots; 1997-99 New York Jets; 2003-06 Dallas Cowboys
  • Andre Reed – Wide Receiver – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills; 2000 Washington Redskins
  • Dave Robinson* 1963-1972 Green Bay Packers; 1973-74 Washington Redskins
  • Warren Sapp Defensive Tackle – 1995-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 2004-07 Oakland Raiders
  • Will Shields – Guard – 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs
  • Michael Strahan – Defensive End – 1993-2007 New York Giants
  • Aeneas Williams – Cornerback/Safety – 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals; 2001-04 St. Louis Rams

Other than the four first-year eligible nominees, all of the modern-era nominees have been finalists in previous years.  Although they have been nominees in previous years, this is the first time the two senior nominees, Culp and Robinson, have been finalists.

YEARS OF ELIGIBILITY

To be eligible for election, modern-era players and coaches must be retired at least five consecutive seasons. Contributors need not be retired.

Allen, Ogden, Sapp and Strahan are in their first year of eligibility. Parcells and Shields are in their second year of eligibility and Bettis is in his third. This is the fourth year of eligibility for Brown and Williams, the sixth for Carter and eighth for Reed. Greene and Haley have both been eligible for nine years. Robinson has been eligible for election for 34 years and Culp 27.

SELECTION MEETING AND ANNOUNCEMENT

The Selection Committee will meet in New Orleans, La. on Saturday, February 2, 2013, to elect the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013. The election results will be announced at 5:30 p.m. ET (4:30 local time) during a one-hour NFL Network special, live from the Super Bowl Media Center.

At the 2013 selection meeting, the selectors will thoroughly discuss the careers of each finalist. Although there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s current ground rules stipulate that between four and seven new members will be selected each year. No more than five modern-era nominees can be elected in a given year and a class of six or seven can only be achieved if one or both senior nominees are elected. Representatives of the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche will tabulate all votes during the meeting.

At the announcement, Pro Football Hall of Fame President/Executive Director Steve Perry will be presented with an envelope containing the names of the nominees elected. Each newly elected member will be contacted immediately by the Hall of Fame. Members of the Class of 2013 in New Orleans for the Super Bowl will be asked to join the live announcement show. Those not able to attend will be asked to join via teleconference.

CLASS OF 2013 17 FINALISTS

Larry Allen

Guard/Tackle … 6-3, 325 … Sonoma State, Butte Junior College (CA) … 1994-2005 Dallas Cowboys, 2006-07 San Francisco 49ers … 14 seasons, 203 games … Selected by Cowboys in 2nd round (46th player overall) of 1994 draft … Versatile, played every position on offensive line except center during 12 seasons with Dallas … Led way in second season for Emmitt Smith who set Cowboys’ franchise record with 1,773 yards … Started at right guard in two NFC championship games and Super Bowl XXX victory … Named NFL Alumni’s Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1997 and the NFL Players Association NFC Lineman of the Year twice (1996-97) … Named first-team All-Pro seven straight years … First-team All-NFC six times, second-team once … Moved to tackle late in 1997 and entire 1998 season, earned All-Pro honors at position … Signed as free agent with San Francisco in 1996 … First season with 49ers led way for Frank Gore who set team single-season rushing record (1,695 yards) … Elected to 11 Pro Bowls … Named to NFL All-Decade Teams of 1990s and 2000s … Born November 27, 1971 in Los Angeles, California.

Jerome Bettis

Running Back … 5-11, 243 … Notre Dame … 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers … 13 seasons, 192 games … Selected by Rams in 1st round (10th player overall) of 1993 draft … Earned Rookie of Year honors … Finished rookie season with seventh best rookie rushing total in league history… As rookie finished second in rushing yards and third in total yards from scrimmage … First Rams rookie to rush for 1,000 yards since Eric Dickerson, 1983 … Rams leading rusher 1993-95 … Steelers leading rusher 1996-2001, 2003-04 … Steelers leader in total yards from scrimmage, 1996-2001 … His fifty 100-plus yard games ranks 1st in Steelers history … At time of retirement, his eight 1,000-plus yard seasons was tied for third-best in NFL history and his 13,662 ranked fifth all-time in career rushing yards … Ranked 19th all-time in combined net yards at time of retirement … Voted to Pro Bowl six times: 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2005 … Named All-Pro in 1993 (AP, PFWA), 1996 (AP); All-Pro Second Team 1997 (AP); All-NFC 1993 (UPI, PW); All-AFC 1996 (UPI, PW), 1997 (PW) … Born February 16, 1972 in Detroit, Michigan.

Tim Brown

Wide Receiver/Kick Returner/Punt Returner … 6-0, 195 … Notre Dame … 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers … 17 seasons, 255 games … Heisman Trophy Winner … Selected by Raiders in 1st round (6th player overall) of 1988 draft … As rookie led NFL in kickoff returns, return yards, and yards per return average  …  Led NFL in receptions, 1997 … Set Raiders franchise records for receptions, receiving yards, and punt return yards … At time of retirement his 14,934 receiving yards were second-highest total in NFL history; 1,094 receptions were 3rd; and 100 touchdown catches were tied for 3rd … Also gained 190 rushing yards; 3,320 punt return yards, 3 fumble return yards; 1,235 kickoff return yards … Total of 19,682 combined net yards, 5th all-time at time of retirement … Scored 105 total touchdowns (100 receiving, 1 rushing, 3 punt returns, 1 kickoff return) … Voted to Pro Bowl nine times, 1989 and 1992 as kick returner, 1994-98, 2000 and 2002 as a receiver … All-Pro choice as a kick returner, 1988 … All-Pro wide receiver, 1997 … Was named All-AFC as a kick returner, 1988, punt returner, 1991, and wide receiver, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997 … Born July 22, 1966 in Dallas, Texas.

Cris Carter

Wide Receiver … 6-3, 202 … Ohio State … 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins … 16 seasons, 234 games … Selected by Philadelphia in the 4th round of the 1987 Supplemental Draft … First reception as a pro was a 22-yard touchdown catch … Durable; he played a full 16-game season in 13 of his 16 seasons … In 2000, became only the second player in NFL history to catch 1,000 career passes … Recorded 1,000 receiving yards in a season eight straight years … Broke the 100-yard receiving plateau 42 times during his career … Ranked second on the NFL’s all-time list for total receptions (1,101) and receiving touchdowns (130) at retirement … His 130 TD receptions came from 13 different passers … Caught 70-plus passes in 10 seasons … His 122 receptions in 1994 was a then-NFL single-season-record … Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s and received the 1999 NFL Man of the Year Award … In 2002, returned to the field when he joined the Miami Dolphins in midseason when injuries decimated team’s receiving corps … Was first- or second-team All-Pro 1994, 1995, and 1999 … Selected to play in eight Pro Bowls (1994-2001) … Born November 25, 1965, in Troy, Ohio.

Curley Culp

Defensive Tackle … 6-2, 265 … Arizona State … 1968-1974 Kansas City Chiefs, 1974-1980 Houston Oilers, 1980-81 Detroit Lions … 14 seasons, 179 games … Selected in 2nd round (31st player overall) in 1968 draft by Denver Broncos … Denver attempted to switch him to offense before trading him to Chiefs during training camp … Fit in perfectly with Chiefs’ dominating defense … Member of team’s Super Bowl IV championship team in second season,  … Started at left defensive tackle in Super Bowl win over Vikings and registered three tackles, one assisted tackle … Dealt to Houston Oilers in blockbuster trade during 1974 season … Key veteran leader with 11.5 sacks to help Oilers to 10-4-0 record in his first full season with club … Winning record in ’75 was Oilers first winning season in eight years and just second in 13 seasons …. Named NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year by Newspaper Enterprise Association, 1975 … Culp led defense that helped Oilers earn back-to-back appearances in AFC championship game, 1978-79 … Named All-Pro, 1975 … All-Pro Second Team 1971, 1977, 1978, and 1979 …. First- or second-team All-AFC five times … Elected to six Pro Bowls … Born March 10, 1946 in Yuma, Arizona.

Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr.

Owner … Notre Dame … 1977-2000 San Francisco 49ers … Purchased 49ers in 1977 with vision to create top-notch organization, on and off field … Known as a “players’ owner,” led franchise to unprecedented winning during tenure … In 1979, hired Bill Walsh as team’s head coach, drafted quarterback Joe Montana, and created atmosphere conducive to winning … Fortunes of franchise changed soon thereafter … In 1981, 49ers finished 13-3 to claim NFC Western Division title and won hard fought playoff battles with New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys and capped the year with a thrilling 26-21 victory over Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI … DeBartolo infused team roster with talent that resulted in San Francisco enjoying amazing string of winning seasons … Team averaged 13 wins per season, including playoffs, during a span from 1981 to 1998 (not including strike-shortened 1982 season). During DeBartolo’s ownership team claimed 13 division titles, made 16 playoff appearances, advanced to NFC championship game 10 times, and was first franchise ever to win five Super Bowls (XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV, XXIX) … Franchise posted the best winning percentage in NFL in both the decades of the 1980s and 1990s … Was named NFL Man of the Year by Football News, 1989 as the nation’s top sports executive … DeBartolo was also highly respected inside NFL circles and served on league’s realignment and expansion committees … Born November 6, 1946 in Youngstown, Ohio.

Kevin Greene

Linebacker/Defensive End … 6-3, 247 … Auburn … 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers … 15 seasons, 228 games … Selected by Rams in 5th round (113th player overall) in 1985 draft … Played primarily on special teams as rookie, only season he didn’t register a sack  … Did not have any starts in second season, but played in all 16 games and managed seven sacks … Added 6.5 sacks in 1987 and by fourth season was bona fide pass rusher for Rams, registering career-high 16.5 sacks, including career-best 4.5 sacks in win over 49ers in season finale that clinched playoff spot for Rams … Following year matched his 16.5 sacks total … Had double-digit sack totals 10 times, second in record book at the time … Only time missed recording 10 sacks in any of last eight seasons was 1995 when he had team-leading nine sacks for Steelers … Named to Pro Bowl five times (once with the Rams, twice with Steelers and Panthers) … Selected first-team All-Pro, 1989 with Rams, 1994 with Pittsburgh and 1996 with Carolina … Captured league sack title twice, 1994 and 1996 … A member of NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1990s … Played in six conference championship games and one Super Bowl … Led team in sacks 11 times and amassed 160 total sacks, third all-time at time of retirement … Also had three safeties, 26 opponent fumble recoveries, and five interceptions … Born July 31, 1962 in New York, New York.

Charles Haley

Defensive End/Linebacker … 6-5, 242 … James Madison … 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys … 12 seasons, 169 games … Selected by 49ers in 4th round (96th player overall) in 1986 draft … Only player in NFL history to play on five winning Super Bowl teams (XXIII, XXIV, XXVII, XXVIII, XXX) … Began career at linebacker and led 49ers in sacks in each of first six seasons … Recorded four double-digit sack totals with 49ers including 12 as rookie and career-high 16 in 1990 … Moved to defensive end after trade to Dallas … Added two more double-digit sack seasons, 1994, 1995 … Suffered serious back injury, limited to just five games, 1996 … Retired after undergoing surgery … After a two-year hiatus, signed with 49ers as backup defensive end for two playoff games in 1998 … In 1999 came back for final season, added three sacks to finish career with 100.5 … Twice named NFC Defensive Player of the Year (1990, 1994), voted to five Pro Bowls, named All-Pro twice, once as linebacker, once as defensive end … Played in six NFC championship games over seven seasons … Starting at left outside linebacker in 49ers 1988, 1989, 1990 championship games; at right defensive end in Cowboys’ 1992, 1993, 1994  conference championships … Member of 10 division championship teams during his 12 seasons … Born January 6, 1964 in Gladys, Virginia.

Art Modell

Owner … 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-2011 Baltimore Ravens … Spent 43 seasons of full ownership in NFL … Purchased Browns in 1961 for unprecedented $4 million … By 1964, club won NFL championship with dominating 27-0 victory over Baltimore Colts … Also played in league championship in 1965, 1968, 1969 … Served as NFL President, 1967-69 … Integral in breaking impasse for realignment after AFL-NFL merger … Influential chairman of the NFL’s Broadcast Committee for 31 years (1962-1993) … Negotiated major network contracts that set standard for all of professional sports … Integral in establishing Monday Night Football series, 1970 … Cleveland earned seven playoff berths during 1980s … Advanced to AFC championship game three times in four seasons, 1986-89 … Relocated team to Baltimore, 1996; franchise remained in Cleveland … Five seasons later, Ravens defeated New York Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV … In all, Browns made seven NFL/AFC championship game appearances; Ravens played in three AFC championship appearance during Modell’s tenure … Sold majority ownership of Ravens in 2004, stayed part of ownership group until his death … Born June 23, 1925 in Brooklyn, New York … Died September 6, 2012, at age of 87.

Jonathan Ogden

Tackle … 6-9, 345 … UCLA … 1996-2007 Baltimore Ravens … 12 seasons, 177 games … First-ever draft pick by Ravens … Taken in 1st round (4th player overall) in 1996 draft … Won Outland Trophy Award as top lineman in college … Instant starter for Baltimore, earned All-Rookie honors … Leader of offensive line that helped Ravens amass more than 5,000 yards of offense in back-to-back seasons, 1996-97 … Noted as strong pass protector as well as effective run blocker … Led way for running back Jamal Lewis who became fifth player in NFL history to rush for 2000 yards in a season, 2003 … Key blocker for Lewis’ then-record 295 rushing yards versus Cleveland Browns, Sept. 14, 2003 … Started at left tackle in Ravens’ 16-3 win over Oakland Raiders in 2000 AFC Championship Game and 34-7 victory over New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV … NFL Alumni’s NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year, 2002 … Named All-Pro in 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2006 … Earned All-AFC honors nine times … Voted to 11 Pro Bowls … Selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of 2000s … Born July 31, 1974 in Washington, D.C.

Bill Parcells

Coach … Colgate, Wichita State … 1983-1990 New York Giants, 1993-1996 New England Patriots, 1997-99 New York Jets, 2003-06 Dallas Cowboys … 19 seasons, 303 games … Regular season record: 172-130-1 … Postseason record: 11-8 … Overall record: 183-138-1 … Parcells reversed the fortunes of four NFL teams … After a 3-12-1 season (1983), he took Giants to playoffs twice as Wild Card … In 1986 led Giants to 14-2 record and defeated Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI … Led Giants to NFC Eastern Division title in 1989 … In 1990 won second world championship with dramatic victory over Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV … Left coaching for two years, returning in 1993 with New England Patriots … Within two years led Patriots to playoffs after seven-year absence … Two years later, 11-5 Patriots were AFC representative in Super Bowl XXXI … In 1997 took over 1-15 New York Jets and led them to 9-7 record in 1997, 12-4 record and AFC championship game in 1998 for the best two-year turnaround of a 1-15 team in NFL history … Coached Dallas Cowboys from 2003 until 2006 … Became first coach to coach four different teams into the playoffs when his 10-6 Cowboys played in the 2003 Wild Card Game … NFL Coach of the Year 1986, 1994 … Born August 22, 1941 in Englewood, New Jersey. 

Andre Reed

Wide Receiver … 6-2, 190 … Kutztown … 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins … 16 seasons, 234 games … Selected by Buffalo in 4th round (86th player overall) of 1985 NFL Draft … Most prolific receiver in Buffalo Bills history … His 941 career receptions still Bills record and 266 more than number two on that list … His 13,095 career reception yardage, 36 games with 100-plus receiving yards, and 15 catches in a game are current team records … Known for his “yards after catch” … His 951 career receptions were third all-time in NFL history at the time of his retirement … His 13 seasons, including nine consecutive, with 50-plus receptions was exceeded only by Jerry Rice at time of Reed’s retirement … Reed is tied with Bills running back Thurman Thomas for team best career touchdowns (87), most on passes from Jim Kelly … Kelly-Reed tandem held NFL record for career receptions (663) until 2004 when eclipsed by Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison … Known for toughness as he made most of his receptions over the middle … A four-time All-AFC choice and three-time All-NFL second-team, was selected to play in seven consecutive Pro Bowls (1989-1995) … Added an additional 85 catches for 1,229 yards, including five 100-yard games in postseason play … Born January 29, 1964 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Dave Robinson

Linebacker … 6-3, 245 … Penn State … 1963-1972 Green Bay Packers, 1973-74 Washington Redskins … 12 seasons, 155 games … Selected in 1st round (14th player overall) by Packers in 1963 NFL Draft … Chosen in 3rd round (17th player overall) by San Diego Chargers in AFL Draft … Signed with Green Bay and quickly built reputation as big-play performer on Vince Lombardi-coached Packers dynasty … Started at left outside linebacker in three straight NFL championship wins, 1965-67 … Starting OLB in Packers victories in Super Bowls I and II … Recorded two tackles, five assisted tackles, one fumble recovery and pass defensed in Green Bay’s 33-14 win over Oakland Raiders, Super Bowl II … Rebounded from Achilles tendon injury in 1970 to regain form as one of game’s finest linebackers … Intercepted 27 passes which he returned for 449 yards in career … Lone interception return for touchdown came in first season with Washington … Named All-Pro second-team in 1968 and 1969 … First-team All-NFL selection three straight seasons, 1967-69 … Elected to three Pro Bowls … Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1970s … Born May 3, 1941 in Mt. Holly, New Jersey.

Warren Sapp

Defensive Tackle … 6-2, 300 … Miami (FL) … 1995-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Oakland Raiders … 13 seasons, 198 games … Selected in first round (12th player overall) by Tampa Bay in 1995 NFL Draft … Instant starter … Named to All-Rookie Team, 1995 … Amassed 96.5 career sacks despite playing on interior of defensive line … Recorded double-digit sack totals four times … Had more than one sack in a game 23 times … Named 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the Year after helping lead Tampa Bay to first division title in 18 years … Registered 12.5 sacks, 54 tackles, three forced fumbles, and recovered two fumbles, 1999 … Recorded career-high 16.5 sacks, 2000 … Started in two NFC championship games, one Super Bowl … Recorded two tackles, one sack, two passes defensed, and forced fumble in Bucs’ 48-21 win over Raiders, Super Bowl XXXVII … Additional career statistics include four interceptions, two touchdown receptions … First-team All-Pro four straight times (1999-2002) … Second-team All-NFL in 1997, 1998 … All-NFC five times … Selected to seven Pro Bowls … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Teams of the 1990s, 2000s … Born December 19, 1972 in Orlando, Florida.

Will Shields

Guard … 6-3, 320 … Nebraska … 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs … 14 seasons, 224 games … Selected by Chiefs in 3rd round (74th player overall) of 1993 draft … Placed into lineup in first NFL game after starting left guard suffered injury … Next week was inserted as starting right guard … Started every game from that point through retirement … Never missed a game during 14-season career, 224 games played, 223 starts are franchise records … As rookie helped Chiefs to an 11-5-0 mark and AFC Western Division crown, first division title for team since 1971 … Chiefs won four division titles and made six playoff appearances during Shields’ career … Earned 12 straight Pro Bowl berths … Named first-team All-Pro in 1999, 2002, and 2003, picked as second-team All-Pro four times … Was All-AFC seven times including each of final six seasons … Chiefs led NFL in total yards gained in 2004 and 2005 and topped AFC in that category in 2003 … Led NFL in points scored in 2002 and 2003 highlighted by running back Priest Holmes’ then-record 27 rushing touchdowns in ’03 … In 1994, Chiefs offensive line established a franchise record allowing a mere 19 sacks … A member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s … Joined Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Thomas in 1999 as only active players named to Chiefs’ 40th Anniversary Team … Born September 15, 1971 in Fort Riley, Kansas.

Michael Strahan

Defensive End … 6-5, 255 … Texas Southern … 1993-2007 New York Giants … 15 seasons, 216 games … Selected in 2nd round (40th player overall) in 1993 draft … Dominant pass rusher and also excellent at defending the run … Recorded 141.5 career sacks … Had 38 multi-sack games during career … Registered double-digit sack totals six times during nine-season span, 1997-2005 … Suffered torn pectoral muscle in 2004 but rebounded following season by starting all 16 games and amassing 11.5 sacks … Named first-team All-Pro five times (1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005) … All-NFC five seasons … Voted to seven Pro Bowls … Set NFL single-season sack record with 22.5 sacks, 2001 … Also won NFL sack title in 2003 with 18.5 sacks … Named unanimous NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 2001 … Started at left defensive end in two NFC championship game wins, two Super Bowls … Recorded two tackles, one assisted tackle, one sack and one pass defensed in Giants’ 17-14 win over Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, his last NFL game … Selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s … Born November 21, 1971 in Houston, Texas.

Aeneas Williams

Cornerback/Safety … 5-11, 194 … Southern University … 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams … 14 seasons, 211 games … Selected in the 3rd round (59th player overall) of 1991 NFL Draft … One of finest defensive backs ever … Starred at cornerback for first 12 years of career before moving to safety … Earned Pro Bowl nods at both positions, seven times at cornerback and once as safety … Had first career pick and four deflected passes in NFL debut … Finished year tied for most interceptions in NFC with six, also recorded 17 passes defensed, 48 tackles … Named NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year by NFL Players Association … Earned Pro Bowl nod and All-NFC acclaim for first time in 1994 when he added another conference interception title with career-high nine interceptions … Named first-team All-NFC 1995, 1996, 1997, and 2001 … Selected to NFL’s All-Decade Team 1990s … Recorded interception in every season but last and had five or more picks in a season six times … Led Cardinals in interceptions seven times and Rams leading interceptor in 2003 … In all, registered 55 interceptions for 807 yards … His nine pick-sixes tied him for second all-time at time of retirement … Shared NFL record for longest fumble return in upset victory over Redskins Nov. 5, 2000, 104 yards for a TD … Recorded interception in record four straight postseason games during span from 1998 to 2001 … Started at left cornerback for St. Louis in 2001 NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl XXXVI … Born January 29, 1968 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

 

IF ELECTED … SPECIAL NOTES ON 2013 FINALISTS

THE ROSTER OF HALL OF FAME MEMBERS COULD INCREASE FOR 15 NFL TEAMS

The Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants, and San Francisco 49ers have two finalists who spent a significant part of their careers with the team. The Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers each have one finalist who spent all or a significant part of their careers with that team. From this year’s list only three players and one owner – Ogden, Shields, Strahan and DeBartolo, Jr. – spent their entire NFL career with just one team. 

 If elected …

Larry Allen and/or Charles Haley would be the 14th and/or 15th Dallas Cowboys elected to the Hall of Fame. Troy Aikman, Tony Dorsett, Bob Hayes, Michael Irvin, Tom Landry, Bob Lilly, Mel Renfro, Deion Sanders, Tex Schramm, Emmitt Smith, Roger Staubach, Randy White, and Rayfield Wright are the current Cowboys Hall of Fame members.

Jerome Bettis would be the 21st longtime Pittsburgh Steelers member elected to the Hall of Fame. Other Steelers Hall of Famers include Mel Blount, Terry Bradshaw, Jack Butler, Dermontti Dawson, Bill Dudley, Joe Greene, Jack Ham, Franco Harris, John Henry Johnson, Walt Kiesling, Jack Lambert, Bobby Layne, Chuck Noll, Art Rooney, Dan Rooney, John Stallworth, Ernie Stautner, Lynn Swann, Mike Webster, and Rod Woodson. 

Tim Brown would be the 14th Oakland/Los Angeles Raider elected to the Hall of Fame.  He would join Marcus Allen, Fred Biletnikoff, George Blanda, Willie Brown, Dave Casper, Al Davis, Mike Haynes, Ted Hendricks, Howie Long, John Madden, Jim Otto, Art Shell, and Gene Upshaw.

Cris Carter would be the 12th Minnesota Viking elected to the Hall of Fame. He would join Chris Doleman, Carl Eller, Jim Finks, Bud Grant, Paul Krause, Randall McDaniel, Alan Page, John Randle, Fran Tarkenton, Ron Yary, and Gary Zimmerman.

Curley Culp and/or Will Shields would be the 10th and/or 11th longtime member of the Kansas City Chiefs to be elected. They would join Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan, Len Dawson, Lamar Hunt, Willie Lanier, Jan Stenerud, Hank Stram, Derrick Thomas, and Emmitt Thomas.

Curley Culp would be the 8th longtime member of the Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers franchise, joining Elvin Bethea, George Blanda, Earl Campbell, Ken Houston, Bruce Matthews, Warren Moon, and Mike Munchak.

Edward DeBartolo, Jr. and/or Charles Haley would be the 14th and/or 15th member of the San Francisco 49ers elected to the Hall of Fame. They would join 13 other 49ers Hall of Fame members including Fred Dean, Jimmy Johnson, Ronnie Lott, Hugh McElhenny, Joe Montana, Leo Nomellini, Joe Perry, Jerry Rice, Bob St. Clair, Y.A. Tittle, Bill Walsh, Dave Wilcox, and Steve Young.

Kevin Greene would become the 16th longtime St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams member elected to the Hall of Fame. He would join 15 previously elected Rams Hall of Famers including George Allen, Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Tom Fears, Elroy Hirsch, Deacon Jones, Tom Mack, Ollie Matson, Merlin Olsen, Dan Reeves, Les Richter, Jackie Slater, Norm Van Brocklin, Bob Waterfield, and Jack Youngblood.

Art Modell and/or Jonathan Ogden would be the 1st and/or 2nd longtime Baltimore Ravens elected to the Hall of Fame. 

Art Modell would become the 17th Cleveland Browns Hall of Fame member.  Modell would join Jim Brown, Paul Brown, Joe DeLamielleure, Len Ford, Frank Gatski, Otto Graham, Lou Groza, Gene Hickerson, Leroy Kelly, Dante Lavelli, Mike McCormack, Bobby Mitchell, Marion Motley, Ozzie Newsome, Paul Warfield, and Bill Willis.

Bill Parcells and/or Michael Strahan would be the 19th and/or 20th longtime New York Giants member elected to the Hall of Fame. They would join Morris “Red” Badgro, Roosevelt Brown, Harry Carson, Benny Friedman, Frank Gifford, Mel Hein, Sam Huff, Alphonse “Tuffy” Leemans, Tim Mara, Wellington Mara, Steve Owen, Andy Robustelli, Ken Strong, Fran Tarkenton, Lawrence Taylor, Y.A. Tittle, Emlen Tunnell, and Arnie Weinmeister. Parcells also spent shorter stints with the New England Patriots, New York Jets, and Dallas Cowboys.

Dave Robinson would be the 22nd member of the Green Bay Packers elected to the Hall of Fame.  He would join Herb Adderley, Tony Canadeo, Willie Davis, Forrest Gregg, Arnie Herber, Clarke Hinkle, Paul Hornung, Cal Hubbard, Don Hutson, Henry Jordan, Curly Lambeau, James Lofton, Vince Lombardi, Johnny (Blood) McNally, Mike Michalske, Ray Nitschke, Jim Ringo, Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, Reggie White and Willie Wood. 

Andre Reed would be the 9th Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame member. He would join Joe DeLamielleure, Jim Kelly, Marv Levy, Billy Shaw, O.J. Simpson, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, and Ralph Wilson, Jr. 

Warren Sapp would be the 2nd longtime Tampa Bay Buccaneers member of the Hall of Fame.  Lee Roy Selmon is the other.

Aeneas Williams would be the 12th member of the Cardinals (Chicago/St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona) franchise to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Cardinals in the Hall of Fame include Charles Bidwill, Jimmy Conzelman, Dan Dierdorf, John “Paddy” Driscoll, Dick “Night Train” Lane, Ollie Matson, Ernie Nevers, Jackie Smith, Charley Trippi, Roger Wehrli, and Larry Wilson.

THE MODERN-ERA POSITION ROSTER WILL CHANGE AFTER 2013 ELECTION

(The Modern-Era is defined as a majority of an enshrinee’s career occurred after 1946)

If elected …

Larry Allen (also T) and/or Will Shields would become the 14th and/or 15th guards elected to the Hall of Fame. They would join Joe DeLamielleure, Russ Grimm, John Hannah, Gene Hickerson, Stan Jones (also T-DT), Larry Little, Tom Mack, Bruce Matthews (also C-T), Randall McDaniel, Mike Munchak, Jim Parker (G-T), Billy Shaw, and Gene Upshaw.    

Jonathan Ogden would become the 20th tackle to earn election into the Hall of Fame. Other Hall of Fame tackles include Bob Brown, Roosevelt Brown, Lou Creekmur (also G), Dan Dierdorf, Forrest Gregg (also G), Lou Groza (also PK), Stan Jones (also G-DT), Bruce Matthews (also G-C), Mike McCormack, Ron Mix, Anthony Muñoz, Jim Parker (also G), Willie Roaf, Bob St. Clair, Art Shell, Jackie Slater, Rayfield Wright, Ron Yary, and Gary Zimmerman.

Jerome Bettis would be the 30th modern-era running back elected to the Hall of Fame.  The other modern-era running backs in the Hall of Fame include Marcus Allen, Jim Brown, Earl Campbell, Larry Csonka, Eric Dickerson, Tony Dorsett, Marshall Faulk, Frank Gifford, Franco Harris, Paul Hornung, John Henry Johnson, Leroy Kelly, Floyd Little, Curtis Martin, Ollie Matson, Hugh McElhenny, Lenny Moore, Marion Motley, Walter Payton, Joe Perry, John Riggins, Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers, O.J. Simpson, Emmitt Smith, Jim Taylor, Thurman Thomas, Charley Trippi, and Doak Walker.

Tim Brown (also KR/PR), and/or Cris Carter, and/or Andre Reed would be the 22nd, 23rd and/or 24th modern-era receivers in the Hall of Fame.  Other Hall of Fame modern-era receivers include Lance Alworth, Raymond Berry, Fred Biletnikoff, Tom Fears, Bob Hayes, Elroy Hirsch (also a halfback), Michael Irvin, Charlie Joiner, Steve Largent, Dante Lavelli, James Lofton, Don Maynard, Tommy McDonald, Bobby Mitchell (also a halfback), Art Monk, Pete Pihos, Jerry Rice, John Stallworth, Lynn Swann, Charley Taylor (also a halfback), and Paul Warfield.

Edward DeBartolo, Jr. and/or Art Modell would be the 20th and/or 21st contributor inducted into the Hall of Fame. They would join Bert Bell, Charles Bidwill, Joe Carr, Al Davis, Jim Finks, George Halas, Lamar Hunt, Earl “Curly” Lambeau, Tim Mara, Wellington Mara, George Preston Marshall, Hugh “Shorty” Ray, Dan Reeves, Art Rooney, Dan Rooney, Pete Rozelle, Ed Sabol, Tex Schramm, and Ralph Wilson, Jr.

Kevin Greene (also DE) and/or Charles Haley (also DE) and/or Dave Robinson would be the 23rd and/or 24th and/or 25th modern-era Hall of Fame linebackers joining Chuck Bednarik (also C) Bobby Bell (also DE), Nick Buoniconti, Dick Butkus, Harry Carson, George Connor (also DT-T), Bill George, Jack Ham, Chris Hanburger, Ted Hendricks, Sam Huff, Rickey Jackson (also DE), Jack Lambert, Willie Lanier, Ray Nitschke, Les Richter, Joe Schmidt, Mike Singletary, Lawrence Taylor, Derrick Thomas, Andre Tippett, and Dave Wilcox.

Charles Haley (also LB) and/or Michael Strahan would become the 18th and/or 19th modern-era defensive ends to be elected to the Hall of Fame.  Other Hall of Fame defensive ends are Doug Atkins, Elvin Bethea, Willie Davis, Fred Dean, Richard Dent, Chris Doleman (also LB), Carl Eller, Len Ford, Dan Hampton (also DT), Deacon Jones, Howie Long, Gino Marchetti, Andy Robustelli, Lee Roy Selmon, Bruce Smith, Reggie White, and Jack Youngblood.

Bill Parcells would be the 16th modern-era coach elected to the Hall of Fame. Coaches in the Hall of Fame include George Allen, Paul Brown, Weeb Ewbank, Joe Gibbs, Sid Gillman, Bud Grant, George Halas, Tom Landry, Marv Levy, Vince Lombardi, John Madden, Chuck Noll, Don Shula, Hank Stram, and Bill Walsh. 

Curley Culp and/or Warren Sapp would be the 15th and/or 16th defensive tackles elected to the Hall of Fame, joining Buck Buchanan, Art Donovan, Joe Greene, Dan Hampton (also DE), Henry Jordan, Cortez Kennedy, Bob Lilly, Leo Nomellini, Merlin Olsen, Alan Page, John Randle, Ernie Stautner, Arnie Weinmeister, and Randy White.

Aeneas Williams (also S) would become the 17th modern-era cornerback elected to the Hall of Fame.  He would join Herb Adderley, Lem Barney, Mel Blount, Willie Brown, Jack Butler, Darrell Green, Mike Haynes, Jimmy Johnson, Dick “Night Train” Lane, Dick LeBeau, Ronnie Lott (also S), Mel Renfro (also S), Deion Sanders (also KR-PR), Emmitt Thomas, Roger Wehrli, and Rod Woodson (also S). 

 

2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, a multi-day celebration of the enshrinement of the newest Hall of Fame Class, is held each year in Canton. The festival which culminates with the Enshrinement Ceremony and NFL/Hall of Fame Game includes 18 special events over an 11-day period.  Two major events are the Enshrinees Gold Jacket Dinner (Friday, August 2), and the Enshrinees GameDay Roundtable (Sunday, August 4). It is at the Enshrinees Gold Jacket Dinner where each member of the Class of 2013 will be presented his gold Pro Football Hall of Fame Jacket. At the Enshrinees GameDay Roundtable, the Class of 2013 will be featured center stage as they share memories of the game and their personal feelings about being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

This year the Pro Football Hall of Fame is celebrating its 50th anniversary and as a part of the year-long celebration the annual Enshrinement Festival will include a special Golden Anniversary Reunion of previously elected Hall of Fame members.  As many as 130 previously elected Hall of Fame members are expected to attend this year’s Enshrinement Ceremony.

Individual Enshrinement tickets and Fan Packages for the 2013 Enshrinement Festival will go on sale soon. Additional ticket information for the Enshrinement Ceremony, NFL/Hall of Fame Game and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival events can be found on the Hall of Fame’s website (Profootballhof.com).

Conversation about the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s selection process for 2013 can be streamlined on Twitter by using the Hall of Fame’s designated hashtag #PFHOF13.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is found at @ProFootballHOF on most social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.


Posted in From the Sidelines | No Comments »

Brockers, Jenkins Make All Rookie Team

Posted by nickwagoner on January 10, 2013 – 9:39 AM

- Pro Football Weekly and the Pro Football Writers of America announced their All Rookie team on Wednesday evening and two of the Rams’ top three choices in the 2012 NFL Draft were honored for their work in their debut seasons.

- Defensive tackle Michael Brockers and cornerback Janoris Jenkins were among the 11 players named to the Defensive All Rookie team. Jenkins and Brockers are the first two representatives for the Rams on the All Rookie team since 2003 when linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa made the cut.

- Brockers was the team’s first round pick, No. 14 overall in last April’s draft. He was plugged right into the starting lineup but suffered a high ankle sprain in the team’s preseason finale against Baltimore. That injury cost him three games and limited him some for most of the season.

- Despite the early setback, Brockers put together a strong debut season in which he only scratched the surface of his potential. He finished with 63 tackles, four sacks, a forced fumble and 17 quarterback hits and pressures according to the coaches’ review of the game tape.

- Jenkins was the team’s second pick of the second round, No. 39 overall. Much like Brockers, Jenkins was plugged into the starting lineup right away and went on to post one of the most dynamic seasons by a rookie defensive back in the history of the league.

- Although Jenkins had some ups and downs during the year, he still finished with 83 tackles, four interceptions, a fumble recovery and 15 passes defended. He returned three of those interceptions for touchdowns and also scored on his fumble recovery. His three pick-6’s led the NFL in that category and his four touchdowns also led the league in defensive scores. His interception for touchdown total tied with Ronnie Lott and Lem Barney for most by a rookie in NFL history.

- Jenkins and Brockers received similar honors last week from ESPN’s Mel Kiper.

- Here’s the rest of the PFWA All Rookie team:

OFFENSE

QB: Robert Griffin III, Washington
RB: Alfred Morris, Washington and Doug Martin, Tampa Bay
WR: T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis and Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville
TE: Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis
OT: Matt Kalil, Minnesota and Mitchell Schwartz, Cleveland
G: Kevin Zeitler, Cincinnati and Amini Silatolu, Carolina
C: No player eligible

DEFENSE

DE: Bruce Irvin, Seattle and Chandler Jones, New England
DT: Brockers and Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia
LB: Bobby Wagner, Seattle and Luke Kuechly, Carolina and Lavonte David, Tampa Bay
CB: Jenkins and Casey Hayward, Green Bay
S: Harrison Smith, Minnesota and Mark Barron, Tampa Bay

SPECIAL TEAMS

K: Blair Walsh, Minnesota
P: Bryan Anger, Jacksonville
KR: David Wilson, New York Giants
PR: Hilton
Ace: Johnson Bandemosi, Cleveland

- The full slate of Associated Presss NFL awards is scheduled to be revealed for the first time in a primetime special on the night before the Super Bowl, Feb. 2.

- Thanks for reading.


Posted in From the Sidelines | 2 Comments »

Rams Draft Spots Set

Posted by nickwagoner on January 7, 2013 – 9:51 PM

- On the heels of Washington’s loss to Seattle in a NFC Wild Card playoff game on Sunday, the Rams’ draft posititons for this year’s NFL Draft are now set in stone.

- The Rams will pick squarely in the middle of each round – 16th – with each of their seven picks. But the Redskins’ pick was more uncertain as they fought their way to a NFC East Division title and a spot in the playoffs.

- With Washington losing to the Seahawks, there is no more uncertainty. The Rams additional first-round choice, acquired from Washington in the big trade last offseason that netted Washington the No. 2 overall pick in exchange for its first rounder in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and a second-rounder last year, will be No. 22 overall.

- So, the Rams hold the 16th pick in each of the seven rounds as well as the 22nd pick overall heading toward April.

- Over the course of the next few months, we’ll have all kinds of coverage to get you ready for it starting with my annual trip to Mobile, Ala. for the Senior Bowl a week from today. Since I haven’t been able to dig into draft stuff just yet, here’s a quick early glimpse of how a few media outlets have the draft working in the 16th and 22nd spots in this year’s draft in their WAY early mock drafts:

ESPN.com – Todd McShay and Scouts, Inc. do not have a mock draft but in their player rankings, they have Texas S Kenny Vaccaro ranked 16th and Mississippi State CB Johnathan Banks ranked 22nd.

Mel Kiper Jr. has Ohio State DT Johnathan Hankins 16th and NC State QB Mike Glennon at 22.

Remember, those are just prospect rankings, obviously not predictions of which way the Rams will go though Vaccaro at 16 would make some sense, no?

On the mock draft front, here’s a small sample of what’s out there:

CBS Sports/NFLDraftScout

Rob Rang – Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews (16th) and Alabama G Chance Warmack (22nd).
Dane Brugler – Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher (16th) and LSU S Eric Reid (22nd).

- For the record, Matthews has not declared eligible for the draft and signs point to his returning to school next year. Fisher will be at the Senior Bowl and we’ll be sure to catch up with him there.

ESPN.com

Todd McShay did do a mock draft back on Dec. 12 but it’s out of date in terms of selection order. At the time, he had the Rams taking Fisher and Cal WR Keenan Allen.

FoxSports.com

Peter Schrager did a mock on Jan. 2 that sent Matthews to the Rams at 16 and West Virginia QB Geno Smith at 26 with the note that a team would likely trade up to the Rams’ spot there.

National Football Post

Former NFL Scout Russ Lande, who worked for the Rams at one point, did his mock on Jan. 1 and had the Rams selecting North Carolina OG Jonathan Cooper at 16 and West Virginia WR Tavon Austin at 22.

- Again, all of these mocks are being done way too early and without knowledge of who is coming out or even in some cases the proper draft order. We’ll update as we go along.

- In the meantime, look forward to plenty of draft coverage to come. The Senior Bowl features a lot of interesting players both in terms of potential Rams’ interest and from a local perspective. Fisher, Cooper, Oregon OL Kyle Long (Chris’ brother), Oklahoma OL Lane Johnson, Wisconsin OT Ricky Wagner, Kansas State WR Chris Harper, Wisconsin RB and STL native Montee Ball, Missouri Southern DT Brandon Williams, Mizzou LB Zaviar Gooden, Kansas State LB Arthur Brown, Banks and Georgia S Bacarri Rambo are among those expected to attend.

- Thanks for reading and stay tuned for much more.


Posted in From the Sidelines | 3 Comments »