Nine more men will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August. Who are the top players that remain on the outside looking in?
On Thursday night in Glendale, Arizona, the membership of the Pro Football Hall of Fame swelled to 371. The Class of 2023 includes tackle Joe Thomas, defensive lineman Joe Klecko, linebackers Chuck Howley, Zach Thomas and DeMarcus Ware, defensive backs Ronde Barber, Ken Riley and Darrelle Revis, as well as innovative coach Don Coryell.
Klecko, Howley and Riley were all Senior Committee nominees and all made the cut. The majority of the names in this Top 10 are on that seniors list and three more players will be considered for the Class of 2024.
As for those who still haven’t been elected to the Hall, it’s an even longer list and the 10 players mentioned below doesn’t really do it justice. However, their time will hopefully come sooner than later.
Note: All sack statistics via Pro Football Reference.
10. DE Jim Marshall
There have been some sensational defensive fronts in pro football history. The Minnesota Vikings’ defense was led by “Purple People Eaters.” Pro Football Hall of Famers Alan Page and Carl Eller were the standouts and defensive tackles Gary Larsen and (eventually) Doug Southerland were pivotal parts of this group.
Of course, there was end Jim Marshall. His debut campaign came with the Cleveland Browns in 1960 and then it was off to the Twin Cities. During his 20-year career (282 regular-season contests), he racked up 130.5 sacks and is co-owner of the NFL record for opponent fumble recoveries (29) with Hall of Fame defender Jason Taylor.
9. WR/KR/DB Devin Hester
Big-play return artist Devin Hester has been eligible to join the legends in the Hall but has yet to be selected. No one has done it better when it comes to returns. Be it a kickoff, punt or missed field goal, the 2006 second-round pick of the Bears spent his first eight seasons in the Windy City and took back 20 of those for scores.
Hester also returned the opening kickoff vs. the Colts in Super Bowl LI for a touchdown. He caught a total of 255 passes, 16 for scores, in 10 seasons with Chicago and Atlanta. He also played 12 gamed with the Ravens in 2016.