By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, September 13th, 2010 at 8:54 am in Oakland Raiders.
Tired of sifting through the rubble of the an eighth consecutive opening game loss?
Torturing yourself by endlessly running through the slide show so artfully put together by on-line guru Jon Becker?
Good news _ seven Raiders are eligible for this year’s induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Quarterback Jim Plunkett, coach Tom Flores, wide receiver Tim Brown, tight end Todd Christensen, guard Steve Wisniewski, cornerback Lester Hayes and punter Ray Guy are among the 113 names to be put before selectors.
Al Davis has long pushed for Plunkett and Flores. (I see Cliff Branch as an equal or superior candidate to anyone on that list, but that’s just me).
Now for the bad news _ the guess here is the Raiders go 0-for-7.
That includes Brown, a finalist last season who failed to make the final cut.
Two of the other 2009 finalists, Cris Carter and Andre Reed, are also wide receivers. Carter has similar stats and has been waiting a year a longer. (Other 2009 finalists include Roger Craig, Richard Dent, Cortez Kennedy, Don Coryell and Charles Haley).
Those eligible for the first time include running backs Jerome Bettis, Marshall Faulk and Curtis Martin, cornerback Deion Sanders, tackle Willie Roaf, wide receiver Jimmy Smith and coach Dick Vermeil. Nominated by the senior selection committee were Les Richter and Chris Hanburger.
I’d be surprised if Sanders and Faulk aren’t elected on the first ballot.
As referenced before, I’ve talked to enough voters to realize Brown is thought of in some quarters as a player with puffed up stats in a passing era, although the fact that he was a finalist means he has at least some support. Enough, possibly to make it some day, but not this year.
The complete list of candidates can be found at profootballhof.com.
I’ll check in later from Alameda following an open locker room session (could be slim pickings) and coach Tom Cable’s 2 p.m. press briefing . . .