HOF makes Dawkins, Owens wait
(973espn.com) - Former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins’ first tackle at Canton came up short on Saturday as the Hall of Fame announced its class of 2017.
Dawkins and another former Eagles player, wide receiver Terrell Owens, were both passed over. Owens was in his second year of eligibility.
The five modern-era players selected were running backs Terrell Davis and LaDainian Tomlinson, quarterback Kurt Warner, defensive end Jason Taylor, and kicker Morten Andersen.
Also voted in were safety Kenny Easley, this year's senior committee nominee, and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who was one of two "contributor" nominees.
Easley’s admittance likely made it more difficult for Dawkins this year, who survived the first reduction vote from 15 to 10 but was then eliminated as the voters cobbled it down to five. T.O. failed to even make it to the final 10 for the second straight year as his nomadic NFL existence continued to hurt what seems like a rock-solid candidacy from a talent perspective.
Scratched in that first reduction, along with Owens, were fellow wide receiver Isaac Bruce, offensive linemen Alan Faneca and Joe Jacoby; as well as coach Don Coryell.
Missing the final pare down were Dawkins and fellow safety John Lynch, who was just named the new general manager of the San Francisco 49ers. Offensive linemen Tony Boselli and Kevin Mawae, and cornerback Ty Law were the others who will have to wait.
Traditionally, it’s very difficult for players at the safety position to get in the Hall of Fame and Easley will make only eight true safeties enshrined in Canton, joining Jack Christiansen, Ken Houston, Paul Krause, Yale Lary, Emlen Tunnell, Larry Wilson and Willie Wood.
Ronnie Lott played most of his career as a safety as well and is in while Rod Woodson finished up his career as a safety but spent most of his time as a cornerback.
Although there are no hard-and-fast rules for the voters, rarely do they like to admit two players at the same position in one year, something ignored this year at RB when Davis finally got the nod alongside Tomlinson, considered the only first-year no-brainer.
That means Lynch and Dawkins will likely continue to jockey for one spot next year.
Owens, who finished second in in career receiving yards (15,934) and third in receiving touchdowns (153) when he called it quits, was bitter about his exclusion.
"HOF is a total joke. Honestly, doesn't mean anything to me to get in beyond this point,'' he tweeted.
It doesn’t get easier for Dawkins and Owens from here. Among the first-timers eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2018 are Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, and Randy Moss. In 2019, Tony Gonzales, Champ Bailey and Ed Reed will be eligible.
In those groups, there are a lot of slam dunks
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen