There’s no secret that the NFL hall of fame is supposed to be the home of the greatest players to ever play the game. Players like Jerry Rice, Deion “Prime Time” Sanders, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Joe Montana, and a plethora of other greats. Honestly, there are too many greats to name.
Although, the hall of fame has called upon many to accept the great honor, there are many who have not heard their names called and should have.
Here’s our list of former NFL players that should be in Canton.
If the recent interview of Asante Samuel did not air I would have thought he was already in the hall of fame. Coming out of the University of Central Florida in 2002, Samuel was a key piece to the start of the Patriots Dynasty.
Samuel was one of the few corners in the league that struck fear into the hearts of offensive coordinators and quarterbacks alike. The small frame early on deceived many, but his undeniable big play ability drew respect from across the NFL.
Samuel’s career stats include 51 interceptions with 6 returning for touchdowns. He made close to 400 tackles and forced 7 fumbles. In his 10-year career, Asante Samuel made the Pro Bowl four times and won the Super Bowl twice with the Patriots.
By comparison, Champ Bailey who is a NFL Hall of Famer has only 1 more interception than Samuel. Although, Champ entered the league in three years before Samuel in 1999.
The most feared returner in NFL history, Devin Hester brought opposing special teams to their knees and fans to their feet. His is still the only player who’s speed on the Madden franchise was rated at 100.
Initially, Hesters was drafted as a corner coming out of the University of Miami, but his returning ability is what made him a household name. Hesters would become the first player ever to take back the opening kickoff in the Super Bowl. Although, the Chicago Bears lost the game, Hesters won over the NFL.
Consequently, the punters and kickers in the NFL were advised to not kick it to Hester. Hester would finish his career with 19 total returns which is an NFL record by far. Unfortunately, the common theme against his entry into the hall is that his greatest impact on the game came on special teams. Although this is true, what makes a player a Hall of Famer is if he was feared by his opponents and was he respected at the same time?
Devin Hester career answers both of those question with a resounding yes!
Some of you may not remember, but Willis for a time was the most fear linebacker in the NFL. Willis was on the verge of becoming the next Ray Lewis. Willis played just eight season, but that was all he needed before calling it a career.
In just eight years, Willis became a 7-time Pro Bowl player and a 5-time first team All-Pro. He was essential in the rebirth of the San Francisco 49ers. Furthermore, Willis had close to 800 solo tackles and created 16 force fumbles.
Like Berry Sanders, Willis walked away from the game in his prime. For years, the notion that Willis would return to the field whispered across the NFL, but he never returned. Now, we can only wonder how great he could have been if he played a few more years.
Most NFL teams and fans have never respected the Jacksonville Jaguars; even when the Jags had a top-5 defense in the league. The Jags became known for defense, but on offense it was the running game that brought fear to defenses.
Fred Taylor was the reason defenses respected what the Jags had on the ground. The former Florida Gator made his name known as a quick, fast, big, physical, and smooth running back in the NFL. Early on, Taylor would use his quick vision and his breakaway speed to go for long runs on some of the most elite defenses at the time.
But, what caught many defensive players by surprise besides his speed was his willingness to initiate the contact as well. Taylor had rushed for over 11,000 yards on the ground, Taylor was what we would call a complete back. He scored 66 touchdowns on the ground and 8 receiving.