The Class of 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame will be announced on Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m. (CT) in an hour-long special on NFL Network. There are two senior candidates along with 15 finalists including former Kansas City Chief Willie Roaf.
Roaf is, in my mind, one of the top 3-5 left tackles of all time. You can make an argument that left tackle has transitioned into the second most important position on the field -- it's next to defensive end as one of the highest paid positions -- behind the quarterback. Roaf, originally drafted by the New Orleans Saints with the eighth overall pick in 1993, was traded to the Chiefs in March of 2002.
Roaf was the centerpiece of arguably the greatest offensive line in Chiefs history paving the way for Priest Holmes as he crushed franchise records and even NFL records. Roaf ended his career with 11 total Pro Bowls -- four in four years with the Chiefs -- and earned a spot on the 1990s and 2000 All-Decade team.
We're down in Dallas now for the 2011 Super Bowl where the announcement will be taking place on Saturday night. The buzz around here is that Roaf won't be getting in this year, though the voters have surprised us before.
Here's the full list of finalists (*senior candidates):
Jerome Bettis- Running Back - 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
Tim Brown - Wide Receiver/Kick 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
Dermontti Dawson- Center - 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
Richard Dent - Defensive End - 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
Chris Doleman- Defensive End/Linebacker - 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers
Marshall Faulk - Running Back - 1994-98 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams
Charles Haley - Defensive End/Linebacker - 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
*Chris Hanburger- Linebacker - 1965-1978 Washington Redskins
Cortez Kennedy- Defensive Tackle - 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
Curtis Martin - Running Back - 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets
Andre Reed - Wide Receiver - 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
*Les Richter - Linebacker - 1954-1962 Los Angeles Rams
Willie Roaf- Tackle - 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs
Ed Sabol- Founder/President/Chairman - 1964-1995 NFL Films
Deion Sanders - Cornerback/Kick Returner/Punt Returner - 1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-99 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-05 Baltimore Ravens
Shannon Sharpe - Tight End - 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens