Thursday, November 29, 2007
Four former Washington Redskins yesterday made the list of 26 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Cornerback Darrell Green, wide receiver Art Monk and offensive linemen Russ Grimm and Joe Jacoby made the list, which was reduced from 124 preliminary nominees.
Green was one of two players to make the list in his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility, along with Cris Carter.
The other semifinalists are Terrell Davis, Dermontti Dawson, Fred Dean, Richard Dent, Randy Gradishar, Kevin Greene, Ray Guy, Charles Haley, Lester Hayes, Rickey Jackson, Cortez Kennedy, Bob Kuechenberg, Randall McDaniel, Andre Reed, Ken Stabler, Paul Tagliabue, Steve Tasker, Derrick Thomas, Andre Tippett, George Young and Gary Zimmerman.
The list will be pared to 15 modern-era finalists in January and they, along with Seniors Committee nominees Marshall Goldberg and Emmitt Thomas, will be considered by the media members who serve as Hall of Fame selectors. The voters will choose four to seven enshrinees during their election meeting in Phoenix on Feb. 2, the day before the Super Bowl.
¿ BROWNS: Not long after Romeo Crennel was hired as Cleveland's first black head coach, he was visited by an elderly man whose strength, courage and sacrifice decades earlier changed the NFL.
Bill Willis sat in Crennel's office that day and talked about football, the Browns and his special life, one that inspired generations of players, many of whom were unaware of his lasting legacy.
"Bill was a pioneer," Crennel said. "He blazed a trail for guys like myself."
Willis, a Hall of Famer with the Browns who helped break down pro football's color barrier in the 1940s, died Tuesday night in Columbus, Ohio, from multiple illnesses. He was 86.
Willis is recognized as the first black full-time starter in pro football's modern era.
¿ CARDINALS: Arizona place kicker Neil Rackers apologized for striking an NFL Films video camera with his helmet as he left the field following the Cardinals' 37-31 overtime loss to the 49ers on Sunday.
Rackers missed what would have been a game-winning 32-yard field goal in overtime.
The camera was knocked into the face of the cameraman, but he reportedly was not seriously hurt.
¿ BILLS: Buffalo had 11 players miss practice, including starting defensive end Chris Kelsay, who is likely to be out for the Bills' game at Washington because of a sprained left ankle.
At running back, rookie starter Marshawn Lynch is expected to miss his third straight game because of a sprained left ankle, and veteran backup Anthony Thomas's status is uncertain after he hurt his calf last weekend.
¿ EAGLES: Quarterback Donovan McNabb said his ankle and thumb have improved and he is closer to getting back on the field than he was a week ago. But his availability for Sunday's game against NFC West-leading Seattle still is uncertain.
-- From News Services and Staff Reports