Beyond time for Sam Mills to enter Pro Football Hall of Fame
It is that time of year again.
Yes, Thanksgiving is here.
Yes, that will begin the Christmas season.
Yes, the New Year will follow.
What should follow is an overdue, perhaps well overdue honor.
As long as I have breath in this being, I will champion the cause of Sam Mills belonging in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, just as I did for Rickey Jackson when he had to wait to receive his just due.
Mills is a semifinals for the Pro Football Hall of Fame again for a fifth time (see below).
Anyone who had the pleasure of watching the artistry of Mills at work, with the back corps of linebackers every assembled in NFL history, for the best defense of its time, for a team achieving playoff status for the first time, for a team winning its division for the first time, would agree with me.
Mills was a brilliant player who could diagnose virtually anything the opposition would throw at him.
Mills was a terrific form tackler who seldom, if ever missed a tackle.
Mills could find the ball and create turnovers.
Mills was the team captain and defensive signal caller.
Mills was the consummate team player.
I wrote about how last year should have been the time for enshrinement for Mills.
Now, I will beat the drum even louder for him this time around.
To refresh your memory, here is what I penned a year ago at this time.
Sam played in New Orleans and in Charlotte.
Had he played in a bigger market, he would have already been in the Hall of Fame.
Had he played for a Super Bowl champion, he would have already been in the Hall of Fame.
Mills is in the Saints Hall of Fame.
Mills has a statue outside of the stadium at Carolina.
Mills will receive more honors in the very near future, including entering the elite Saints Ring of Honor on Dec. 2.
The time is now for Sam Mills.
Voters take heed and make the right call. It is beyond time for Sam Mills to become part of the elite company in Canton.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
26 MODERN-ERA PLAYERS NAMED AS SEMIFINALISTS FOR PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME’S CLASS OF 2022
7 FIRST-YEAR ELIGIBLE CANDIDATES ON LIST TRIMMED FROM 123 NOMINEE
CANTON, OHIO – Seven first-year eligible players are among the 26 Modern-Era Semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022.
The list of candidates for election into the Hall of Fame, which will occur early next year, also includes 17 players who were Semifinalists for the Class of 2021.
Modern-Era Players making the cut to Semifinalist in their first year of eligibility are Anquan Boldin, Devin Hester, Andre Johnson, Robert Mathis, Steve Smith, DeMarcus Ware and Vince Wilfork. Each last played in the 2016 season.
To be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a nominated individual must not have participated as an active player for five consecutive seasons.
Eddie George, who retired following the 2004 season, reached the Semifinalist stage for the first time. Ricky Watters, who retired in 2001, made the list for a second time.
The 26 Semifinalists will be reduced again – to 15 Finalists – before the final voting process for the Class of 2022. The Selection Process aligns with the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s important Mission to “Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values and Celebrate Excellence Together.”
CLASS OF 2022 MODERN-ERA PLAYER SEMIFINALISTS
The following is the list of 2022 Modern-Era Player Semifinalists, including their positions, years and teams. Also listed are the number of times and years the candidate has been named a Semifinalist since this reduction vote was added to the Bylaws for the Selection Committee in 2004.
• Eric Allen, CB – 1988-1994 Philadelphia Eagles, 1995-97 New Orleans Saints, 1998-2001 Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2021-22)
• Jared Allen, DE – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2021-22)
• Willie Anderson, T – 1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2021-22)
• Ronde Barber, CB-S – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2018-2022)
• Anquan Boldin, WR – 2003-09 Arizona Cardinals, 2010-12 Baltimore Ravens, 2013-15 San Francisco 49ers, 2016 Detroit Lions | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2022)
• Tony Boselli, T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve) | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2016-2022)
• LeRoy Butler, S – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2018-2022)
• Eddie George, RB – 1996-2003 Houston Oilers/Tennessee Oilers-Titans, 2004 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2022)
• Devin Hester, PR-KR-WR – 2006-2013 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Atlanta Falcons, 2016 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2022)
• Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2015-2022)
• Andre Johnson, WR – 2003-2014 Houston Texans, 2015 Indianapolis Colts, 2016, Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2022)
• Robert Mathis, DE-LB – 2003-2016 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2022)
• Sam Mills, LB – 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2016, 2019-2022)
• Richard Seymour, DE-DT – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2018-2022)
• Steve Smith, WR – 2001-2013 Carolina Panthers, 2014-16 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2022)
• Steve Tasker, ST-WR – 1985-86 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills | (Times as a Semifinalist: 9 – 2004, 2008-2010, 2012-13, 2020-22)
• Fred Taylor, RB – 1998-2008 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2009-2010 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2020-22)
• Zach Thomas, LB – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2019-2022)
• Hines Ward, WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2017-2022)
• DeMarcus Ware, LB-DE – 2005-2013 Dallas Cowboys, 2014-16 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2022)
• Ricky Watters, RB – 1992-94 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-97 Philadelphia Eagles, 1998-2001 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2020, 2022)
• Reggie Wayne, WR – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2020-22)
• Vince Wilfork, DT – 2004-2014 New England Patriots, 2015-16 Houston Texans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2022)
• Patrick Willis, LB – 2007-2014 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2020-22)
• Darren Woodson, S – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2015, 2017, 2019-2022)
• Bryant Young, DT – 1994-2007 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2020-22)
The list of Semifinalists, which was announced live today on NFL Network, was reduced from an initial group of 123 nominees announced in September. The next step in the Selection Process comes when the Semifinalists are trimmed to 15 Modern-Era Player Finalists. That list increases to 18 Finalists with the inclusion of the recommended nominees of the Hall of Fame’s Coach, Contributor and Senior Committees: Dick Vermeil, Art McNally and Cliff Branch, respectively.
The Hall of Fame’s 49-person Selection Committee will select the Class of 2022 in advance of Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. The class will be announced live on the “NFL Honors” telecast scheduled to air at 9 p.m. ET on Feb. 10. While there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the Bylaws for the Selection Committee provide that between four and eight new members will be selected.
The Coach, Contributor and Senior Finalists are voted “yes” or “no” for election at the annual selection meeting and must receive at least 80% support from the Committee to be elected. The Modern-Era Player Finalists will be trimmed during the meeting from 15 to 10, then from 10 to five. The remaining five finalists will be voted on individually, “yes” or “no,” and must receive the same 80% positive vote as the Coach, Contributor and Senior Finalists to earn election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022 will be enshrined next August (anticipated date: Aug. 6) in Canton as part of the 2022 Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls. Other events during the week of festivities include the Hall of Fame Game (teams to be determined) and the Gold Jacket Ceremony. For more information, visit https://www.profootballhof.com/enshrinement/.
The annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Vote presented by Ford continues since its launch in September. Fans can vote as many times as they wish at www.profootballhof.com/fanvote to predict the five Modern-Era players who will be elected to the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2022.
Fans who vote automatically become eligible for several sweepstakes prizes, including a Grand Prize trip for two (2) to the 2022 Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls in Canton.
This marks the 12th consecutive year that Ford, the Official Automobile of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has invited fans to predict the outcome of the annual Hall of Fame class. More than 600,000 votes have been cast already this year, pushing the total above 25 million votes cast in the past decade.
2022 ENSHRINEMENT WEEK POWERED BY JOHNSON CONTROLS PACKAGES
Official Ticket Packages for the 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls are on sale now from Hall of Fame Experiences. Head to www.HOFExperiences.com to secure your spot in seeing the Class of 2022 enshrined. Ticket packages also can be found by calling 844-751-0532. Packages range from single-day offerings to four-day experiences that include premium seating, VIP access and exclusive parties and more.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…