Don't Count on Richard Dent Making the Hall of Fame

Once again, Chicago Bears great Richard Dent has been nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He has been deserving of selection every other time but for some reason, was not picked. I wouldn't bet on it this year, either.

Dent's statistics support his bid for enshrinement. His career was longer, and he has more sacks than than Howie Long, a Hall of Famer since 2000. He was in the Pro Bowl four times, has two Super Bowl rings, and has one of the pivotal lines in the "Super Bowl Shuffle." How would I have known to start making my Super Bowl plans if Dent hadn't told me to do so? Beyond that, he struck fear in the heart of his opponents. He walked away from Super Bowl XX with the MVP because he did more than two sacks, two forced fumbles and a blocked pass. He embodied the Bears' swagger, and did everything he could to ensure that the Vince Lombardi Trophy would belong to Chicago.

What is working against Dent is timing, and his position. The Hall of Fame has the inexplicable policy of adding 4-7 players per year. He has some tough competition, especially from one of the Bears' biggest enemies on the field.

A first-ballot nominee this year is Washington RedskinsDE Bruce Smith. He is unquestionably a Hall-of-Famer, with a career that spanned 18 years and included two defensive Player of the Year honors.

The Hall of Fame has a dearth of defensive ends from the modern era with only 13. To give perspective on that number, there are 23 modern-era quarterbacks, so the committee does not seem to be in a hurry to fill the hall with defensive linemen. With Smith a shoe-in at the DE, it's unlikely that Dent will make it this year. It's a shame. A trip to Canton were truly the travel plans that I would have liked to make.

An earlier version of this article contained errors on Bruce Smith's career.  They have been fixed, and we apologize for the error.

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