If it were up to Chicago Bears fans there probably wouldn't be a member of the 1985 Bears defense that wasn't in the Hall of Fame. Mike Singletary and Dan Hampton are already there, but we want to see Wilbur Marshall, Otis Wilson, Gary Fencik, William Perry, Steve McMichael, Richard Dent, and all the rest of the gang in there as well. Unfortunately the only name on that list that really has a chance is the Sackman, Richard Dent.
The NFL will be announcing it's newest Hall of Fame class on Saturday and for the fifth year Dent will be hoping to hear his name called. Now there are plenty of reasons why Dent should be in Canton, many of which the Chicago Tribune's Dan Pompei went over in a column today that are very convincing. Unlike the other big name defensive end whose eligible this year, former Buffalo Bill Bruce Smith, Dent was a complete defensive player. Not only was he a fierce pass rusher, who Pompei points out had more sacks than anybody not named Reggie White between 1984 and 1993 -- a list that includes both Smith and the great Lawrence Taylor -- but Dent could also stop the run. He was also a turnover machine, retiring with more interceptions than any lineman in the Super Bowl era before zone blitzes had even been invented.
All of these reasons Pompei goes over in great detail, but the truth is, even though Richard deserves it he's not going to get in this year. The NFL won't allow more than five players to be enshrined each year, and Smith, Rod Woodson, and Cris Carter are probably locks. That leaves two spots, and with Shannon Sharpe, John Randle, Randall McDaniel, and even commissioner Paul Tagliabue on the ballots along with the late Derrick Thomas, odds are Richard's going to get lost in the shuffle.
It's a shame to think that Dent seems destined to be the Ron Santo of Chicago Bears greats, but unless his name is announced tomorrow, there probably isn't much we can do to stop it from happening.