Dawson candidate for Hall Pro Hall of Fame
Saturday, October 29, 2005
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Dermontti Dawson gets his first chance at election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and L.C. Greenwood gets his last as 112 candidates grace this year's modern-era ballot for induction in Canton, Ohio.
Greenwood, one of 15 finalists for the Hall last year, will be among the modern-era nominees for the final time. If the former Steel Curtain defensive end is not elected when the selectors meet Feb. 4 in Detroit he would then have to be included among the senior nominees, a much more difficult path to selection.
Dawson, who succeeded Hall of Famer Mike Webster as the Steelers' starting center in his second season in 1989, retired after the 2000 season because of a lingering hamstring injury. During his career, he was favorably compared to Webster and former Dolphins center Dwight Stephenson, a contemporary who also is in the Hall of Fame.
This year's nominees are headed by three others eligible for the first time: the late Reggie White, who played defensive end for several teams and won a Super Bowl with Green Bay, and quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Warren Moon, along with two former stars from the Buffalo Bills' four-time Super Bowl teams, halfback Thurman Thomas and receiver Andre Reed.
Players must be retired at least five years before they can become eligible.
Other candidates returning to the ballot from last year:
Steelers assistant coach Russ Grimm, a former Pitt and Redskins guard who was a finalist last year.
Donnie Shell, the Steelers' strong safety during their Super Bowl years and a previous finalist.
Tackle Jim Covert, Grimm's teammate at Pitt.
Former Pitt linebacker Chris Doleman.
Former Steelers linebacker Kevin Greene.
Former WVU linebacker Darryl Talley.
Chuck Knox, longtime NFL coach and a native of Sewickley.
Former 49ers owner Ed DeBartolo, Jr., from Boardman, Ohio, whose family also owned the Pittsburgh Maulers of the USFL and the Penguins.
The preliminary list announced yesterday will be pared to 25 candidates by next month.
Those will then be reduced to a list of 13 finalists who will join the two seniors candidates, former Raiders head coach John Madden and former Cowboys tackle Rayfield Wright, to be considered for election Feb. 4, when between three and six will be chosen for induction.