Newsome makes run at Hall of Fame Ravens official again is one of 15 finalists

January 24, 1998|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

SAN DIEGO -- Ravens vice president of player personnel Ozzie Newsome, who set a career receptions record for a tight end during his 13-year run with the Cleveland Browns, is among the 15 finalists who will be considered today for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

A 36-man selection committee will scrutinize the nominees over three votes this morning, during which inductees will be chosen from a final list of six names.

Among those considered will be Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Anthony Munoz and Chicago Bears middle linebacker Mike Singletary, each of whom is eligible for the first time. They are joined by a trio of key contributors to the Pittsburgh Steelers' 1970s dynasty that produced four Super Bowl trophies -- wide receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth and Steelers president Dan Rooney.

Swann, whose acrobatic catches in postseason games defined his nine-year career, narrowly missed selection to the Hall of Fame last year, his 10th in terms of eligibility. Miami center Dwight Stephenson, a finalist once again, also came close in his eighth year of eligibility last year. Each made the final six list in 1997.

Newsome, a first-round draft pick out of Alabama in 1978, played his entire career in Cleveland, where he caught 662 passes -- a record that still stands among tight ends. He played in 197 consecutive games, played in three AFC Championship games,

and had a 150-game streak with at least one reception, second-longest in NFL history at that time. Newsome also was an All-Pro in 1979 and 1984.

This marks the second straight year Newsome has been a finalist.

Munoz and Singletary helped their teams attain Super Bowl status for the first in the 1980s.

Munoz, the prototypical tackle of his era at 6-6, 278 pounds, was drafted out of Southern California in 1980 and was selected to the Pro Bowl 11 straight times, beginning in 1982. He started at left tackle in Super Bowls XVI and XXIII. Singletary, who was chosen to play in 10 consecutive Pro Bowls, led the Bears to their only Super Bowl victory in 1985. He finished as the team's leading or second-leading tackler in each of his last 11 seasons.

Finalist Ken Anderson, who quarterbacked the Bengals to their first Super Bowl appearance in 1981, threw for 32,838 yards and 197 touchdowns and spent his entire career (1971-1986) in Cincinnati.

Three members of the Minnesota Vikings -- defensive end Carl Eller, safety Paul Krause (the league's all-time interception leader with 81) and offensive tackle Ron Yary -- and two Los Angeles Rams -- defensive end Jack Youngblood and guard Tom Mack -- are also being considered.

Also included as a nominee is coach George Allen, who `f compiled a 116-47-5 regular-season record over 12 seasons (1966-77) and directed the Washington Redskins to Super Bowl VII.

Pub Date: 1/24/98

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