The list of candidates is out – and there are 124 men eligible for selection into the 2008 class of the NFL Hall of Fame.
Great players like Darrell Green, Cris Carter and Tony Boselli are on this year’s list as "first-time" candidates. Old stand-bys like Art Monk, Ray Guy, Karl Mecklenburg and Richard Dent will no doubt solicit their fair share of support. And, much to our chagrin in Baltimore, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagilabue will receive a lot of consideration from the voters. Naturally, we’re all rooting for Art Modell to get in, although the people in Cleveland have made it their personal crusade to make sure Modell never gets into the NFL shrine of greatness.
While all of those names above were GREAT contributors to the NFL, none of them contributed what Pat Tillman contributed.
Tillman was a safety (’98-’01) with the Arizona Cardinals who suddenly stepped away from the fame and fortune of the NFL to enlist in the Army in 2002. Two years later, fighting for his country in Afghanistan, Tillman was killed while serving in the 2nd Ranger Battalion of the U.S. Army.
Tillman was a GOOD player – perhaps on his way to having a a VERY GOOD career in the NFL – but clearly his four years in the league were nothing more than ordinary.
But what he did for his country wasn’t ordinary at all.
I was on "dad duty" yesterday and spent a great Tuesday with my 12-week old son. As I saw the list of candidates for HoF 2008, I wondered how cool it would be to someday take Ethan to the shrine in Canton, Ohio and explain to him why Pat Tillman is in the NFL Hall of Fame.