Warren Sapp now one step from Hall of Fame
Bucs great Warren Sapp is now one step closer to the achieving the highest honor in his profession.
Sapp, a former defensive tackle with Tampa Bay, was announced as one of 15 “modern-era” finalists for selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, putting him one final step away from making the cut.
Selections will be finalized with a vote by the selection committee, which meets Feb. 2 in New Orleans.
Missing the cut in the reduction from 27 candidates was former Bucs safety John Lynch, who was thought to be a long shot, at least for this year. Tampa resident Eddie DeBartolo, the former 49ers owner who helped the franchise win five Super Bowls under his direction, made it to the final 15 for the second consecutive year. He hired legendary coach Bill Walsh and enjoyed a run of unprecedented success in the 1980s and 90s.
Sapp is in his first year of eligibility for the Hall, but his resume’ is quite compelling.
Drafted in 1995, Sapp went on to win 1999 NFL defensive player of the year. He finished his career with 96.5 sacks, including 16.5 in 2000, while earning first-team All-Pro four times along with seven Pro Bowl selections.
To earn entry to the Hall a candidate must receive votes from at least 80 percent of the voting panel, comprised mostly of members of media.
Complicating matters for Sapp and others is the fact that no more than five modern-era candidates are permitted to be selected in any year. Sapp faces considerable competition from the likes of Jerome Bettis, Michael Strahan, Bill Parcells and others.
Here’s the full list of finalists:
Larry Allen – Guard/Tackle – 1994-2005 Dallas Cowboys; 2006-07 San Francisco 49ers
Jerome Bettis – Running Back – 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams; 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
Tim Brown – Wide Receiver/Kick Returner/Punt Returner – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders; 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cris Carter – Wide Receiver – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles; 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings; 2002 Miami Dolphins
Curley Culp* – 1968-1974 Kansas City Chiefs; 1974-1980 Houston Oilers; 1980-81 Detroit Lions
Edward DeBartolo, Jr. – Owner – 1977-2000 San Francisco 49ers
Kevin Greene – Linebacker/Defensive End – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams; 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers; 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers; 1997 San Francisco 49ers
Charles Haley – Defensive End/Linebacker – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers; 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
Art Modell – Owner – 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns; 1996-2011 Baltimore Ravens
Jonathan Ogden – Tackle – 1996-2007 Baltimore Ravens
Bill Parcells – Coach – 1983-1990 New York Giants; 1993-96 New England Patriots; 1997-99 New York Jets; 2003-06 Dallas Cowboys
Andre Reed – Wide Receiver – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills; 2000 Washington Redskins
Dave Robinson* – 1963-1972 Green Bay Packers; 1973-74 Washington Redskins
Warren Sapp – Defensive Tackle – 1995-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 2004-07 Oakland Raiders
Will Shields – Guard – 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs
Michael Strahan – Defensive End – 1993-2007 New York Giants
Aeneas Williams – Cornerback/Safety – 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals; 2001-04 St. Louis Rams
*--Denotes senior nominee