FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Former Vikings defensive tackle John Randle was selected to the Hall of Fame on Saturday in the Class of 2010.
"It's an unbelievable feeling because of where I came from and what it took to just make it in the NFL," Randle said by phone from his home in Medina. "Words can't describe what it means. I'm in the Hall of Fame!"
Randle collected 137.5 sacks during his career and was named All-Pro six times with seven Pro Bowl appearances. He was a member of the the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s.
Signed by the Vikings in 1990 as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Texas A&I, Randle played 14 seasons (13 as a starter) and became the NFL’s all-time sack leader among defensive tackles. His 137.5 sacks rank tied for sixth among all players in league history. He had 114 as a member of the Vikings, third most in team history.
Joining Randle were Seniors Committee nominees Dick LeBeau and Floyd Little, and modern-era candidates Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith. Rice and Smith are in their first year's of eligibility and were considered locks.
Former Vikings receiver Cris Carter was a member of the final 15 modern-era players. He was eliminated when the field was cut to 10. That was surprising to me, since Carter made it to the final 10 last year. This was, however, one of the toughest fields in years.
Also eliminated in the cut to 10 were Tim Brown, Don Coryell, Charles Haley and Roger Craig, the former 49ers great who also played briefly for the Vikings at the end of his career.
Players eliminated in the cut to five modern-era finalists was Dermontti Dawson, Richard Dent, Cortez Kennedy, Andre Reed and Shannon Sharpe.
I was on the selection committee again this year. We discussed the two Senior candidates first and then voted yes or no on them. Eighty percent of the vote of 44 selectors is needed to make the Hall. We weren't told the results of that voting.
We also voted yes or no on the final five modern-era candidates. Again, we weren't told which of those players received enough votes to get in.
A minimum of four and a maximum of seven can get in.
We'll try to post something as soon as we know.
By the way, the selection meeting took SEVEN hours. And that was with no discussion even necessary for two of the candidates -- Rice and Smith. Their careers stood on their own. In fact, the discussion on Rice was four words: "Jerry Rice. Any questions?" The floor was open for discussion, but no one was dumb enough to feel the need to speak up.