The Pro Football Hall of Fame has released its list of 108 nominees — which seems a bit excessive considering the next step narrows the list to 25 — and a few all-time greats have a chance at enshrinement on their first ballot. Among the biggest names are wide receiver Randy Moss, and linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher.
Yet there’s one more interesting name we didn’t expect to see on this list: wide receiver Steve Smith. Steve Smith Sr. could eventually get a Hall of Fame nod, but he just retired in January. (For what it’s worth, the Jets reportedly tried to woo him into a comeback this offseason.) A player needs to have been retired for five years to gain eligibility.
It turns out the Hall of Fame didn’t change the rules for Smith Sr. It’s just that voters nominated the wrong Steve Smith, as in the one who played six years for the Giants, Eagles and Rams. He was an okay player who made the Pro Bowl in 2009, but you’d never confuse him for a Hall of Famer. Unless you’re literally confusing him for potential Hall of Famer Steve Smith Sr., as many fan voters apparently did.
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) September 13, 2017
While the real Steve Smith will wait a few more years before seeing his name on this list, wide receiver Terrell Owens could finally get inducted this year. Owens, who will appear on this season’s “Dancing With The Stars,” was an uncomfortable snub in last year’s Hall of Fame vote.
The list of 108 nominees will get trimmed to 25 in November and then 15 in January. The selection committee will then vote on those 15, who need to receive a thumbs-up from at least 80 percent of voters to make the Hall next summer.