During the course of his NFL career (1990-00), all of it with the Seahawks, Cortez Kenney made eight Pro Bowls, was a first-team All-Pro four times and the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 — on a 2-14 team. Since retiring, Kennedy has been a Hall of Fame finalist three times (2009-11) and a semifinalist once (2008). Question is, what does a guy have to do to get in the Hall of Fame? Answer is, sometimes eight Pro Bowls and four All-Pro nods just doesn’t cut it. Three players we know of earned nine Pro Bowl nods and didn’t reach Canton, making Kennedy, a finalist this year, sort of a bubble guy. Most decorated players not in the Hall of Fame:
Shannon Sharpe (1990-03): Since this is a Top 5 list, and not a Top 10 or Top 20 list, we’re going to let Sharpe represent several players. Sharpe went to eight Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro four times. Lots of guys fit that general profile: Steve Wisniewski, George Kunz, Ed Meador, Maxie Baughan, Lamar Parish, Steve Atwater and Aeneas Williams, to cite a few. They all had at least eight Pro Bowl appearances and were All-Pro multiple times.
Randy Gradishar (1974-83): A major operative on Denver’s “Orange Crush” defense, Gradishar went to seven Pro Bowls and was selected first-team All-NFL twice during his 10 years (1974-83) with the Denver Broncos. He was a Hall of Fame finalist in 2003 and 2008 and a semifinalist from 2004-07.
Cris Carter (1987-02): Carter scored the most touchdowns — 130 — by any player not inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. During his 15-year career with the Eagles and Vikings, Carter caught 1,101 passes for 13,889 yards and posted his best year in 1995 when he made 122 catches and scored 17 touchdowns. He currently ranks third in career receptions, fourth in touchdowns and eighth in yards. He made eight Pro Bowl appearances and was first-team All-Pro twice.
Chris Hanburger (1965-78): Playing largely in the era of the 14-game schedule, Hanburger, who spent his entire linebacking career with the Washington Redskins, went to nine Pro Bowls (tied for the most by a player not in the Hall of Fame) and was selected first-team All-NFL four times. This year, he’s a “Senior Candidate” for induction into Canton.
Tim Brown (1988-04): During his 17-year career, Brown scored 100 touchdowns, was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times (tied for the most by anyone not in the Hall of Fame) and was a first-team All-Pro on six occasions. A Hall of Fame finalist in 2010, he topped 1,000 receiving yard nine times, but never put together a monster season, unless you count his 104 receptions in 1997. Still, he ranks fourth in career receptions (1,094) and sixth in career receiving TDs, and was a special teams whiz.
“Top 5 List” is published every Thursday as part of Sportspress Northwests package of home-page features collectively titled, The Rotation.
The Rotations weekly schedule:
- Monday: That Was The Week That Was A snarky, day-by-day review of the week just ended.
- Tuesday: Wayback Machine — Sports historian David Eskenazi’s deep dive into local sports history, replete with photo eye candy.
- Wednesday: Nobody Asks But Us — We ask, and answer, fun and quirky questions nobody else is asking.
- Thursday: Water Cooloer Cool: Art Thiel takes on the weekend for the benefit of the more casual fan.
- Friday: Top 5 List — The alpha and omega of Northwest sports, at least as far as we’re concerned.