The greatest achievement a football player can attain in his career would be induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
The 122 Modern-Era 2022 NFL Hall of Fame nominees were announced, and it’s a star-studded list of potential candidates.
The voting committee has its hands full with deciding who is most worthy. The finalists will be announced in November and the inductees will be announced in January.
BREAKING: The Modern-Era nominees for the Class of 2022 have been unveiled. The list is comprised of 122 players. Among the group are 10 first-year eligible players.
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) September 22, 2021
There are 10 first-time players on the ballot, from the revolutionary QB Randall Cunningham to wide receivers Andre Johnson and Steve Smith.
The Shadow League has identified several players who are yet to make the Hall of Fame but deserve to be anointed before the next rush of transcendent players obstructs their path to a coveted gold jacket.
1. Sam Mills (Middle Linebacker)
From 1986-1997 Sam Mills was the New Orleans Saints’ human wrecking ball. He was 5 feet 9 and considered too undersized to play the position of NFL middle. After floating around and playing in the USFL, he was spotted by Saints coach Jim Mora, and the rest is history. Mills, who succumbed to intestinal cancer in 2005, was the heart and soul of a defense that ranks among the best in NFL history.
Mills enters his final year of eligibility as a modern-era player and he was a finalist in 2021 as well.
#Saints legend Sam Mills named a finalist for Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021!
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) January 6, 2021
He’s deserving of a posthumous induction. Mills epitomizes everything the NFL claims to be about. He made his meteoric rise from unheralded Montclair St. to All-Pro linebacker in the NFL.
Who can forget Mills leading the vaunted New Orleans linebacker quartet, along with Vaughn Dunbar, Rickey Jackson and Pat Swilling for all those years?
Time to give Sam his props.
2. Tony Boselli (Left Tackle)
Tony Boselli was a 2021 finalist. The legendary offensive lineman protected the blind side of quarterback Mark Brunell for nearly a decade. He was the supreme left tackle in the league for at least five of those years in the 1990s. His All-Decade Team selection is proof. A left shoulder injury derailed his career (1995-2001), but his impact on the game earned him Hall of Fame status.
3. Torry Holt (Wide Receiver)
Torry Holt dominated in college at North Carolina State from 1995 to 1998 and then continued his receiving greatness as part of the NFL’s iconic “Greatest Show On Turf.”
How's is Torry Holt not in the HOF
Year's. 11 pic.twitter.com/O5I3imbFgr
— Angelo7266 (@angelo7266) August 6, 2021
Holt will be the last of the Rams’ core group of superstars to be inducted. Quarterback Kurt Warner, running back Marshall Faulk, wide receiver Isaac Bruce and left tackle Orlando Pace are already enshrined.
The No.6 overall pick in the 1999 NFL draft was voted to seven Pro Bowls and made the NFL’s All-2000 Team. All Holt did was produce and make clutch grabs year in and year out. His six-consecutive seasons of 1300 or more receiving yards offers statistical evidence of his consistent dominance.
4. Zach Thomas (Linebacker)
Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas was a tackling machine at middle linebacker who finished his career with seven Pro Bowl selections and five First Team All-Pro selections.
Zach Thomas should be in the Hall of Fame.
— Matt Cannata (@CannataPFN) August 3, 2021
ZT54 was an unheralded fifth-round pick in 1996 who was a member of the League’s All-2000s Team by the time he retired in 2008.
5. DeMarcus Ware (Defensive Lineman)
When it comes to all-time great pass rushers, few got to the bag like Cowboys/Broncos pass rusher DeMarcus Ware, who terrorized quarterbacks from 2005 to 2016. Ware finished in the top 10 in sacks seven times, and his 138.5 career sacks rank ninth in league history. Grabbed with the No. 11 pick in the 2005 draft by the Dallas Cowboys out of Troy University, Ware was an All-Pro selection by his third season.
“DWare” averaged more sacks per year than Hall of Famers Chris Doleman, Kevin Greene, Lawrence Taylor, Bruce Smith, Jason Taylor and Derrick Thomas. He’s an elite player who definitely deserves to receive his roses at the 2022 NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony.