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From the Hart: Pats worthy of Hall call?

On the day that the NFL will announce the roster’s for this year’s Pro Bowl, I was reminded of a list I saw in ESPN the Magazine’s recent Hall of Fame issue.


Among the Hall-themed stories in the Mag was a page in which one anonymous member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 44-member selection committee broke down the chances for current NFL players with at least five years of experience landing in Canton.

Not surprisingly, Tom Brady was listed as the No. 1 name among the group of four "First-Ballot Locks." That group also included, Ray Lewis, Peyton Manning and Tony Gonzalez.

Hard to argue with any of those guys and their HOF worthiness.

The next group of the total of 16 projected enshrinees is listed as just that, "Eventual Enshrinees."

That group, in order, is made up of Andre Johnson, Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed, Dwight Freeney, DeMarcus Ware, Champ Bailey, Charles Woodson, Brian Urlacher, Drew Brees, Randy Moss, Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Hutchinson.

The only guy in that mix with Patriots ties is Moss, and I think there is a chance he's a likely first-ballot guy. But that's a different argument for a different day.

ESPN's anonymous voter then dubs Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen as "One Big Year Away," while Aaron Rogers, Calvin Johnson, Ronde Barber and Darrelle Revis are "Two More Big Years Away."

The most interesting grouping from a Patriots fan's perspective is the final one listed as "Close, But No Plaque." Under that heading are Vince Wilfork, Richard Seymour, Julius Peppers, Jason Witten, Reggie Wayne, Justin Tuck, Casey Hampton, Adam Vinatieri and Shane Lechler.

While I agree that Wilfork is probably not yet a Hall of Famer, or even as close as Seymour, I don't think that the door is totally closed on either player. More importantly, I would say (and Bill Belichick recently voiced a similar opinion), that Vinatieri has indeed done more than enough to earn his way in as an extremely rare HOF kicker. I'll also be stunned if another Belichick favorite, Witten, doesn't land in Canton.

What do you think of this list of potential future Hall of Famers, as well as would-be snubs?

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