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The wish of many Steeler fans may soon come true, as legendary coordinator Dick LeBeau was named today as one of two nominees for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame through the senior committee. He joins Broncos RB Floyd Little, and they will compete with 15 traditional nominees for a total of five (at most) spots available in Canton in 2010. The inductees will be named the Saturday before Super Bowl 44.

LeBeau, a 14-year veteran with the Lions from 1959-1973, has spent an additional 37 seasons in the NFL in various capacities as an assistant and head coach since his playing days ended. Since he is still active as a coach, his consideration for the Hall at this time will be based solely on his performance as a player, which is also quite impressive. He holds the NFL record for playing in 171 consecutive games as a cornerback and is tied for seventh in NFL history with 62 career interceptions. He was a three-time Pro Bowler (1964, '65, and '66). And all of this happened after the 1959 fifth-round draft pick from Woody Hayes' Ohio State University was cut by the Cleveland Browns. I would make a joke about the Browns being the Browns here, but I then remind myself that the Steelers unceremoniously ridded themselves of one Johnny Unitas just four years earlier, making him the best player to ever suit up for the Bloomfield Rams.

50-year-old personnel moves aside, congratulations to "Coach Dad", and hopefully this will be the year. Sooner or later, Canton's going to have to find a place for the architect of the zone blitz.

I will always maintain that one of the underrated days in Steeler history was the day that LeBeau and the team stuck together to bridge the conversion from Bill Cowher to Mike Tomlin. Tomlin could have gone in his own direction, but he wisely realized what he had in LeBeau. In retrospect, I'd say it's worked out well for everyone involved, no?

Steeler's LeBeau nominated for Hall of Fame [PG]
Dick LeBeau, Floyd Little move closer to Canton [PFT]
Dick LeBeau [Wikipedia]

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Real McCoy said...

I think it is a little premature to vote LeBeau in.

They really need to wait and make sure he stands up to the test of time.

Keith Mitchell said...

Damn good looking guy to boot, and not in a gay way. I'm just saying.