The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the 94 modern-era nominees considered for enshrinement in Canton as members of the class of 2017. The list is jam packed with some of the top talent in the NFL history, and consists of 45 offensive players, 32 defensive players, six special teams players, and 11 coaches. Due to the Hall of Fame rules stipulating that no more than eight players be inducted in any given year, the names selected represent a sizable backlog of many deserving individuals that include the game's all time best.
Among those nominated, four are named on the list of 80 Greatest Redskins: returner/running back Brian Mitchell, defensive coordinator/head coach Richie Petitbon, and two former linemen and members of the Hogs, Joe Jacoby. and Jim Lachey.
Also among the nominees are eight other players who spent a portion of their careers for the Redskins, including Donovan McNabb (QB, 2010), Jason Taylor (DE, 2008), Shaun Alexander (RB, 2008), Troy Vincent (DB, 2006), Eric Metcalf (RB/WR/KR, 2001), Larry Centers (FB, 1999-2000), Henry Ellard (WR, 1994-98), and Carl Banks (LB, 1993).
Lachey and Jacoby seek to join fellow Hog, Russ Grimm (Class of 2010 inductee) and "Honorary Hog" John Riggins (Class of 1992 inductee) in Canton. Since the Pro Football Hall of Fame was established in 1963, 26 former players, coaches, and administrators who have been a part of the Redskins organization have been enshrined.
Joe Jacoby signed with the Redskins as an undrafted rookie free agent in 1981, and went on to have on of the most prolific careers in team history over 13 seasons. He was a member of all three Super Bowl championship squads (1983, 1988, and 1992), was a four-time consecutive Pro Bowler (1983-1986), two-time AP and NEA first team All-Pro, and was named to the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team. One of his defining moments was clearing the way on the left side for John Riggins' Super Bowl XVII clinching 43-yard run against the Dolphins in 1983. Jacoby has been tabbed as a Hall of Fame nominee in recent years, and perhaps represents the best chance of Redskins to have his named called for next year.
Jim Lachey, a former first-round draft pick out of Ohio State in 1985, was a three-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler who played tackle alongside Jacoby for six years, and suited up for the Redskins from 1988-1995. He was a Super Bowl XXVI winner, and was named among the NFL's "Stars of the '90s" team. Following his playing career, served as a coach for the Arena Football League National Conference champion Columbus Destroyers who appeared in the 2007 XXI Arena Bowl, and currently is a radio analyst for Ohio State Buckeyes football.
Brian Mitchell was a fifth-round draft pick in 1990 and played the first decade of his professional career in Washington. As a Redskin, he was a three-time First-team All-Pro (1991, 1994, 1995), was named to the Pro Bowl in 1995, and was a member of the XXVI Super Bowl championship squad in the 1991-92 season. He currently holds a litany of NFL records and tops the all-time list for career kickoff return yards (14,014), punt return yards (4,999), and total return yards (19,013), and is also the NFL's second all-time leader in total yardage. In 2009 B-Mitch was ranked as the second greatest specialist in league history by NFL Network's NFL Top 10 Return Aces. Also of note, he holds the NFL record for most combined yards by any one player against a single opponent: 3,076 all-purpose yards against the Dallas Cowboys. Mitchell maintains close ties to D.C. as he presently serves as a local television and radio analyst.
Richie Petitbon was a four-time Pro Bowler who played safety for the Redskins to finish off his 14-year playing career in the 1971 and 1972 seasons. From 1981-1992 he served as defensive coordinator in Washington under Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs, whom he succeeded as head coach for one season in 1993. During Petitbon's time as D-coordinator, the Redskins finished among the league's top 10 defensive units six times. Petitbon is one of only three members of the organization to have been a part of all five of the Redskins' Super Bowl appearances as either a player or coach
The list of nominees will be trimmed to 25 semifinalists in November, and then winnowed down to 15 finalists in January before the Class of 2017 is announced over Super Bowl weekend in Houston this upcoming February.
Will next year be the first time since 2011 (Chris Hanburger, LB) that a former member of the burgundy and gold receives their gold jacket? Vote for the nominee that you would most like to see enshrined, and share your memories of this year's nominees in the comments below.