Moving Forward

Bears assistant defensive line coach Richard Dent has made the list of 25 semi-finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"It would mean a lot to me to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame," Dent said upon hearing the news. "Over the years all of the time, all of the work that I have put in. It was tough for a while and I see this as the final dance. I always wanted to be an outstanding ball player, and to be a role model for my community. I've accomplished a lot during my career. To make the hall of fame would be the icing on the cake."

As a player, Dent was the Bears all time sacks leader with 124.5 and MVP of Super Bowl XX. He joined the Bears coaching staff in April of 2003.

Dent spent 12 years in a Bears uniform and recorded double-digit sack totals during each season from 1984-1988. His career total of 137.5 sacks ranks fifth in all time NFL history behind only Reggie White, Bruce Smith, Kevin Greene, and Chris Doleman.

Dent was selected by the Bears in the eighth-round of the 1983 draft and quickly became a vital part of a defense that played in three NFC Championship games and was the Super Bowl XX MVP in a Bears victory. He was selected as a Pro Bowler four times. After playing with the Bears, Dent also played with San Francisco, Indianapolis, and Philadelphia. During his 15-year career, Dent played in 203 games with 151 starts, recording a total of 675 tackles, 8 interceptions, 38 forced fumbles, 13 fumble recoveries and one touchdown.

The Bears have 26 Hall of Famers, more than any other NFL team. If selected Dent would be the fourth member of the '85 team to be enshrined joining Walter Payton, Mike Singletary and Dan Hampton.

"I tried to be at my best week in and week out. When I was a rookie I dreamed about being a hell of a ball player and getting a chance," Dent said. "It's amazing to have been able to accomplish as a professional ballplayer these dreams that I had when I was a kid. "When I got in the league, I had the chance to watch hall of fame players like Walter Payton," Dent said. "It was important to me to see how he handled himself, how he went about things."

Dent was also nominated for the Hall of Fame honor in 2002,but was not chosen to advance to the final selection round.

Former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway and Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders, both first-year eligible players, head the 2003 semi-finalist of candidates. The list originally started with 67 nominees before being reduced to 25 and will be cut to 13 modern-era candidates. That list will increase to 15 finalist nominees with the addition of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame's Senior Committee. The list of 15 finalists for the Class of 2004 will be announced in mid-January.

The Class of 2004 will be determined at the Selection Committee's annual meeting, which will be held on Saturday, January 31, 2004, in Houston, Texas, the day before Super Bowl XXXVIII.

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