Dent a HOF finalist

Richard Dent has taken another step toward Canton by being named one of 15 finalists who will be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Dent, currently the team's assistant defensive line coach, was also nominated for the Hall of Fame honor in 2002,but was not chosen to advance to the final selection round.

As a player, Dent was the Bears all time sacks leader with 124.5 and MVP of Super Bowl XX. He rejoined the Bears as an assistant defensive line coach 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.

Former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway and Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders, both first-year eligible players, head the 2003 finalist of candidates. The list originally started with 67 nominees and through the process has been cut to 15 candidates. The other finalists are: defensive ends Carl Eller, and Jim Marshall; linebacker Harry Carson; offensive linemen Bob Brown, Bob Kuechenberg, Rayfield Wright, and Gary Zimmerman; cornerback Lester Hayes; safety Cliff Harris; and wide receivers Bob Hayes and Art Monk. The team/league administrator is George Young.

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.

To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent.

Comeback trail
The Bears all-time leading scorer could be kicking his way back into the game. Former Chicago kicker Kevin Butler, 41, is attempting a comeback with the Georgia Force.

Butler, who retired from the NFL after the 1997 season with 1,208 points, will work out for the team today.


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