Dent's longest day

Former Bears defensive end Richard Dent is in a wait-and-see mode this weekend. Some of it has to do with whether he'll be asked back by new coach Lovie Smith as the team's assistant defensive line coach, a duty he had last year.<p>

Most of his anticipation involves Pro Football Hall of Fame voting. Results will be announced Saturday at noon in Houston at the Super Bowl.

"I think he has a chance," said Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, a former teammate of Dent‘s. "I think any time you're a Super Bowl MVP and one time you led the NFL in sacks, yeah, you most certainly should get serious consideration and probably do deserve to be in."

Dent is tied for fifth on the all-time sacks list with John Randle at 137 1/2. He was Super Bowl XX MVP. He had five more sacks than Lawrence Taylor and only Bruce Smith, Reggie White, Kevin Greene and Chris Doleman made more sacks than Dent.

At least three candidates must be elected by the selectors and no more than six. A finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent.

There is plenty of competition for Dent. The two no-brainer picks are Broncos quarterback John Elway and Lions running back Barry Sanders. Longtime Giants GM George Young also would seem a shoo-in type.

Others among the 15 finalists are Eagles-Rams-Raiders tackle Bob Brown, Giants linebacker Harry Carson, Vikings defensive end Carl Eller, Cowboys safety Cliff Harris, Cowboys wide receiver Bob Hayes, Raiders cornerback Lester Hayes, Dolphins guard Bob Kuechenberg, Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall, Redskins wide receiver Art Monk, Cowboys tackle Rayfield Wright, and Vikings-Broncos tackle Gary Zimmerman.

This is the first year of eligibility for Sanders and Elway and only the second for Dent. It's Dent's first year as a finalist. Brown, Carson, Eller, Hayes, Kuechenberg, Monk, Young and Zimmerman have all been finalists in previous years.

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