Dent Destined for Canton

Richard Dent is known as one of the best pass rushers of his era, but there is still one honor that eludes the Bears all-time sack leader. Dent took a step toward reaching the pinnacle for any retired played. He has been named one of 15 finalists who will be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

This is the second straight year Dent has been named a finalist. He 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 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.

He rejoined the Bears as an assistant defensive line coach for the 2003 campaign, but was not retained when Dick Jauron was fired and Lovie Smith hired his staff.

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 Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin, Miami Dolphins QB Dan Marino, Kansas City Chiefs LB Derrick Thomas, and San Francisco 49ers QB Steve Young, are all first-year eligible candidates and head the 2004 finalist list.

The remaining finalists are Benny Friedman and Fritz Pollard of the Senior Committee nominees. The other modern-era player finalists include defensive ends Claude Humphrey and L.C. Greenwood; linebacker Harry Carson; offensive linemen Russ Grimm and Bob Kuechenberg; cornerback Roger Wehrli; and wide receiver Art Monk. The team/league administrator is George Young.

The Class of 2005 will be announced at a press conference at 12 noon (ET) on Saturday, February 5, at the Super Bowl media center in the Prime Osborn Convention Center.

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

Enshrinement of the Class of 2005 will take place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, on Sunday, August 7, 2005.

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