Dent Talks Hall of Fame

Richard Dent was in a similar position a little more than a year ago, when he was a Hall of Fame finalist waiting for the call with good news. It never came, but this year could be different.

"It's out of my control," Dent said about his emotions waiting to find out if he'll be part of the '05 Hall of Fame Class.

Coming into the league as an eighth round draft pick in 1983, Dent's first thoughts were of making a young talented Bears team. He worked into the mix as a third down specialist and once he became a starter in his second season he never looked back.

Dent produced five straight double-digit sack campaigns and on the way was named Super XX MVP. During his 15-year career he tallied 137.5 sacks, which is fifth in NFL history, behind Reggie White, Kevin Greene, Bruce Smith and Chris Doleman. He holds the franchise record with a124.5 sacks in a Bear uniform.

"You start picking your game up and trying to get to that level," Dent said. "We're blessed that dreams do come true. If you work on those dreams anything is reachable. Once you focus on something and working on something you may fall, but it will come."

The four-time Pro Bowler has a lot to be proud of, but a few moments stand out.

"The one against (Joe) Montana where I flew over (Tom) Rathman and hit Montana," Dent said.

His best two performances may have come against the Raiders.

On two separate occasions -- once during the 1984 campaign and again in 1987 -- the Raiders simply couldn't keep their quarterback out of the grasp of Dent.

He recorded 4 1/2 sacks against the then-Los Angeles Raiders in a 17-6 victory on November 4, 1984 at Soldier Field.

Three years later, Dent equaled that sack number -- 4 1/2 -- in a baseball-like 6-3 triumph over the Raiders at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Both are team records for sacks in a single game.

The only honor that eludes Dent is being enshrined in Canton.

"We're at the last tail of the story," Dent said. "I hope it comes pretty quickly because the man that is going to induct him is getting older."

Dent is talking about his former head coach and defensive coordinator at Tennessee State, Joe Gilliam Sr.

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 in Jacksonville.

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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