On the verge of Fame

James Lofton has a pretty good chance of being elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, according to one NFL expert. The former Packers wide receiver will know Saturday if he will be in the Class of 2002 when a board of selectors meet Saturday in New Orleans for its annual election.<p>

Other former players among the 15 finalists include linebacker Harry Carson, tight end Dave Casper, defensive end L.C. Greenwood, punter Ray Guy, defensive lineman Dan Hampton, defensive backs Lester Hayes and Donnie Shell, quarterback Jim Kelly, offensive lineman Bob Kuechenberg, and wide receiver Art Monk, and John Stallworth.

Baltimore Ravens owner and CEO Art Modell made the list as did coaches Bill Parcells and George Allen. Allen is the recommended nominee of the Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee that met earlier this year.

The modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall's 38-member Board of Selectors from a preliminary group of 71 players, coaches and contributors.

Dan Pompei of The Sporting News feels Lofton will be one of the players who earn entrance into the Hall.

"You might not think of him as a dominant receiver because he didn't play on a lot of great teams, and he bounced around a bit, playing in five cities. But his numbers compare favorably with every receiver in the Hall of Fame," Pompei recently wrote in a recent column.

Lofton played for the Packers from 1978-1986. He went on to play for the Los Angeles Raiders in 1987 and '88; Buffalo (1989-1992); Los Angeles Rams (1993); and Philadelphia Eagles (1993).

Lofton averaged 18.3 yards per catch over a 16-year career. When he retired, he held several NFL records, including receiving yards (14,004), 1,000-yard seasons (six), 50 or more receptions in a season (nine) and 100 yard receiving games (43). He was named to the Pro Bowl eight times.

To be eligible for election, modern-era players must be retired at least five years while a coach needs only to be retired.

The Packers currently have 19 players and coaches in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They include Curly Lambeau, Robert "Cal" Hubbard, Don Hutson, and Johnny "Blood" McNally (Class of 1963); Clarke Hinkle and Mike Michalske (Class of '64); Arnie Herber (Class of '66); Vince Lombardi (Class of '71), Tony Canadeo (Class of '74); Jim Taylor (Class of '76); Forrest Gregg and Bart Starr (Class of '77); Ray Nitschke (Class of '78); Herb Adderley (Class of '80); Willie Davis and Jim Ringo (Class of '81); Paul Hornung (Class of '86); Willie Wood (Class of '89); and Henry Jordan (Class of '95).

Enshrinement of the Class of 2002 will take place on the front steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, on Saturday, August 3, 2002.

For additional biographical information on the 15 finalists for the Class of 2002 visit our web site at www.profootballhof.com

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