Carson, Hayes, Kuechenberg, Lofton, Monk, Stabler, and Wilson have all been finalists in previous years. Although they have been eligible prior to this year, this is the first time that Bethea, DeLamielleure, Gradishar, Humphrey, Stram, and Young have been finalists. Allen and Zimmerman are first-time eligible candidates.
From this year's list, five players - Bethea, Carson, Gradishar, Hayes, and Kuechenberg - spent their entire NFL career with just one team.
The modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall's 39-member Board of Selectors. The board will meet in San Diego, California on Saturday, January 25, 2003, to elect the Hall of Fame Class of 2003.
James Lofton - Wide Receiver . . .6-3, 192 . . .Stanford . . .1978-1986 Green Bay Packers, 1987-1988 Los Angeles Raiders, 1989-1992 Buffalo Bills, 1993 Los Angeles Rams, 1993 Philadelphia Eagles . . .16 seasons, 233 games . . .An Academic All-America choice at Stanford as well as an accomplished track star . . .Selected by Green Bay in 1st round (6th player overall) of 1978 NFL Draft . . .A deep-threat receiver, he possessed both speed and great hands . . .Nine times he recorded more than 50 receptions in a season. . .Was the first NFL player to score a touchdown in three different decades. . . In 16 seasons, he caught 764 passes for 14,004 yards - an NFL record at the time of his retirement - and 75 touchdowns . . .Lofton's 43 games with 100-plus receiving yardage was third best at time of retirement . . .Led Packers in receptions each year except one (1979) . . .Six times he gained more than 1,000 yards receiving in a season . . .At age 35 became the oldest NFL player to gain more than 1,000 yards in a season . . .Named All-Pro four times, All-NFC three times, and was selected to play in eight Pro Bowls. . .Born July 5, 1956, at Fort Ord, California.
Listed alphabetically, the other 14 finalists with their positions, teams, and years active follow:
Marcus Allen - Running Back - 1982-1992 Los Angeles Raiders, 1993-1997 Kansas City Chiefs
Elvin Bethea - Defensive End - 1968-1983 Houston Oilers
Harry Carson - Linebacker - 1976-1988 New York Giants
Joe Delamielleure - Guard - 1973-1979, 1985 Buffalo Bills, 1980-1984 Cleveland Browns
Randy Gradishar - Linebacker - 1974-1983 Denver Broncos
Lester Hayes - Cornerback - 1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Claude Humphrey - Defensive End - 1968-1974, 1976-1978 Atlanta Falcons, 1979-1981 Philadelphia Eagles
Bob Kuechenberg - Guard - 1970-1983 Miami Dolphins
Art Monk - Wide Receiver - 1980-1993 Washington Redskins, 1994 New York Jets, 1995 Philadelphia Eagles
Ken Stabler - Quarterback - 1970-1979 Oakland Raiders, 1980-1981 Houston Oilers, 1982-1984 New Orleans Saints
Hank Stram - Coach - 1960-1974 Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs, 1976-1977 New Orleans Saints
Ralph Wilson - Owner - 1959 - Present Buffalo Bills
George Young - General Manager/Administrator - 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League
Gary Zimmerman - Tackle - 1986-1992 Minnesota Vikings, 1993-1997 Denver Broncos
The 14 Modern-Era finalists were determined by a vote of the Selection Committee from a preliminary group of 74 players, coaches, and contributors. The 15th finalist is Stram, the Seniors Committee nominee. To be eligible for the 2003 class, Seniors Committee candidates must have completed at least 70 percent of their careers by 1978. At the annual election meeting, the Seniors Committee nominee must receive the same affirmative majority - a minimum of 80 percent - required of any candidate to be elected.
To be eligible for election, modern-era players must be retired at least five years while a coach needs only to be retired. A nominee whose major contributions came in areas other than playing or coaching, does not have to be retired to be considered.
At the 2003 election meeting (January 25), the selectors will thoroughly discuss the careers of each finalist before narrowing the field to the Seniors Committee nominee and six modern-era candidates. At least four modern-era candidates must be elected but the total class, including the Seniors Committee nominee, cannot number more than seven.
Of the 2003 finalists, Stram has been eligible 25 years, Humphrey 17 years, Bethea, Gradishar, and Kuechenberg 15 years, Stabler 14 years, DeLamielleure 13 years, Hayes 12, Carson 10, Lofton five, Monk three, and Allen and Zimmerman are eligible for the first time.
The Class of 2003 will be announced at a press conference at 12 noon (PST) on Saturday, January 25, at the Super Bowl media center in the San Diego Convention Center.
Enshrinement of the Class of 2003 will take place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, on Sunday, August 3, 2003. Art Monk - Wide Receiver . . . 6-3, 210 . . . Syracuse . . . 1980-1993 Washington Redskins, 1994 New York Jets, 1995 Philadelphia Eagles . . . 16 seasons, 224 games . . . Selected by Washington in 1st round (18th player overall) of 1980 draft . . . Prototype for today's bigger, stronger receivers . . . Caught 58 passes as a rookie and was unanimous All-Rookie choice . . . Had 50 or more receptions in a season nine times . . . Gained 1,000 or more receiving yards in a season five times . . . Set then-NFL records for catches in a season (106), most consecutive games with at least one reception (164), and career receptions (820). . . Finished career with 940 catches . . . Had finest season in 1984, catching eight or more passes in six games, five games of 100-plus receiving yards, and in one game caught 10 passes for 200 yards . . . Named Redskins 1984 Most Valuable Player . . . First Redskin to produce three consecutive 1,000 receiving yard seasons . . . A three-time Pro Bowl selection, was All-Pro choice in 1984 and 1985 . . . First- or second-team All-NFC three times . . . Born December 5, 1957 at White Plains, New York. Ken Stabler - Quarterback . . . 6-3, 215 . . . Alabama . . . 1970-1979 Oakland Raiders, 1980-1981 Houston Oilers, 1982-1984 New Orleans Saints . . . 15 seasons, 184 games . . . Selected by Raiders in 2nd round (52nd player overall) 1968 draft . . . Spent first two seasons on Raiders' inactive/reserve squad . . . Became starter in 1973 . . . That year led Raiders to AFC Championship game, first of five consecutive trips to AFC title game, and first of seven consecutive winning seasons under Stabler . . . Led league in passing, finishing season with 103.4 passer rating, 1976 . . . Completed 12 of 19 passes for 180 yards as Raiders easily defeated Minnesota Vikings 32-14 in Super Bowl XI . . . During 10 seasons in Oakland, was named All-Pro twice, All-AFC three times, selected to play in four Pro Bowls . . . Named NFL/AFC Player of the Year, 1974 and 1976 . . . Traded to Oilers following 1979 season . . . Twice passed for more than 3,000 yards in season, 1979, 1980 . . . At time of retirement, 59.85 career pass completion percentage was second to Joe Montana, who at time had played just six seasons . . . Ten consecutive post-season games with TD pass then-NFL record . . . Career stats: 2,270 completions for 27,938 yards and 194 touchdowns . . . Born December 25, 1945 at Foley, Alabama. Hank Stram - Coach . . . Purdue . . . 1960-1974 Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs, 1976-1977 New Orleans Saints . . . 17 seasons, 238 games . . . Regular season record: 131-97-10 . . . Postseason record: 5-3 . . . Overall record: 136-100-10 . . . Assistant coach at University of Miami when hired as first head coach of Dallas Texans, (Texans moved to Kansas City, renamed Chiefs, 1963) of new American Football League, 1960 . . . Won 1962, 1966, 1969 AFL championships . . . Led Chiefs to two Super Bowl appearances, lost to Green Bay in Super Bowl I, defeated Minnesota in Super Bowl IV . . . Only coach in AFL history to take team to two Super Bowls . . . His 23-7 Super Bowl IV victory gave credibility to AFL . . . Recorded most wins by a team during 10-year history of AFL . . . Won more championships than any AFL coach . . . Led 1971 Chiefs to AFC Western Division championship . . . Developed "moving pocket," using talents of quarterback Len Dawson . . . Devised "two tight end offense" and "stack defense" . . . Excellent evaluator of talent, five Stram-coached Chiefs players are members of Hall of Fame . . . Named AFL Coach of the Year in 1968 . . . Born January 3, 1924 at Chicago, Illinois. Ralph Wilson - Founder/Owner . . . Virginia, Michigan . . . 1959-present Buffalo Bills . . . One of original founders of American Football League, Wilson formed Buffalo Bills in 1959 . . . During tenure as team owner, Bills won AFL Championships in 1964 and 1965, AFC titles in 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1993 on way to unprecedented four consecutive appearances in Super Bowls XXV, XXVI, XXVII, and XXVIII . . . Bills 103 regular season wins, second most in NFL during 1990s . . . Helped lead AFL through early years making tough decisions that were necessary for league's survival. . . Began talks with Carroll Rosenbloom, then owner of NFL's Colts in January 1965, that eventually resulted in AFL-NFL merger . . . Considered "voice of reason" Wilson served as President of AFL, was on AFL's Expansion Committee and AFL-NFL Negotiations Committee . . . Was prominent in 1977 negotiations between NFL Management Council and NFL Players Association . . . Has served as Chairman of NFL Pension Committee, Labor Committee, Super Bowl Site Committee, NFL Expansion Committee, NFL Realignment Committee . . . Born October 17, 1918 at Columbus, Ohio. George Young - General Manager/Administrator . . . Bucknell, Johns Hopkins, Loyola . . . 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League . . . Little All-America and All-East honors as a defensive tackle at Bucknell . . . General manager of Giants, rebuilt team by drafting key players such as Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor . . . Hired Bill Parcells as head coach . . . During tenure, Giants earned eight playoff berths, and victories in Super Bowls XXI, XXV . . . Prior to Young's arrival, Giants had not made playoffs since 1963 . . . Was named NFL Executive of the Year unprecedented five times, 1984, 1986, 1990, 1993, 1997 . . . Following 1997 season, joined NFL front office as executive vice president for football operations . . . Served as chairman of NFL Competition Committee. . . Prior to joining Giants was on staff of Baltimore Colts (1968-1974) as scout, offensive line coach, director of player personnel, offensive coordinator . . . With Miami Dolphins (1974-1978) was director of personnel and pro scouting . . . Born September 22, 1930 at Baltimore, Maryland . . . Died December 8, 2001.Special Notes If elected . . . James Lofton will join 19 previously enshrined Green Bay Packers. He is preceded by Herb Adderley, Tony Canadeo, Willie Davis, Forrest Gregg, Arnie Herber, Clarke Hinkle, Paul Hornung, Cal Hubbard, Don Hutson, Henry Jordan, Curly Lambeau, Vince Lombardi, John "Blood" McNally, Mike Michalske, Ray Nitschke, Jim Ringo, Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, and Willie Wood If elected . . . James Lofton and/or Art Monk will join 16 other modern-era receivers in the Hall of Fame. Other Hall of Fame modern-era receivers include Lance Alworth, Raymond Berry, Fred Biletnikoff, Tom Fears, Elroy Hirsch (also a halfback), Charlie Joiner, Steve Largent, Dante Lavelli, Don Maynard, Tommy McDonald, Bobby Mitchell (also a halfback), Pete Pihos, John Stallworth, Lynn Swann, Charley Taylor (also a halfback), and Paul Warfield.