Shannon Sharpe (Glennville) and Richard Dent (Muprhy) became the fifth and sixth former Georgia high school players to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. The others are Fran Tarkenton (Athens), Rayfield Wright (Fairmount of Griffin), Mel Blount (Vidalia Industrial) and Jim Parker (Ballard-Hudson).
Here are five former Georgia high school players who ought to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame some day:
*Champ Bailey (Charlton County) – Bailey has made 10 Pro Bowl games, the most of any former Georgia high school player, and the most of any cornerback in NFL history. Bailey, 33, remains active with the Denver Broncos, making the Pro Bowl again in 2010.
*Ray Guy (Thomson) – Guy was the first-team All-Pro punter six times for the Oakland Raiders and was named the punter for the NFL’s 7th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1994. No punter is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
*Sterling Sharpe (Glennville) – Shannon Sharpe’s brother averaged 85 catches for 1,162 yards and nine touchdowns for his seven-year career, which was ended abruptly by a neck injury. He was first-team All-NFL three times alongside Jerry Rice. His 107 receptions in 1992 were a single-season NFL record.
*Hines Ward (Forest Park) – Ward, a former Super Bowl MVP with the Pittsburgh Steelers, is tied for eighth all-time in career receptions (954) with Randy Moss. If he can catch 150 more (he had 59 receptions last season at age 34), he will jump to No. 2 behind Jerry Rice.
*Herschel Walker (Johnson County) – Walker’s 8,225 yards rushing rank 35th all-time, but consider that he spent three prime seasons in the USFL. His total rushing yards in pro football are 13,787, which would rank fifth. His total yards of 18,168 rushing, receiving and returning ranked No. 2 in NFL history when he retired.
Others worth watching: Safety Eric Berry (Creekside) of the Kansas City Chiefs was a Pro Bowl player in his rookie season of 2010. The last Georgia player to do that was George Rogers in 1981. … Former Colts center Ray Donaldson (East Rome) has as many Pro Bowl appearances (six) as Hall of Famer Rayfield Wright of Griffin. … Wide receiver Calvin Johnson (Sandy Creek) is a former No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft who has 270 receptions and 33 touchdowns in four seasons and made his first Pro Bowl last year with the Detroit Lions. … Jamal Lewis (Douglass)rushed for 1,000 or more yards seven times and hit 2,066 in 2003 with the Baltimore Ravens, the second-highest total of all-time. His 10,607 career rushing yards rank 21st in NFL history. … Guard Guy McIntyre (Thomasville) made five Pro Bowls and won three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers from 1984 to 1993. … Defensive end Bill Stanfill (Cairo) made the Pro Bowl in five of his first six seasons (more than Richard Dent) and won two Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins in the 1970s. … Kickers Jason Elam (Brookwood) and John Kasay (Clarke Central) rank sixth and eighth, respectively, in NFL scoring all-time.
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