By Tim Lacy, Special to the AFRO
THE NFL RUNNING BACK issue was thrown up for debate once again. This time I have to take a shot at the choices. The top 10 backs to transition from college to the big leagues changes every time this list is posted. The travesty comes to light when you view this list and realize that some of the authors were in kindergarten when a few of these players were testing their skills on the gridiron.
I read the list and soothed my brain by jotting down some of the blaring omissions.
Gale Sayers, Kansas/Chicago Bears. Injury shortened his career to seven seasons. However in only 68 games he amassed 56 touchdowns, was voted All Pro 5 times, 4 time Pro Bowler. Put up 4,976 rushing yards, 9,435 combined net yards, and the icing on the cake came with his induction into the Hall of Fame.
Marshall Faulk, San Diego State/Colts/Rams. 176 games, 136 touchdowns. 3 time All Pro, 7 time Pro Bowler. Was 2 time touchdown leader, and added his name to the list in Canton, Ohio.
Emmitt Smith, U of Florida/Dallas Cowboys. 226 games,175 touchdowns. 4 time All Pro, 8 time Pro Bowler, NFL All Time Rushing Leader. Broke the record set by the great Walter Payton. Hall of Fame. I have mixed emotions about adding O. J. Simpson to this list with the troubles that followed him after Football. However when looking back, he seemed to carry a black cloud as well as a football. While at USC he was in a Heisman Trophy race with Gary Beban of UCLA When the two schools met, it was thought their performances would determine the winner. However, despite the fact that OJ single handedly whipped UCLA from Amazing Grace to the Golden Opportunity, Beban was awarded the Heisman. He never played QB in the NFL, but he did play wide receiver for the Redskins a year before he was given directions to the Bus Station.
The choices of Doak Walker and Red Grange for this list must have been made by someone who has been around longer than me, and I came kicking and screaming into this world when Roosevelt was President. But, the most ridiculous choice of all on this list was the placing of Jim Brown in the 4th spot. There are guys still limping who tried to tackle Jim Brown when he was at Syracuse and Cleveland.
I know I have opened Pandora’s Box for mail, but I welcome your points of view. Send it on.