Many Former Dolphins Among 2021 Hall Nominees
Zach Thomas' first step toward a possible election to the 2021 Hall of Fame took place Wednesday when he was among the 130 modern-era nominees announced.
The seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker headed a list of eight former Miami Dolphins players among the nominees.
The other former Dolphins players on the list of nominees were wide receiver Wes Welker, tight end Keith Jackson, tackle Richmond Webb, linebacker Joey Porter, cornerback Troy Vincent, and punters Reggie Roby and Matt Turk.
Thomas was a finalist for the Hall of Fame for the first time last year and certainly has a strong case for a place in Canton, given how closely his numbers resemble those of Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher.
“Zach Thomas was my nemesis,” Mawae said about three-quarters into his 27-minute Hall of Fame speech. “My first year with the Jets before my first game we played against each other, (Coach) Bill Parcells told me in front of my entire team, ‘If you don’t block Thomas, we won’t win the game,’ and for the next 16 matchups I never forgot that.
"Zach was one of, if not the smartest player I ever faced. He loved the game, had fun when he played and brought the best out of me. When people ask me who’s not in the Hall of Fame and that I think should be here, it’s an easy one for me: number 54 from the Miami Dolphins.”
Among the other five former Dolphins on the list of nominees, Webb and Roby are the two who spent the majority of their career in Miami.
Roby spent 10 of his 16 seasons with Miami, earning two Pro Bowl invitations and All-Pro honors once. Webb spent his first 11 of 13 seasons with Miami, earning Pro Bowl honors each of his first seven years in the NFL.
Vincent spent four seasons with the Dolphins after being a first-round pick in 1992, but his best days came with the Philadelphia Eagles. Welker, of course, had five 100-catch seasons with the New England Patriots after the Dolphins traded him for second- and seventh-round picks in the 2007 draft. Turk played for six teams during his 17-year career, and four of them came with Miami. Porter played three of his 13 NFL seasons with Miami, while Jackson spent three of his nine seasons with the Dolphins.
The roster of nominees consists of 65 offensive players, 49 defensive players and 16 special teams players. The list of modern-era nominees will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November and 18 finalists will be presented to the full 48-member Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee during its annual meeting on “Selection Saturday,” the day before Super Bowl LV. The finalists will consist of 15 modern-era finalists and the recently named senior finalist, Drew Pearson; contributor finalist, Bill Nunn; and coach finalist, Tom Flores.
The Dolphins currently have 10 Hall of Famers: Coach Don Shula; quarterbacks Bob Griese and Dan Marino; running back Larry Csonka; wide receiver Paul Warfield; offensive linemen Larry Little, Jim Langer and Dwight Stephenson; defensive end Jason Taylor; and linebacker Nick Buoniconti.