Snub Over for Harold Carmichael, Which Eagle is Next in Line?

Ed Kracz

The snub ended on Jan. 15 when Harold Carmichael got his call from the Hall.

More than 30 years the former Eagles great waited, and, while it’s a bit of a bummer that he will have to wait until next summer to get his gold jacket after this August’s Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremonies were canceled, he is deservedly and finally able to walk in history with the greats of the game.

So, who’s got next?

Who are some other former Eagles players who deserve to get in?

It has to be Eric Allen.

The cornerback played 14 NFL season, his first seven with Philly after being taken in the second round (30th overall) out of Arizona State in 1988. He started 204 career games, including 110 with the Eagles, and was named to six Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro in 1989 after making six interceptions.

In 1993, Allen had six picks, four of which he returned for touchdowns, including two in the same game against the New Orleans Saints. The total is still tied for the NFL record along with Hall of Famer Ken Houston, who did it in 1971 and Jim Kearney, who had four a year later.

Also, that year, Allen had what NFL Film’s Steve Sabol (who was elected into the Hall in 2020) called “The Greatest Interception Return in NFL History.” It came on Oct. 3 against the New York Jets late in the fourth quarter after the Eagles had lost quarterback Randall Cunningham to a fractured fibula and Philly trailing by two points.

Allen stepped in front of a Boomer Esiason throw and went 94 yards for a touchdown to win the game.

Allen’s 34 touchdowns in seven seasons with the Eagles remain tied for the most in team history with Brian Dawkins and Bill Bradley. Allen’s five interceptions returned for touchdowns is the most in franchise history and his career return yardage of 482 yards remains third-most in team lore behind Bradley (536) and Dawkins (515).

For his career, which spanned 14 years and ended after the 2001 season and 217 games played, Allen had 54 interceptions, 826 return yards, and eight touchdowns. 

Not putting any of the corners down who are already enshrined but those numbers compare favorably with four cornerbacks to be elected into the Hall in the past decade: Champ Bailey (2019, 52 career INTs), Ty Law (2019, 53), Aeneas Williams (2014, 55), and Deion Sanders (2011, 53).

Again, those corners are well deserving of their induction, but so is Allen.

Who else?

Defensive end Clyde Simmons. How does someone pie up 121.5 career sacks from 1986-2000, including 76 with the Eagles, and 25 forced fumbles not get more love for enshrinement? His career total leaves him a half-sack behind Simeon Rice from being in the top 20.

Linebacker Sam Mills. He will likely be the next linebacker in after making the final round of selection last year. He didn’t play for the Eagles, but he won two titles of the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL.

Linebacker Seth Joyner. You could probably find linebackers in the Hall who are inferior to Joyner, who played eight years with the Eagles as an eighth-round draft pick in 1986. In his 13-year career, Joyner did a lot of everything, collecting 1,123 combined tackles with 52 sacks, 24 interceptions, 26 forced fumbles, and 12 fumble recoveries.

It may not be enough, however.

Running back Ricky Watters. Watters made the semifinals last year, so he’s knocking on the door. He is 24th on the NFL rushing list with 10,643, but that’s not as many as LeSean McCoy has at 11,071 with the possibility of adding to that if a team signs him. Three of Watters’ 10 seasons were with the Eagles, and he rushed for more than 1,100 yards in all three while starting all 48 games and scoring 31 of his career 78 touchdowns.