Brazile, Kramer HOF senior candidates for Class of 2018

Rick Gosselin

CANTON, Ohio_The Pro Football Hall of Fame senior committee Thursday elected linebacker Robert Brazile and guard Jerry Kramer as its two candidates for the Class of 2018.

It will be the 11th time Kramer has been in the room as a finalist and his second time as a senior. The last time he reached the finals was 1997 as a senior. This will be the first time Brazile has been a finalist.

"I don't know what to say," said an emotional Brazile. "I'm speechless."

Kramer was voted the best guard in the NFL’s first half century and also was named to the 1960s' all-decade team. Kramer played 11 seasons and won five championships with the Packers. He was a first-team All-Pro selection five times and a Pro Bowler three times.

In addition to leading the way as a pulling guard on the signature play of the Green Bay Packers' era – the Lombardi sweep – he served as the placekicker on the 1962-63 teams, booting 29 career field goals and scoring 177 points. He scored 10 of Green Bay’s points in a 16-7 victory over the New York Giants in the 1962 NFL title game.

"It's a final chapter, I guess, in life," said Kramer. "I won't assume I get in, but it could possibly be a crown on top of everything else ... the cherry on top of the pudding. It's been a wonderful ride. Football has been a wonderful part of my life."

Brazile was in the first wave of dominant outside linebackers in a 3-4 defense, lining up on the edge at Houston in the 1970s when Bum Phillips implemented that scheme with the Oilers. He played only 10 seasons but his 1,281 career tackles still ranks second in franchise history.

The sixth overall pick of the 1975 draft out of Jackson State, Brazile was named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year and was the cornerstone of a defense that powered the Oilers to back-to-back AFC title games in 1978-79. Brazile was voted to seven Pro Bowls in his 10 seasons before retiring in 1985 following the death of his wife in a car accident.

Brazile collected 48 career sacks and 13 interceptions on his way to NFL all-decade acclaim for the 1970s.

Brazile and Kramer will be stand-alone candidates next February, not in competition for busts with the 15 modern-era candidates. They will be subjected to a yes/no vote from the full 48-member selection committee and would need 80 percent of the vote to be included in the Class of 2018.

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