Nashville, Tenn. - Tennessee State University fans can vote for former Tiger football legends Ed "Too Tall" Jones and Richard Dent as nominations for induction into the 2010 NFL Hall of Fame.
Fans can log on to "The Official Van Heusen Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan's Choice" to place their nominee selection. Fans can select up to five nominees by selecting the button and submit votes as often as they want.
The inductees will be announced on February 6, 2010.
On the day before Super Bowl XLIV in South Florida, the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Board of Selectors will meet to hold its annual selection meeting to elect between four and seven individuals who will comprise the Class of 2010.
The 44-person committee will debate the merits of 17 final candidates.
Ed Lee "Too Tall" Jones was selected as Tennessee State University's first No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, selected by the Dallas Cowboys in 1974. Currently, he is the only football player from a Historically Black College and University to accomplish that feat.
By the end of his 15 years with the Cowboys, Jones was officially credited with 57 quarterback sacks. Unofficially, his career sack total is 106 (sacks did not become an official NFL statistic until 1982).
His highest single-season sack total was 13 in 1985 and he was a member of the famed "Doomsday Defense" squad of the 1970s. Jones was given the nickname "Too Tall" because of his height, 6 ft 9 in.
After five years playing defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys from 1974 through 1978, Jones quit football to attempt a professional boxing career. He fought six times as a heavyweight in just three months from November 1979 through January 1980, winning all of his bouts, all but one by knockout. His opponents were mostly marginal fighters, with the exception of future heavyweight champion of Mexico Fernando Montes, whom Jones knocked out in the first round.
Despite his success in the ring, Jones missed the NFL and returned to Dallas to play for the Cowboys from 1980 through 1989. He was named All-Pro in 1981 and 1982, and played in 16 playoff games, including three Super Bowls.
Jones played on three NFC champion teams and the 1978 Super Bowl winner. He retired for the second time in 1989, after a total of 15 seasons with the Cowboys. Jones, Bill Bates, and Mark Tuinei are the only players in Cowboys history to play for the franchise for 15 seasons. Jones' tenure is unique in "bridging gaps" of the Franchise in that he was a teammate of both Bob Lilly and Troy Aikman.
At TSU, Jones is listed third in sacks in a season (12) and fifth in career sacks (38).
An eighth-round draft pick out of Tennessee State, rookie defensive end Richard Dent immediately exceeded the Chicago Bears' expectations. Dent played in every game as a rookie in 1983 and even started in three. The following year, he became a permanent starter at right end. That year he recorded a team record 17.5 sacks which was also the most of any defender in the NFC. Making his accomplishment even more significant is the fact that he was a starter in only the final 10 games of the season. Appropriately, he was named to the first of his four Pro Bowls and earned All-Pro and All-NFC honors as well.
For Dent, the 1984 season was the beginning of a remarkable 10-year period during which he recorded 10 or more sacks in eight of the next ten seasons including five consecutive (1984-88). His only double digit misses during that period came in 1989 when he logged 9 sacks, and in 1992 when he added 8.5 more.
Dent's NFC leading 17.5 sacks in 1984 was immediately followed up with an NFL best 17 sacks in 1985. That year the Bears trounced the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX. Dent's Super Bowl performance - three tackles, 1.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles - earned him Most Valuable Player honors. In the two playoff games against the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams, building up to the Super Bowl, he was credited with a combined total of nine tackles and 4.5 sacks. In the 1986 season, Dent registered 11.5 sacks, 7.5 of which came during the final seven games.
Twice - once in 1984 and then again in 1987 - the Bears' pass rushing specialist, dropped Los Angeles Raiders quarterbacks for a career high 4.5 sacks in a single game. Chicago's defenses of the mid-to-late 1980s ranks as one of the best of all time. Dent, a pass-rushing force, was a dominant player on a dominant defense.
Dent led TSU in career sacks (39) along with Claude Humphrey from 1982 to 1999 before Lamar Carter garnered the title with 40.5 sacks. Dents is also listed second in sacks on the season with 14.
Fans can log on to the Pro Football Hall of Fame to follow updates daily.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the hall of fame of the National Football League (NFL). It opened in Canton, Ohio, on September 7, 1963 with 17 charter inductees.