What they're saying about the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2018

Sports columnist Mike Preston has covered Ray Lewis pro football career from the start. He reflects on Lewis career and his induction into the Hall of Fame. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)

How the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018 is being viewed by NFL reporters and columnists after Saturday night’s announcement in Minneapolis:

“The class this year is impressive, but how do you not include one offensive lineman in the class? There were five eligible, and they obviously cannibalized each other for votes. … It's a flawed process and, yes, I know it's a tough job. And the class they picked has deserving players, even if I didn't agree with a few. There are better ways to do this picking.”


“It was a day for the 1990s and 2000s NFL as [Terrell] Owens was the modern-era selection who had waited the longest, and he was in just his third year of eligibility. Brian Dawkins was in his second year of eligibility. [Ray] Lewis was the most decorated of the group as a 13-time Pro Bowl selection, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and a Super Bowl MVP in his career as a Baltimore Ravens linebacker.”

Exactly five years after he played his last game and went out as a Super Bowl champion, former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

“… what made [Ray] Lewis even more special was his leadership ability. He practiced and played hard on every snap. He motivated his teammates, especially the younger players. He could do it with his performance or verbally.”

“Whereas [Ray] Lewis’s election felt inevitable, and [Terrell] Owens’s candidacy was the most gawked-at, this class presented a fascinating landscape of players across multiple generations. The election of [Brian] Urlacher and [Brian] Dawkins helped chisel into the massive discrepancy between offensive and defensive players that currently exists in the hall.”

Ray Lewis wasn't born here, but he became a symbol of a hardscrabble town that needed a bigger-than-life African-American hero.

“No more whining from Terrell Owens. The compelling T.O. to the Pro Football Hall of Fame controversy ended Saturday when he was elected in his third year of eligibility. He joins wide receiver Randy Moss and linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, who all made it in their first year, and safety Brian Dawkins, in a strong Class of 2018.”

“All eight men have such fantastic stories and roads to enshrinement, with particularly long waits for induction ending for [Robert] Brazile and [Jerry] Kramer. [Ray] Lewis, [Brian] Dawkins and [Brian] Urlacher are fitting teammates as some of the hardest-edged defenders of their era. But it's hard not to start telling the story of this class without noting that the two most electric, productive and headline-grabbing receivers of their era will head to Canton together.”

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