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Jay Hilgenberg and Olin Kreutz nominated for the Pro Football Hall Of Fame

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Jay Hilgenberg

When ever I try to decide of a player deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame, in any sport, I always ask my self if he was one of the best at his position when he played. As a time-frame ballpark, I usually check to see if he was one of the best for a decade. Sure there are instances where a truly great player can’t stay on top for 10 years, but for the most part, I think longevity matters when talking greatness.

With that being said, I’m befuddled as to how former Chicago Bears center Jay Hilgenberg isn’t already in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

He played from 1981 to 1993 for three teams after being an undrafted free agent for the Bears out of Iowa. He was in Chicago for 11 years, then with the Browns in 1992 and the Saints in 1993.

He played in 188 games in his career, with 152 starts. He was elected to the Pro Bowl seven straight years, named First Team All Pro twice, and considering his numerous honors coupled with his longevity, I see no reason why he’ snot already in the Hall.

This isn’t the first time Hilgenberg has been nominated, which only means the voters have had multiple times to get it wrong.

Jay Hilgenberg deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Olin Kreutz had just about as good a career as did Hilgenberg. After being a 3rd round pick of the Bears in the 1998 NFL Draft, Kreutz played 13 years with the Bears before finishing up with the Saints in 2011. He played in 191 games for the Bears, starting 183, then he had 4 more starts in New Orleans before deciding to retire.

Kreutz made six straight Pro Bowls, with 1 First Team All Pro nod, but he was clearly one of the best centers of his time. He’s a first time nominee, and I get the game voters like to play, making guys wait before getting into the Hall, with many left to the veterans committee for consideration. But I think Olin should be in the Hall as well.

Vinny Testaverde/Kevin Mawae

Hilgenberg and Kreutz aren’t the only “Bears” to make the nomination list for the Hall, current Chicago coach Kevin Mawae is also up for the 2017 class.

Mawae played from 1994 to 2009 with three different teams (the Seahawks, the Jets and the Titans), making the Pro Bowl seven times, with three First Team All Pros.

He and Kreutz were the two best centers of their time, and I think both should end up in Canton.

Ninety-four players and coaches are among the list of Modern-Era nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2017. This list will be chopped down to 25 in November, then down to 15 in January. Those 15 finalists will be joined by senior finalist Kenny Easley and contributor finalists Jerry Jones and Paul Tagliabue.

The Selection Committee will meet the night before the Super Bowl, February 4, 2017, and elect 4-8 new members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

What do you think the chances are for these three centers to get the nod?