Former Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Jerry Kramer and ex-Houston Oilers linebacker Robert Brazile were named senior finalists for the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class on Thursday.
Five members of the Hall of Fame’s seniors committee voted for Kramer and Brazile to be nominated for potential induction. The 48-member Hall of Fame selection committee will determine in February if one or both will be enshrined as part of the next Hall of Fame class. They must receive 80 percent of the committee’s votes in order to be inducted.
Kramer, 81, is considered one of the best linemen in NFL history still waiting to make it into Canton. He played 11 NFL seasons — all with the Packers — and was one of quarterback Bart Starr’s most trusted protectors. He won five NFL titles with the Packers and was part of the team’s Super Bowl I and II victories. He retired in 1968 after 130 career games and five All-Pro first team selections.
In addition, Kramer was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1960s and to the NFL’s 50th Anniversary Team in 1969.
Prior to his modern-era eligibility expiring in 1988, Kramer was a Hall of Fame finalist nine times. He also was a senior finalist once before in 1997. His nomination comes nearly 50 years after his block on Starr’s famous diving touchdown in the Ice Bowl.
Brazile, 64, started in every game he played in over a 10-year career with the Oilers, and was the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1975. A speedy, strong centerpiece to the “House of Pain” Oilers teams of the late 1970s and early ’80s, Brazile retired in 1984 after being named to seven Pro Bowls and garnering two All-Pro first team honors.
Brazile also was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1970s, and he’s the only player to earn that honor who isn’t enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
“I don’t know what to say,” Brazile told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “I’m speechless. I’m so happy, I’m just floating. It’s such an honor, a blessing. I can’t believe it after all these years. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
The 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class will be revealed at NFL Honors on Feb. 3, a day before Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.