In 2015, it was Charles Haley’s turn to put on the gold jacket. This year, Eddie DeBartolo Jr. earned his long-awaited bronze bust.
It’s time for Roger Craig to join them – and the countless other San Francisco 49ers legends – in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Craig is a semifinalist for the ninth time since becoming eligible for induction. It’s a shame that the former 49ers running back is still waiting to take his rightful spot in Canton, Ohio, but his former teammates aren’t giving up on Craig’s campaign trail.
Last month at “Mr. D’s” Hall of Fame Celebration, fellow 49ers icons took a moment to state their case for Craig’s candidacy. Here are just a few of the running back’s credentials that make him worthy: First player in NFL history to rack up 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season (1985), led the NFL in receptions in 1985 (92), led the NFL in yards from scrimmage in 1988 (2,036), 73 total touchdowns and 13,100 total yards from scrimmage. That’s before taking into account Craig’s success in the postseason and three Super Bowl rings.
In short, Craig was a pioneer in shaping the role of the multipurpose running back in the NFL. Before Curtis Martin, Marshall Faulk and LaDainian Tomlinson, there was Craig.
That’s why Craig’s former teammates had this to say about his Canton-worthy career.
WR Dwight Clark:
“I think that’s another slam-dunk. Eddie should have been in a long time ago, and Roger should be in. His stats alone get him in. But the heart that guy played with – he is a true Hall of Famer.”
QB Joe Montana:
“He was the first 1,000/1,000 guy. There are people in there that didn’t have near the statistics or the records that he set. My fingers are crossed for him. He’ll make it.”
WR Jerry Rice:
“We want to get Roger into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His training regimen, what he brought to the game, his high-knee action – he was one of those real physical runners on the football field. The numbers he put up were amazing, also. He put up 1,000/1,000, and that had never been done.”
S Dwight Hicks:
“I think he’s deserving, and it’s been a long time coming. He was the first player to gain 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season. I think he should have been in a long time ago.”
LB Keena Turner:
“I think he should have been in already. You look at what he accomplished and the workhorse that he was. Through some amazing years in our history, those don’t happen without him. Hopefully they get it right, but he’s definitely a Hall of Famer.”