Green Bay Packers: 3 icons from the 1990s on Hall of Fame ballot


The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its list of preliminary nominees for the 2015 class and three of the figures from the Green Bay Packers return to the NFL’s elite in the 1990s are under consideration.

None of the three are first-time contenders. Mike Holmgren is one of 14 coaches among the 113 nominees, while wide receiver Sterling Sharpe and safety LeRoy Butler are also under consideration.

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  • Of that list of 113, 25 will be chosen by the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee to advance, with the semifinalists to be named in late November.

    A mail ballot will reduce that list to 15 modern-era finalists and will be announced in early January. Up to eight will be selected for induction the Saturday before the Super Bowl in Arizona.

    The 15 modern-era finalists will be joined by Minnesota Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff, who was selected last month by the Hall’s Senior Selection Committee. There will also be two contributor finalists still to be chosen.

    It’s likely, however, that none of the three will be among those on the big stage in Canton, Ohio, next August.

    Sharpe was a three-time All-Pro selection and a five-time Pro Bowler who played for the Packers from 1988 through 1994, when he was forced to retire at age 29 because of a congenital condition in his spine that left him susceptible to potentially debilitating injury.

    Sharpe, the seventh-overall pick by the Pack in the 1988 draft out of South Carolina, led the NFL in receptions three times, including a then-single-season record 112 catches in 1993.

    That mark was broken the following season by Hall of Famer Cris Carter.

    Sharpe also led the NFL in receiving touchdowns twice, including 18 in his final season.

    In his seven-year career, Sharpe had 595 receptions for 8.134 yards and 65 scores and won the receiving “triple crown” in 1992—leading the NFL in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches, one of only seven players to accomplish the feat.

    Sharpe has never advanced past the preliminary stage on the ballot.

    Butler was a second-round pick of the Packers in the 1990 draft out of Florida State and played his first two seasons as a cornerback. He was moved to strong safety in 1992 and by 1993 was an All-Pro at the position. He wound up being selected All-Pro four times and went to four Pro Bowls.

    He retired after the 2001 season with 38 career interceptions and 889 career tackles, plus 20.5 sacks.

    Butler, a member of the All-1990s team selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has never advanced beyond the preliminary stage on the ballot.

    Holmgren was a first-time head coach when he was hired by Ron Wolf in 1992 to take over the Packers and in his fifth season, 1996, he led Green Bay back to the top of the pack with a victory in Super Bowl XXXI. The Packers also played in Super Bowl XXXII, losing to the Denver Broncos.

    Holmgren was an assistant coach for five years with the San Francisco 49ers—earning two Super Bowl rings, one as quarterbacks coach and one as offensive coordinator—before coming to Green Bay.

    He left the Packers after the 1998 season to become head coach and general manager in Seattle and he led the Seahawks to Super Bowl XL after the 2005 season before retiring after the 2008 campaign.

    Holmgren was 75-37 in seven years in Green Bay with a 9-5 postseason mark and he is credited for helping to develop a raw young quarterback named Brett Favre into a three-time NFL MVP.

    Holmgren’s .670 winning percentage is second best in franchise history behind Vince Lombardi’s .754 and his nine postseason victories are tied with Lombardi for the most among Packer coaches.

    He is fourth among Packer coaches with 75 wins, trailing Curly Lambeau (209), Lombardi (89) and Mike McCarthy (82).

    Holmgren was 86-74 in 10 years with the Seahawks and his 161-111 career mark has him 13th on the NFL’s all-time coaching victories list.

    Holmgren has never progressed beyond the preliminary stage on the ballot.

    Two other former Packers are also on the preliminary list.

    Defensive tackle Steve McMichael played the last of his 15 NFL seasons with the Packers in 1994 after a year with the New England Patriots and 13 years with the Chicago Bears (1981-93).

    Punter Sean Landeta was with the Packers in 1998 during his 21-year career that included stints with the New York Giants, Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Philadelphia Eagles. Landeta was also the last player from the old USFL to remain active in the NFL, retiring after the 2005 season—20 years after the spring league closed up shop.