Ex-Raiders, Eagles CB Takes Rare Hall of Fame Step

Eric Allen

Getty Former Eagles CB Eric Allen retired with 54 career interceptions in 2001.

One of the first true shutdown cornerbacks in NFL history has been named as a modern-day semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Former Eagles legend Eric Allen was a six-time Pro Bowler — plus first-team All-Pro in 1989 — in seven brilliant years in Philadelphia. This marks the first time Allen has made it to the semifinals.

Allen garnered national attention last year when Deion Sanders — arguably the NFL’s greatest cornerback — called for Allen to be enshrined in Canton. The 14-year NFL veteran ranks 21st on the all-time interceptions list (54) and 24th in interception return yards (826). He played for the Eagles, Raiders, Saints.

Allen was a vital part of Philly’s famed “Gang Green” defense in 1991 and holds several franchise records, including the most career interceptions returns for touchdowns (5) while being tied for the most picks in franchise history (34). The 54-year-old was inducted into the Eagles’ Hall of Fame in 2011 but has been continually snubbed by the NFL voters.

“I think the first couple of years I was hurt and frustrated,” Allen told the Talk of Fame Network in 2017. “But, as time goes, and you get older … to be honest, I’m a little more worried about getting tickets to Comi-Con than I am the Hall of Fame. I have four sons, so that’s the most important thing for me right now.”

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Ex-Stars LB Sam Mills Named Semifinalist

Allen wasn’t the only Hall-of-Fame semifinalist with Philly ties. Sam Mills, who died in 2005 due to intestinal cancer, started his prolific career as an attacking linebacker for the Philadelphia Stars of the now-defunct USFL and anchored their famed “Doghouse Defense.” The New Jersey native led the Stars to two USFL championships and was honored on the league’s All-Time Team.

“Every time there’s a small linebacker that people talk about they say, ‘He’s the next Sam Mills,’” former Stars talent evaluator Bill Kuharich told Talk of Fame Network in 2015. “But there will never be another Sam Mills. He was A-1 in every category you can think of.”

When Stars coach Jim Mora left to coach the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, the 5-foot-9, 229-pounder followed him and embarked on a stellar 12-year NFL career that saw him qualify for five Pro Bowls, plus one first-team All-Pro nod in 1996. He retired with 1,265 career tackles, 20.5 sacks, 11 interceptions, 22 forced fumbles, 23 fumble recoveries in stints with New Orleans and Carolina. Mills was inducted into both the Saints’ and Panthers’ Hall of Fames.

Peyton Manning, Calvin Johnson Lead List

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced their 25 semifinalists on Tuesday, a list that will get whittled down to 15 modern-era finalists in January. The Class of 2021 will be determined and announced during the week leading up to Super Bowl LV, per a press release. There is no set number for any class of enshrinees, but the bylaws provide that between four and eight new members will be selected.

The full list of semifinalists includes Eric Allen, Sam Mills, Jared Allen, Peyton Manning, Clay Matthews, Willie Anderson, Ronde Barber, Cornelius Bennett, Tony Boselli, Leroy Butler, Alan Faneca, Rodney Harrison, Torry Holt, Calvin Johnson, Richard Seymour, Steve Tasker, Fred Taylor, Zach Thomas, Hines Ward, Reggie Wayne, Patrick Willis, Charles Woodson, Darren Woodson, Bryant Young, John Lynch.

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