5 potential Hall of Fame careers in the NFL that were derailed by injuries

Yappi

Go Buckeyes
This week at SB Nation, we’re shining the spotlight on the NFL’s most underappreciated — from our favorite underdog stories to the most overlooked players and teams. Now’s the time to give them their due.

Not every great NFL player can be as fortunate as Tom Brady or Jerry Rice when it comes to longevity. Most players slow down long before hitting age 40. Even playing into your 30s takes relatively good luck.

Football is a violent sport and injuries can always knock a star’s career off track.

Sterling Sharpe, WR, Packers
Greg Cook, QB, Bengals
Al Toon, WR, Jets
Ickey Woods, RB, Bengals
Tony Boselli, OT, Jaguars
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cjb56

Well-known member
Woods...doubtful. Cook, by all accounts, was a stud...but were the Bengals really going to get by the Steelers of that era? Kenny Anderson was a great QB, but couldn't get by Pittsburgh too often. Toon was good, not great. Sharpe and Boselli were studs on track to Canton.
 

Termite2

Well-known member
Woods...doubtful. Cook, by all accounts, was a stud...but were the Bengals really going to get by the Steelers of that era? Kenny Anderson was a great QB, but couldn't get by Pittsburgh too often. Toon was good, not great. Sharpe and Boselli were studs on track to Canton.

Cook was a better QB than Anderson, Isaac Curtis would have had led the league in receiving,Cook made defenses defend the entire field with that arm. They were not that far behind the Steelers. As it was, they should have won the 75' game at home against the Steelers, which would have made them the divisional winner and the Steelers the wild card. 76' they again should have won the game at Riverfront, if they had, the Bengals would have made the playoffs and the Steelers would have sat home.
 

cjb56

Well-known member
Cook was a better QB than Anderson, Isaac Curtis would have had led the league in receiving,Cook made defenses defend the entire field with that arm. They were not that far behind the Steelers. As it was, they should have won the 75' game at home against the Steelers, which would have made them the divisional winner and the Steelers the wild card. 76' they again should have won the game at Riverfront, if they had, the Bengals would have made the playoffs and the Steelers would have sat home.
I've spoken with others who were old enough to have seen Cook in his prime, and all agree he was as good as advertised.
 

cjb56

Well-known member
I've spoken with others who were old enough to have seen Cook in his prime, and all agree he was as good as advertised.
Cook was a better QB than Anderson, Isaac Curtis would have had led the league in receiving,Cook made defenses defend the entire field with that arm. They were not that far behind the Steelers. As it was, they should have won the 75' game at home against the Steelers, which would have made them the divisional winner and the Steelers the wild card. 76' they again should have won the game at Riverfront, if they had, the Bengals would have made the playoffs and the Steelers would have sat home.
1975 seemed to be the better team, but a late season waxing by the Steelers in Three Rivers...and an inexplicable beating by the lowly 3-11 Browns late in the season cost the Bengals it would seem, as going on the road to face Oakland in the playoffs was never easy for any team.
 

jmog

Well-known member
How can you have this list and not include Bo Jackson? He was a sure thing HoF'er until his hip injury.
 

Monclova Steve

Well-known member
I've spoken with others who were old enough to have seen Cook in his prime, and all agree he was as good as advertised.
Well, now you have heard from another one who saw him. I was able to see him both in college at UC as well as the Bengals. My God, what a QB!
He had an arm that could have only come from God......50-yard frozen ropes right on target. He was big and tall but also mobile.

The summer before his rookie year, the Super Bowl champs from the previous season played the College All-Stars in a pre-season game. This was before the public had any idea of who Greg Cook was. He was actually the 3rd-string QB for the All-Stars. Well, the game of course was on the way to being the expected rout -- 26-3 Jets. Late in the 3rd quarter, the coach put Cook in the game. Result? Drive down the field.....touchdown. The All-Stars then forced the Jets to punt. Cook once again takes them down the field.....another touchdown. Yes, the Jets had to punt again and, yep, Cook directs a 3rd touchdown. The Jets hold on, though, and squeak out a 26-24 win.
That's when everybody started asking "Who in the world is that guy?"

Oh, what might have been.
 
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