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Stram, Allen Seem to Be Best Bets for Selection to Hall of Fame

January 25, 2003|Bill Dwyre | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Hank Stram and Marcus Allen are the closest things to shoo-ins in today's Pro Football Hall of Fame election, but Stram, with the caution of a coach, said there is no such thing as a sure thing.

"I really have no clue," he said. "I was around a lot of people this week, and everybody said the same thing, that it is a done deal. But I've lived too long to take anything for granted."

Stram, who turned 79 Jan. 3, coached the Kansas City Chiefs in two Super Bowls, the first in 1967, a 35-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers, and the next Super Bowl IV in 1970, a 23-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

"If I were to get into the Hall of Fame," Stram said, "it would match those Super Bowls."

Allen, USC's Heisman trophy-winning running back in 1981 and longtime star with the Raiders, is also expected to be among four or five granted the honor by a panel of 38 voters.

Stram is the lone nominee of the Seniors Committee and, in recent years, the full electoral board has pretty much followed that committee's recommendation.

The voting board consists of 31 media members representing each NFL market except recent addition Houston, plus a Pro Football Writers' Assn. member and six at-large media voters. The final balloting will take place at 7:30 a.m. today and the results will be announced at a noon news conference, timed for ESPN coverage.

Besides Stram and Allen, there are 13 other nominees: Lester Hayes, former Raider star cornerback; James Lofton, a star receiver for several NFL teams, including the Raiders; Elvin Bethea, longtime defensive end with the Houston Oilers; Harry Carson, linebacker with the New York Giants; Joe Delamielleure, guard with Buffalo and Cleveland; Randy Gradishar, linebacker for Denver; Claude Humphrey, defensive end with Atlanta and Philadelphia; Bob Kuechenberg, guard with Miami; Art Monk, wide receiver with Washington, the New York Jets and Philadelphia; Kenny Stabler, quarterback with Oakland, the Houston Oilers and New Orleans; Ralph Wilson, owner of the Buffalo Bills; George Young, executive with the New York Giants and the NFL; and Gary Zimmerman, tackle with Minnesota and Denver.

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