South Carolina Football: Former Gamecock was snubbed as a nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame

South Carolina football pass rusher John Abraham with the Atlanta Falcons. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football pass rusher John Abraham with the Atlanta Falcons. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is full of some of the best players to ever wear a football uniform. The South Carolina football program, unjustly, has never had a player inducted into the Hall despite some elite NFL players hailing from the garnet and black.

Sterling Sharpe, Tom Addison, Bobby Bryant, and coach Dan Reeves all should be inducted by now, but, alas, the Gamecocks are still awaiting their first-ever Hall of Fame selection.

The drought seems likely to end in the not-so-distant future as cornerback Stephon Gilmore is almost a lock for the Hall after his retirement. The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year also has a Super Bowl ring and multiple All-Pro selections during his 12-year career, and he is still going strong for the Dallas Cowboys.

There is a chance, though, that Gilmore is not the first South Carolina football alum to be honored as a Hall of Famer. In addition to the hope that Sharpe, Addison, Bryant, and Reeves will get in, there is another former Gamecock who has had a few chances to be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

John Abraham, one of the greatest pass rushers in the history of the South Carolina football program, put together an even better NFL career. Abraham ranks 13th all-time in career sacks, and the only players ahead of him on the list who have not been immortalized in the Hall are Jared Allen (finalist this season), Julius Peppers (finalist this season), and Terrell Suggs (not yet eligible).

For context, Abraham’s 133 1/2 sacks are one more than Lawrence Taylor’s career total, and Abraham reached that number in just eight more career games than LT. While no one is arguing that John Abraham was as good as Lawrence Taylor, it is a statistic that cannot be ignored.

#55 also averaged more sacks per game than Michael Strahan, Julius Peppers, Bruce Smith, Richard Dent, and Jason Taylor who are all already enshrined into the Hall of Fame (or will be after this season in the case of Peppers). The hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker Abraham also ranks 11th all-time in non-sack tackles for loss with 144 stops behind the line of scrimmage.

For reasons that don’t make much sense, John Abraham was not selected as a finalist for this year’s Hall of Fame ballot. This marks the fourth straight offseason that Abraham was selected as a semifinalist for Hall of Fame consideration but failed to be elevated to the final vote.

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