Dan Hanzus of NFL.com today did the kind of thing NFL writers do in May — he ranked the top 30 running backs in the league.
At No. 2 is Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch, which is 1, not really a surprise; and 2, a sign of the increasing respect he is getting (as Hanzus notes).
Maybe more eye-catching is Hanzus’ assertion that Lynch and the other three in that group could all be Hall of Famers someday.
That’s a pretty quick ascension for a guy who when he arrived in Seattle in 2010 was looking to resurrect his career.
And he still has some heavy lifting to do to get there — here are Lynch’s stats, and you’d think these days you’ve got to end up with 10,000 or so career yards to even get on the board (unless you had a Gale Sayers-type situation).
That obviously wasn’t always the case. When I first read the story and then looked at the list of running backs in the Hall of Fame, for some reason Leroy Kelly stood out as a guy who — in my grade-school memory, anyway — seems like he was a little bit like Lynch in style.
Kelly’s stats, though, are one of the best examples around of how you can’t judge football HOF candidacy — even for skill position players — by mere numbers, especially over the eras.
The game has changed greatly in style, as have the rules, as well as simply the number of games played each season.
Kelly’s 7,274 yards and 4.2 average from 1964-73 seem almost pedestrian — Lynch, with 6,132 career yards could catch him by week 11 or so (and this is probably way more about Leroy Kelly than you ever expected to get in this space).
Lynch will worry first about taking the Seahawks to the Super Bowl. That’s an accomplishment that wouldn’t hurt on the road to Canton, as well.