Wycheck among first-year candidates for Hall of Fame

Frank Wycheck finished his career as one of only five tight ends to surpass 500 receptions in NFL history.
In addition, for the third consecutive year, Titans owner K.S. "Bud" Adams, Jr. is among a list of 133 modern-era players, coaches, and contributors who make up the preliminary list of nominees for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2008. Other individuals that have been a part of the Oilers/Titans franchise on the preliminary list include: scout C.O. Brocato (1974-1976, 1981-present Houston Oilers/Tennessee Oilers/Tennessee Titans);  P Rich Camarillo (1981-1987 New England Patriots, 1988 Los Angeles Rams, 1989-1993 Phoenix Cardinals, 1994-1995 Houston Oilers, 1996 Oakland Raiders); DT/DE Ray Childress (1985-1995 Houston Oilers, 1996 Dallas Cowboys); G/C Kent Hill (1979-1986 Los Angeles Rams, 1986-1987 Houston Oilers); P Reggie Roby (1983-1992 Miami Dolphins, 1993-1994 Washington Redskins, 1995 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1996-1997 Houston/Tennessee Oilers, 1998 San Francisco 49ers); QB Ken Stabler (1970-1979 Oakland Raiders, 1980-1981 Houston Oilers, 1982-1984 New Orleans Saints); and ST/WR Steve Tasker(1985-1986 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills). 
Adams, in his 49th year as Founder, Owner, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of the Titans/Oilers franchise, is an enduring figure in the NFL. As one of the original team owners in the American Football League, he has guided his franchise to new heights since relocating to Nashville in 1997, posting five playoff appearances, including an AFC Championship (1999), AFC Central title (2000),  AFC South title (2002), AFC Championship appearance (2002) and Wild Card teams in 2003 and 2007.  He is one of only four current NFL owners to reach the 350-win plateau – Adams, Ralph Wilson (Buffalo), Dan Rooney (Pittsburgh) and Al Davis (Oakland/Los Angeles).   
Wycheck, in his fourth year as the color analyst on Titans Radio,  has been one of the franchise's most visible players  — both on the field and off — since the team arrived in Nashville during the 1997 season. Wycheck retired following the 2003 season, finishing his 11-year NFL career with 505 catches, fourth most in NFL history by a tight end. Wycheck finished his career as one of only five tight ends to surpass 500 receptions in NFL history (the others being Shannon Sharpe, Ozzie Newsome, Kellen Winslow, and Tony Gonzalez).

Wycheck led the Titans in receiving for three consecutive seasons (1999-2001). He also went 5-for-6 passing the ball in his career (all on trick plays), resulting in 148 yards, 2 touchdowns, and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. He totaled more than 4,900 yards and 27 touchdowns during his eight seasons with the Oilers and Titans.

Wycheck served as one of the favorite targets for former Titan Steve McNair during the quarterback's development into an MVP performer. Nowhere could this be seen more clearly than during a 2003 AFC Divisional Playoff game against Pittsburgh when Wycheck recorded the first 100-yard day of his career, catching 10 passes for 123 yards as the Titans won in overtime.

Wycheck was also involved in one of the NFL's most famous plays, the Music City Miracle, cementing his place in Titans playoff history. It happened January 8, 2000, as the Titans played the first-ever playoff game in Nashville. With Buffalo ahead 16-15 with just 16 seconds remaining in the AFC Wild Card game, Wycheck lateraled a Lorenzo Neal pitch of the kickoff across the field to wide receiver Kevin Dyson. Dyson returned it 75 yards for a touchdown in a 23-16 Titans victory, advancing the Titans in their Super Bowl run.

The Oilers/Titans franchise currently has eight former players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including: QB/K George Blanda(1981), S Ken Houston (1986), RB Earl Campbell (1991), WR Charlie Joiner(1996), G Mike Munchak (2001), DE Elvin Bethea(2003), QB Warren Moon (2006), and OL Bruce Matthews (2007).

The 25 modern-era semifinalists list will be reduced by a mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists.

The final list of nominees that will be considered for election will consist of the 15 modern-era finalists and the two previously announced senior nominees, Bob Hayes and Claude Humphrey. Hayes and Humphrey were selected this past August by the Hall of Fame's Senior Selection Committee. [See related story>>>]

The Class of 2009 will be selected from the list of 17 finalists (15 modern-era and two senior nominees). The actual voting will be conducted at the Hall of Fame Selection Committee's annual meeting, which will be held on Saturday, January 31, 2009, in Tampa, Florida the day before Super Bowl XLIII. The election results will be announced immediately after the meeting at a press conference in the media headquarters. While there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the ground rules provide that between four and seven new members will be selected.

The preliminary list includes 110 players, seven coaches and 16 contributors, including former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and longtime team owners Bud Adams, Jerry Jones, Art Modell and Ralph Wilson.

To be considered for Hall of Fame election, a nominated player or coach must have been retired at least five years. A contributor, who is a nominee who has made outstanding career contributions to pro football in capacities other than playing or coaching, may still be active in his pro football career.

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