Carolina Panthers

Was the wrong Steve Smith just named an initial nominee of 2018 Hall of Fame class?

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith jokes with spectators along the BB&T Ballpark field prior to the start of the 2016 Triple-A Home Run Derby in Charlotte, NC on Monday, July 11, 2016.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith jokes with spectators along the BB&T Ballpark field prior to the start of the 2016 Triple-A Home Run Derby in Charlotte, NC on Monday, July 11, 2016. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

The Pro Football Hall of Fame released its initial list of 108 nominees for the 2018 class on Monday night, and on it were receiving greats like Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Hines Ward, and Steve Smith.

Although apparently, not that Steve Smith.

Steve Smith Sr., who Carolina Panthers fans and Baltimore Ravens fans alike have cherished throughout his 16-year, 1,000-catch and nearly 15,000-yard career with both teams, is not actually eligible since he just retired last year (he’s now an NFL Network analyst).

But Steve Smith, who has not played in the NFL since 2012, is.

You know, the Smith who played in the NFL for six years for a variety of teams including the Super Bowl-winning Giants...

...Who has 2,641 career yards with 245 catches.

There has been no clarification about this from the Pro Football Hall of Fame yet, so naturally the initial hypothesis is that selectors saw “Steve Smith” and immediately thought of Agent 89.

Whoops.

Although, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame rules, nominations can be made by anyone of “any qualified person who has been connected with pro football in any capacity simply by writing to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.” The only actual preliminary requirement is that the player or coach must have been retired for five years.

This nominee list does also go through a screening process, but the rules state that it includes any first-time eligible candidates who have “strong enough credentials to give them even a remote chance of eventual Hall of Fame election,” and “all other eligible candidates nominated by any person.”

So it’s certainly possible that a person thought the “other” Steve Smith was a contender and sent in a nomination, or mixed him up with Steve Smith Sr.

Former Panthers linebacker Sam Mills also made the list (and we’re sure it’s the right one). The list will be narrowed to 25 former players in November, before 15 finalists are voted on prior to this year’s Super Bowl.

It seems improbable that either Steve Smith makes it into this particular class.

Jourdan Rodrigue: 704-358-5071, @jourdanrodrigue

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