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2012 Hall of Fame: Chris Doleman was a workman's workman

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
Doleman receives a jacket from his son Evan. (AP)

In this modern day and age, we often see various NFL players show up to training camp, etc., in different garb. Reggie Wayne is often seen carrying a pail and wearing a hardhat to symbolize that he's going to work. I love that. And that's why it's hard to hate on Chris Doleman: he used to carry a briefcase with him at all times.

2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame

Other inductees:

The briefcase was for carrying his Vikings -- and later on Falcons and 49ers -- playbook, because, as Bob Sansevere of the Pioneer-Press relates, "his business was playing in the NFL and it made sense to him to carry his business-related documents in a briefcase."

For Doleman, his specific was getting after the quarterback. And business, for most of his career, was good. Doleman played 15 years (10 in Minnesota) and piled up a whopping 150.5 sacks, including a league-leading 21 sacks in 1989.

Drafted out of Pittsburgh as a linebacker by the Vikings with the fourth overall pick of the 1985 draft, Doleman's combination of power and speed made him the perfect fit for an increasingly violent pass-rush that was propping up in the NFL.

"If I was playing with these rules and regulations, shoot, I would still be playing,” said Doleman said, way back in 1999. "It's a much kinder, gentler NFL now."

Doleman dominated for more than a decade, earning eight Pro Bowl appearances, the first in 1987 with the Vikings (his first double-digit sack season) and the last in 1997 as a member of the 49ers. The defensive lineman also picked up a pair of All-Pro nods along the way.

He never picked up a Super Bowl victory and Doleman said recently he believes that's why it took him so long to get in; Bill Walsh apparently informed him a Super Bowl title would guarantee him first-ballot status into the Hall.

"The Super Bowl is a team effort. It's given way too much credence, playing on a Super Bowl team," Doleman said. "A Super Bowl is a great honor, but they're too quick to give it to those players. There are some wonderful guys in the Hall, and probably some guys still should be waiting. I'm not saying they don't deserve to be in, but they don't deserve to go in right away."

But now his time has come anyway, and Doleman will have his son present him for entrance into Canton's finest institution and his gold jacket, a final and fitting business-like representation of Doleman's career in the NFL.


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.

 
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