Pro Football Hall of Fame: Tony Gonzalez in; Tom Flores, John Lynch miss out


Pro Football Hall of Fame: Tony Gonzalez in; Tom Flores, John Lynch miss out

ATLANTA – Former Raiders coach Tom Flores and 49ers general manager John Lynch on Saturday fell short of the required votes to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The 48 voters selected the Class of 2019, which included first-ballot inductees tight end Tony Gonzalez, safety Ed Reed and cornerback Champ Bailey. Cornerback Ty Law and center Kevin Mawae were also voted into the Hall of Fame on the modern-era ballot.

Seniors nominee Johnny Robinson, and contributors Pat Bowlen and Gil Brandt round out the eight-person Hall of Fame class. Those eight individuals will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 3.

Gonzalez, who played football and basketball at Cal, is considered one of the top tight ends in NFL history. A 14-time Pro Bowl selection, Gonzalez played 17 NFL seasons with Kansas City and Atlanta. He ranks No. 2 all time behind Jerry Rice with 1,325 receptions. He ranks sixth in receiving yards (15,127) and eighth in receiving touchdowns (111).

Neither Lynch nor Flores advanced Saturday from the 15 finalists into the top 10. A maximum of five modern-era candidates can be elected into the Hall of Fame in any given year.

Flores, a two-time Super Bowl-winning coach, was a first-time finalist in his 24th year of eligibility. He was 83-53 in his nine seasons as Raiders head coach.

Lynch was a finalist for the Hall of Fame for the sixth time. Of the 22 finalists who have been a finalist six times, Lynch is the only one of those individuals who has not been inducted into the Hall of Fame. He appeared in nine Pro Bowls during his career with Tampa Bay and Denver.

The selectors met for nearly eight hours on Saturday at the Georgia World Conference Center on the eve of Super Bowl LIII, to discuss the merits of each of the 18 finalists. The conversation lasted 18:54 for Flores, while Lynch’s discussion went for 12:39.

Reed, a nine-time Pro Bowl performer with Baltimore, ranks No. 1 all time with 1,590 interception return yards. Bailey was elected to 12 Pro Bowls in his 15-year career with Washington and the Denver Broncos. Law, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, is the first player from the New England Patriots dynasty to be elected into the Hall of Fame. Mawae was an eight-time Pro Bowl player with the Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets and Tennessee Titans.

Robinson recorded 57 interceptions in his 12-year career with the Dallas Texans and Kansas City of the AFL. Bowlen won three Super Bowls as Broncos owner, and Brandt was instrumental to the Dallas Cowboys’ success as a scout.

The longest discussion of the modern-era candidates was for Law (27:16), followed by offensive tackle Tony Boselli (26:10), Mawae (24:52) and coach Don Coryell (22:37). The shortest discussion was for Reed (2:20).

Defensive lineman Richard Seymour and wide receiver Isaac Bruce, who finished their careers with the Raiders and 49ers, respectively, did not make the cut from the 15 finalists into the final 10.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area is on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors.

Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid resolve pending grievances against NFL


Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid resolve pending grievances against NFL

Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid have settled their collusion grievances against the National Football League with a confidential settlement, lawyers representing both men and the NFL announced Friday in a joint statement.

“For the past several months, counsel for Mr. Kaepernick and Mr. Reid have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the NFL," the statement read. "As a result of those discussions, the parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances. The resolution of this matter is subject to a confidentiality agreement so there will be no further comment by any party.”

Kaepernick, 31, has remained out of the NFL since the end of the 2016 season. He played six seasons with the 49ers and became the center of a nationwide controversy with his decision to kneel during the playing of the national anthem as a protest against racial inequality during the 2016 season.

Reid, 27, joined Kaepernick in the protest, which began during the exhibition season in 2016. Reid continued his protest in 2017 with the 49ers and last season with the Carolina Panthers. Reid is a six-year NFL veteran who played his first five seasons with the 49ers.

While Kaepernick has not played in the NFL the past two seasons, Reid experienced a slow free-agent market last offseason before finally signing with the Panthers in late September. Reid appeared in 13 games for the Panthers and last week signed a three-year extension worth more than $21 million.

The NFL Players Association released the following statement:

"Today, we were informed by the NFL of the settlement of the Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid collusion cases. We are not privy to the details of the settlement, but support the decision by the players and their counsel. We continuously supported Colin and Eric from the start of their protests, participated with their lawyers throughout their legal proceedings and were prepared to participate in the upcoming trial in pursuit of both truth and justice for what we believe the NFL and its clubs did to them. We are glad that Eric has earned a job and a new contract, and we continue to hope that Colin gets his opportunity as well."

[RELATED: AAF reportedly interested in Kaepernick]

In August, an arbitrator denied the NFL’s request to throw out the claims that owners conspired to keep Kaepernick out of the league because of his protests. The grievance was scheduled to be heard this month.

In November 2017, attorney Mark Geragos, representing Kaepernick, notified the NFL they were seeking electronic communications, including text messages and emails, of personnel from NFL teams that were linked to Kaepernick.

AAF has interest in signing Colin Kaepernick, just like the NFL should


AAF has interest in signing Colin Kaepernick, just like the NFL should

We don't know when or if Colin Kaepernick will ever play football again.

We do know, however, that even if the NFL isn't interested in his services, someone else is.

According to Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk, the Alliance of American Football recently reached out to Kaepernick to gauge his interest in playing in the new football league.

Per Williams' report, AAF co-founder Bill Polian told The Athletic that CEO Charlie Ebersol was the one to reach out to Kaepernick.

"I don’t know what transpired, but he’s obviously not playing," Polian said.

The AAF is in its debut season, but one of the early critiques of the league is its lack of quality quarterbacks. In addition to Kaepernick, the AAF reportedly also reached out to former Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who declined.

After news of the AAF's contact with Kaepernick broke, Barry Wilner of the Associated Press subsequently reported that Kaepernick's reasoning for declining to join the AAF was financially motivated.

According to Wilner's report, a person with knowledge of the conversation told the Associated Press that Kaepernick, "wanted $20 million or more to consider playing with the league that had its debut last weekend." That person spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Not to question anyone's credibility, but that $20 million number is awfully hard to believe, for several reasons.

For one, it's a number that would dwarf all other salaries in the league. AAF players sign three-year contracts worth a total of $250,000.

Additionally, there is nothing in Kaepernick's past that would support the notion that he's in it for the money. Just think about all the money he's donated out of his own pockets to the numerous social causes that have undoubtedly played a major role in his shunning from the NFL.

And, finally, if the NFL was going to find a way to try to sully Kaepernick's character and land a punch in the arena of public opinion, wouldn't leaking a false claim such as that $20 million number make a lot of sense?

[RELATED: Colorado sports store closes after Nike, Kaepernick boycott]

The AAF wants Kaepernick, much like the NFL should.

But that $20 million number?

That doesn't make any sense.