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Mile High Morning: NFL historians unanimously choose Randy Gradishar as deserving of Pro Football Hall of Fame nomination


The Lead

On Tuesday, the Seniors Committee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame will meet to determine the three Senior finalists for the Class of 2024.

And if Hall of Fame voter Clark Judge's poll of seven NFL historians and one former NFL executive is any indication, Broncos Ring of Famer Randy Gradishar may finally be heading to Canton.

Judge asked each member of the panel to select their three choices for finalists from the 12 semifinalists, and all eight panelists selected Gradishar as deserving of being chosen this year.

"There's no doubt whom our board favors most," Judge wrote. "Randy Gradishar, come on down.

"The former Denver linebacker was a unanimous choice, the only candidate to appear on every ballot. And for good reason. He was a tackling machine, a Defensive Player of the Year and the heart and soul of an "Orange Crush" defense that dominated the last 1970s and early '80s.

"He should've been included in the Centennial Class of 2020, but he wasn't. I'm still trying to understand that one. Apparently, so are our historians."

Several on the panel agreed that Gradishar's election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame is long overdue.

"It's past time," Chicago sports historian Jack Silverstein wrote.

Added historian and prize-winning author Jeffrey Miller: "I agree that he's long overdue."

The committee will officially meet Tuesday to determine whether Gradishar takes a sizeable step toward pro football immortality.

Below the Fold

In the Broncos' preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night, tight end Greg Dulcich proved he's ready to be a major threat on the Denver offense. During the second quarter, Dulcich hauled in a pass from quarterback Jarrett Stidham and evaded the grasp of two San Francisco defenders to rip off an 18-yard gain, advancing the Broncos into position for a go-ahead field goal.

According to NFL Next Gen Stats, the Broncos' offense could be in line for more big plays from Dulcich in his second season.

In an article on, author Mike Band identified Dulcich as the Broncos' 'Making the Leap' candidate, citing the 6-foot-4, 245-pound tight end's strengths in the passing game as a major reason for a breakout.

"It's Dulcich's ability in the vertical passing game that is most intriguing in Sean Payton's new offense (sans Jimmy Graham)," Band said. "Dulcich's average target depth of 11.5 yards ranked second among tight ends with at least 50 targets last season. He was one of only four tight ends to be targeted more than 10 times on deep passes last season — Kyle Pitts (14), Darren Waller (12), Mark Andrews and Dulcich (11)."

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