Football

He’s getting closer! Raiders’ Tom Flores a semifinalist for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Former Raiders coach Tom Flores talks Pro Football Hall of Fame, booth, Derek Carr and Jon Gruden

Former Raiders coach Tom Flores was in Sanger on Saturday, May 5, 2018 for Sanger High Hall of Fame. Flores discussed the Pro Football Hall of Fame, how much longer he wants call Raiders games and the relationship between Derek Carr and Jon Gruden.
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Former Raiders coach Tom Flores was in Sanger on Saturday, May 5, 2018 for Sanger High Hall of Fame. Flores discussed the Pro Football Hall of Fame, how much longer he wants call Raiders games and the relationship between Derek Carr and Jon Gruden.

Former Oakland Raiders coach Tom Flores has finally gotten over a hump on the road to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame unveiled its 25 modern-era semifinalists for the Class of 2019 on Tuesday and Flores is listed for the first time.

“I got a big smile on my face,” Flores told The Bee on Tuesday night. “I told my immediate family and a couple close friends as soon as I heard. They were thrilled, as they should be. It’s the step I’ve never had before ... being closer to being a reality.”

Flores said that after being informed by a Hall of Fame committee member, he looked at his wife, Barbara, and both smiled and went out to dinner.

It took awhile for Flores, 81, to get to the semifinals. He had to wait nine times to see if he got past the November cut-down.

Many fans and ex-players are wanting to see Flores get into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in 2019.

“I get text from friends in the Valley, people I know through my Youth Foundation,” he said. “People I know across the country. I’m getting some nice congratulatory messages that makes me feel good.”

Flores won 97 games, including an 83-53 run with the Raiders from 1979 to 1987. He went 8-3 in the postseason for a .727 winning percentage that ranks second to Vince Lombardi among those who have coached 10 or more playoff games.

Flores and Mike Ditka are the only men to have won Super Bowls as a player, assistant and head coach. Ditka was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988 as a player.

Fifteen finalists will be chosen on Jan. 3 before the Class of 2019 is named in February.

“If I make the next level, Christ, I might have to show some emotion.” Flores said laughing.

Other semifinalists:

Champ Bailey, CB – 1999-2003 Washington Redskins, 2004-2013 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2019)

Ronde Barber, CB/S – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2018- 19)

Tony Boselli, T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve) | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2016-19)

Isaac Bruce, WR – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)

LeRoy Butler, S – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2018-19)

Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 11 – 2005, 2010-19)

Alan Faneca, G – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2016-19)

Tony Gonzalez, TE – 1997-2008 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009-2013 Atlanta Falcons | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2019)

Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)

Steve Hutchinson, G – 2001-05 Seattle Seahawks, 2006-2011 Minnesota Vikings, 2012 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2018-19)

Edgerrin James, RB – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)

Jimmy Johnson, Coach – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2014-19)

Ty Law, CB – 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)

John Lynch, FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2013-19)

Clay Matthews, LB – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2012, 2017, 2019)

Kevin Mawae, C/G – 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)

Karl Mecklenburg, LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2012-19)

Sam Mills, LB – 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2016, 2019)

Ed Reed, FS – 2002-2012 Baltimore Ravens, 2013 New York Jets, 2013 Houston Texans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2019)

Richard Seymour, DE/DT – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2018-2019)

Zach Thomas, LB – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2019)

Hines Ward, WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2017-19)

Darren Woodson, S – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2015, 2017, 2019)

Anthony Galaviz: 559-441-6042, @agalaviz_TheBee
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