New category considered for pro football's pioneers

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CANTON, Ohio -- The Pro Football Hall of Fame is considering a proposal to add a contributor category, which could have the potential of increasing the number of annual inductees to eight.

Hall of Fame president David Baker said the proposal was presented Friday to the board of trustees for approval. It's unclear if the proposal passed.

Baker said officials believe there is a need to add the category to address what's become a backlog of qualified candidates who played a role in establishing and building the game.

He noted there are only 19 contributors enshrined, and only nine of them inducted over the past 49 years. If approved, the Hall of Fame would add a contributor committee to nominate candidates to be considered by the 46 selectors as early as next year. The Hall of Fame established a similar process by establishing a seniors committee in 1972. Currently, a maximum of five modern-era players and two seniors can be inducted each year. Baker said the addition would not eliminate a spot for modern-era players.

Two contributors and one senior player would be eligible for induction next year, followed by one contributor and two seniors in 2016. The numbers would rotate over five years and the process then reassessed.

Reed offers apology

Former Bills star receiver and Hall of Fame inductee Andre Reed issued an apology to Jon Bon Jovi after being quoted in a New York Magazine article this week using a profanity in referring to the New Jersey rocker, who is a contender to buy the Buffalo Bills. In apologizing, Reed did not retract the statement. Instead, he said the comment he made was supposed to be off the record and not for publication. Bon Jovi is part of a Toronto-based ownership group that is in the running to buy the franchise, which is for sale after Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson died in March. Buffalo-area leaders and fans are concerned that Bon Jovi's intent is to buy the Bills and potentially relocate them to Toronto.

Roughing the punters

Michael Strahan on learning fellow inductee Ray Guy will have at least 20 former punters in Canton to help him celebrate. "For 20 punters to come out, that's awesome," Strahan said, before breaking into a laugh. "You'll never see 20 punters together. Actually, you don't want to see 20 punters together."

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