Top 30 NFL players not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Ranking the 30 best NFL players who have not made their way into Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals / George Gojkovich/GettyImages
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19. LB Andy Russell

He was a standout player on those Pittsburgh Steelers teams before head coach Chuck Noll was hired in 1969. Linebacker Andy Russell was a 16th-round pick by the franchise in 1963. The former University of Missouri defender played in every game as a rookie (making 13 starts), totaled a pair of sacks and picked off three passes.

There would be no NFL for the 6-foot-2, 225-pounder defender for the next two years. “In 1964 and 1965,” explained Russell (via Ken Crippen of the National Football Post). “I was in Germany as an Army Lieutenant. I got back in 1966.”

Just as was the case during his debut campaign, Russell did not miss a game in what would be 11 straight seasons. Over that span, he was named to the Pro Bowl seven times. The first invitation came in 1968 and the next six invites were from 1970-75. During his 12 NFL seasons, he amassed 18 interceptions, returning one for a score, and 10 fumble recoveries. He was also credited with 38.0 sacks. The Steelers were a playoff team in each of his final five seasons in the league and were Super Bowl champions in 1974 (IX) and 1975 (X).

In the fourth quarter of Pittsburgh’s 28-10 win over the then-Baltimore Colts in the 1975 AFC Divisional Playoffs, Russell scooped up a fumble by Colts’ quarterback Bert Jones and “raced” 93 yards for a touchdown. It now ranks as the second-longest fumble return in NFL postseason history.