SNIDER: HOF overlooked Redskins’ Brian Mitchell

Photo credit Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee whiffed again – Brian Mitchell is not among the 15 finalists for this year’s election.

Indeed, there are no Redskins on the ballot if you consider Champ Bailey more of a Denver Bronco despite drafted by Washington in the 1999 first-round. Bailey was a standout cornerback paired alongside Darrell Green. I remember calling them the legend and the coming king in Bailey’s rookie season and the Redskins have never seen such a pairing since with Green already donning a gold jacket and Bailey surely earning his on Feb. 2.

But Bailey was really a Bronco and he’ll enter Canton that way. It was one of Redskins owner Dan Snyder’s early blunders in losing Bailey, who didn’t like how he was handled by the front office and planned to leave as a free agent before being traded.

Without Bailey, Redskins fans are bystanders in this year’s election. Joe Jacoby is no longer eligible after coming close several times during his 20 years on the ballot. He’s now a potential seniors committee nominee in the future.

Part of the reason for the current drought is the Redskins haven’t been good since the 1991 championship. Indeed, who on the current roster might be selected one day? Maybe Trent Williams if he can physically last a few more years. Perhaps Ryan Kerrigan if his sack numbers continue in double digits for a few more years.

Meanwhile, the selection committee, who contrary to some detractors really take this seriously and are the best group to judge, should vote for Mitchell. His 23,330 overall yards are second only to Jerry Rice, who is considered by some the greatest player ever. But Mitchell at No. 2 isn’t worthy of Canton because he was primarily a returner? Such a short-sighted view. Anyone who saw Mitchell play from 1990 to 2003 knows he was a warrior.

Of this current group, Tony Gonzalez is a sure thing. Champ Bailey, Ed Reed, Alan Faneca and coach Don Coryell should make it. Tony Boselli? He played only seven seasons. The unofficial criteria is 10 years. Otherwise, Redskins running back Larry Brown should have been elected. He was a dominant back in the mid 1970s with an NFL Most Valuable Player, two-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler, but detractors said he didn’t last long enough at eight years. Well, neither did Boselli.

Maybe next year Mitchell will finally gain the needed respect from selectors.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.