St. Louis Rams

Ex-Rams Warner and Pace are Hall of Fame finalists along with Granite City’s Greene

Former Rams defensive end Kevin Greene, who played high school football in Granite City, is a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist for the fifth time.
Former Rams defensive end Kevin Greene, who played high school football in Granite City, is a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist for the fifth time. AP

Former St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner and offensive tackle Orlando Pace were named Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists for the second year in a row Thursday while former Rams and Granite City South star Kevin Greene is making his fifth straight Hall of Fame finalist appearance.

Former Rams wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt both failed to make the cut of 15 finalists this year, but former St. Louis “Cardiac Cardinals” coach Don Coryell made the list.

A minimum positive vote of 80 percent is required for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame Class of 2016 will be announced on Feb. 6, the day before the Super Bowl.

Greene, 53, played with the Rams and three other teams from 1985 to 1999 and ranks third all-time with 160 quarterback sacks. Greene also was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1990s.

He had 10 or more sacks in a season 10 times and was a five-time Pro Bowl selection.

Warner went from an obscure former grocery stock boy to Super Bowl champion, filling in for injured starter Trent Green and helping the Rams win the 1999 Super Bowl championship. He guided the Rams to two Super Bowl appearances and later helped the Arizona Cardinals make their only Super Bowl appearance in 2008.

Warner won two NFL Most Valuable Player awards and also was named Super Bowl MVP when he helped the Rams defeat the Tennessee Titans.

During an NFL career that spanned from 1998 to 2009, Warner threw for 32,344 yards and 208 touchdowns. He twice topped 4,000 yards in a season, throwing for 4,830 yards in 2001 and 4,353 yards in 1999.

Pace, the first overall pick in the 1997 draft, earned seven Pro Bowl selections in his 10 NFL seasons with the Rams and also was named to five All-Pro teams. Pace anchored the Rams’ offensive line from his left tackle spot during the team’s highly entertaining “Greatest Show on Turf” Years and blocked for three straight NFL MVPs (Warner in 1999 and 2001 and Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk in 2000).

Coryell helped coach the St. Louis Cardinals to prominence in the 1970s with a pair of playoff appearances and a division title. He also laid the groundwork for today’s wide-open offenses with his air-based attack.

This is Coryell’s third time as a finalist.

Also making the cut was St. Louis native and safety Steve Atwater. The former Denver Broncos star is a graduate of Lutheran North High school.

The other Hall of Fame finalists are quarterback Brett Favre, running backs Terrell Davis and Edgerrin James, wide receivers Terrell Owens and Marvin Harrison, tackle Joe Jacoby, guard Alan Faneca, safety John Lynch, kicker Morten Andersen and coach Tony Dungy.

The Senior finalists are former Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler and Lions and Redskins guard Dick Stanfel.

Former 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo, Jr., was a Contributor finalist.

Donald, Hekker named to All-Pro team

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and punter Johnny Hekker each were first-team All-Pro selections by the Associated Press.

Donald’s 11 sacks tied for the NFL lead among interior linemen while he also had 22 tackles for loss, 49 quarterback pressures and 29 quarterback hits.

He is only the third Rams defensive tackle to record a double-digit sack total since the NFL began tracking the statistic in 1982. Donald has made the Pro Bowl in each of his first two NFL seasons, but this is his first All-Pro selection.

Hekker led the NFL with 96 punts, a 47.9-yard gross punting average, a 43.7 net punting average and 41 punts downed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. He is the only NFL punter to lead the league in all those category since the league began compiling the statistics.

Norm Sanders: 618-239-2454, @NormSanders

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