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Former Seahawks CB Richard Sherman isn’t a Hall of Famer. Yet.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the Seattle Seahawks are saddened by the release Friday of three time All Pro cornerback Richard Sherman from the team. Many fans were quick to not only suggest the team retire his number, but to declare him a Hall of Famer, and a first ballot Hall of Famer at that.

But how does he stack up against the other cornerbacks that are in the Hall of Fame?

The first thing to consider is that it is far more difficult for defensive players to make the Hall of Fame than it is for offensive players. Of the 225 players from the modern era to have been enshrined in Canton, only 90 (40%) of those players come from the defensive side of the ball. That alone means it is an uphill battle for defensive players. But that’s not all the bad news for defensive backs.

Of the 90 modern era defensive players that are in Canton, there are 24 defensive backs, which is less than 27%. In contrast defensive backs typically represent over 36% of the defensive players on the field on any given play, meaning they appear to be underrepresented even relative just to other defensive players. In short, of all position groups outside of kicking specialists, it appears as though defensive backs are the least likely to be elected to the Hall of Fame.

Moving specifically to the cornerbacks in the Hall of Fame, here’s a list of many of members of the Hall of Fame who played cornerback in the NFL, along with many of their career metrics. It’s not hard to see that Sherman comes up far short of these players, and many of these are considered the greatest to ever play the position.

Hall of Fame CBs and their career stats

Player Played Games* Int AV** HoF Induction
Player Played Games* Int AV** HoF Induction
Herb Adderley 1961-1972 164 48 133 1980
Lem Barney 1967-1977 140 56 121 1992
Mel Blount 1970-1983 200 57 134 1989***
Willie Brown 1963-1978 204 54 144 1984***
Jack Butler 1951-1959 103 52 N/A 2012
Darrell Green 1983-2002 295 54 148 2008***
Mike Haynes 1976-1989 177 46 105 1997
Jimmy Johnson 1961-1976 213 47 141 1994
Dick Lane 1952-1965 157 68 N/A 1974
Dick LeBeau 1959-1972 185 48 105 2010
Emmitt Thomas 1966-1978 188 58 88 2008
Deion Sanders 1989-2000, 2004-2005 188 53 147 2011***
Aeneas Williams 1991-2004 211 55 134 2014
Rod Woodson 1987-2003 238 71 190 2009***
Richard Sherman 2011-2017 105 32 86
*Games Started not tracked prior to 1970 for many players
**AV not computed for seasons prior to 1959
***First ballot selection

It doesn’t take long to realize Sherman doesn’t measure up to these players in terms of what was accomplished during their careers, coming up well short of the others for the most part.

Thus, if Sherman retired right now I have zero problem asserting that he is likely not even really considered for the Hall of Fame. There are multiple other cornerbacks who I would consider more deserving of the Hall of Fame than Sherman, including names such as Ty Law and Troy Vincent.

This is not to say that Sherman absolutely will not make it into the Hall. If he continues to play for several more seasons and continues to pad his stats totals, it would obviously bolster his Hall of Fame credentials. Taking a look at the defensive backs that are in Canton, there is not a single one of them that played in the NFL for less than a decade, so Sherman likely needs at least three more seasons in the league to begin to have a legitimate argument for inclusion.

So, as much as the Seahawks will miss Sherman, and as much as fans will dream of the day he is enshrined in the Hall, at this point Sherman’s career is not Hall of Fame worthy.