Randy Gradishar Hopes Final Time A Charm

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Randy Gradishar won't allow himself to think what it would be like to get a phone call this weekend telling him he's made it to pro football's Hall of Fame.

He's been disappointed too many times before.

This is the 20th year of eligibility for the seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker and leader of the "Orange Crush" defense that carried the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl after the 1977 season. Gradishar was also a finalist in 2003.

If he doesn't get the call Saturday, Gradishar will have to pin his hopes on the veteran's committee, where the list of names is a lot longer and the odds much slimmer.

Gradishar played from 1974-83 and is the Broncos' all-time leading tackler. He was a five-time first-team All-Pro and won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 1978.