HOF Bills want Tasker in next, but specialist unsure he fits


There was much revelry among the Hall of Fame Bills from the early 90's teams that won four consecutive AFC titles this past weekend as a fifth player from those teams will be added to their ranks in Canton in Andre Reed this August. At the same time those players believe the final chapter on their team won't be complete until one more player from that roster joins them.

"They talk about the big four and we finally got the fourth one in with Andre to join me, Bruce and Thurman," said Jim Kelly while appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Monday. "We have James Lofton as well, and now it's time to start working on Steve Tasker to try to get him in one of these days. He's definitely one of the greatest to ever play his position on special teams and now we have to start working on Steve."

"It's pretty much complete," said Reed of the 90's Bills Hall of Fame script. "But there's one more guy… Steve. That would be great."

Tasker, while certainly appreciative of the sentiments from his former teammates, is uneasy about being mentioned as a player of the same caliber.

"For me I'm uncomfortable being in the fraternity with those guys and other guys who have been there throughout the history of the league," Tasker told Buffalobills.com. "You look at the guys in the Hall of Fame and in the football world it's like being one of the 12 apostles. You don't really put yourself in that group. You get chosen by somebody else. I'm very uncomfortable seeing myself as part of that group."

Tasker, who has been a Hall of Fame semifinalist four of the last five years, feels that the halls of Canton are for the very best of the best. The Bills Wall of Famer isn't sure his accomplishments during his time in the league put him in that class.

"I had a nice career and in some ways a unique career, but to be mentioned in a group with even the five guys I love so much in Bruce, Jim, Thurman, Andre and James, I'm uncomfortable because I was different," he said. "And because I was different I don't know if I belong in there."

The seven-time Pro Bowl specialist also knows earning enough support from the Hall of Fame Selectors in a role like he had is very difficult.  

"It's a tough sell to have a guy that played primarily special team to get in the Hall of Fame," he said. "And you can debate it and maybe it's a debate worth having."

The debate certainly appears to be more substantiated now that six-time All-Pro punter Ray Guy was selected for enshrinement for the 2014 Hall of Fame class. Guy became the first special teams player selected for induction in Canton as a Senior Committee nominee.

"Now that Ray (Guy) is in there, that's a little more of a leg to stand on," said Reed. "The first punter ever to be enshrined, so for Steve it really opens up the door there for discussion for him."

"It does raise a question because Ray Guy didn't get in for a lot of years," Tasker admitted. "There may be 50 punters since the time of Ray Guy that have better career numbers than Ray did, but the argument is those 50 guys, every one of them was inspired by Ray. Ray Guy was larger than the position that he played. He was larger than the role that he played for those Raiders teams.

"He's responsible for the success of a generation of players that followed him. So it does raise a question of the criteria the panel uses to get him in and what is worthy of a Hall of Fame career?"

Long time NFL kicker Morten Andersen, the league's all-time leading scorer, was also a Hall of Fame finalist this year.

One could make the case that Tasker, who averaged between 24 to 30 plays a game on special teams, had an even greater impact on games than Guy, who participated in six to 10 plays a game. Tasker however, seems at peace with his place in NFL history especially after earning a spot on the NFL's All-Time Team as voted by the Hall of Fame Selectors 14 years ago.

"For me the real thing happened for me in the year 2000 when I was voted on the All-Time Team by the Hall of Fame Selectors," said Tasker. "That's about as close as I'm going to get."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.