Originally created 01/26/03

Allen, four others elected to Hall of Fame



SAN DIEGO -- Marcus Allen was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, a day before the team he left during a bitter feud returns to the Super Bowl.

The former Oakland Raiders running back was chosen for the Class of 2003 in his first year of eligibility. He will be joined by Elvin Bethea, Joe DeLamielleure, James Lofton and Hank Stram, who went in as a seniors candidate.

Allen was the first player in NFL history to rush for more than 10,000 yards and catch passes for 5,000 more. He finished his career with 12,243 yards rushing and 5,411 receiving. He scored 145 touchdowns and was regarded as one of the game's best goal-line and short yardage runners.

Most of that production came with the Raiders. He led Oakland to the 1984 Super Bowl title, the team's last, and was voted the game's MVP for his 191 yards and two touchdowns.

The next season Allen won the league MVP award when he ran for an NFL-high 1,759 yards and 11 TDs. He also caught 67 passes for 555 yards and three more TDs.

But he is barely acknowledged by the Raiders. He was dismissed following an ugly contract fight with owner Al Davis, who called Allen "a cancer on the team." After 11 years with the Raiders, he moved on to the Kansas City Chiefs for four more productive seasons.

Bethea, a defensive end, played 16 seasons, all with the Houston Oilers. He made the Pro Bowl eight times and led the team in sacks six times, finishing his career with 105.

DeLamielleure played 13 seasons with Buffalo and Cleveland and was a starter from the first game in his rookie season. He was the lead blocker for Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson, who became the NFL's first 2,000-yard rusher in 1973.

Lofton played 16 seasons at wide receiver and had more than 50 catches in a season nine times. He was the first NFL player to score a touchdown in three different decades and finished his career with 764 catches for 14,004 yards and 75 touchdowns.

Stram coached for 17 seasons, starting with the AFL's Dallas Texans, who moved to Kansas City. He was with the franchise from 1960-74 and then coached in New Orleans for two more seasons. He led the Chiefs to two Super Bowls, losing the first one to Green Bay and then beating Minnesota after the 1969 season.

Stram went into the Hall of Fame as a seniors candidate, a separate category for nominees who completed 70 percent of their career more 25 years ago.

There were 15 finalists for the Hall. In the first cut, cornerback Lester Hayes, wide receiver Art Monk, quarterback Ken Stabler and owner Ralph Wilson were eliminated. The field was then cut again, with offensive linemen Gary Zimmerman and Bob Kuechenberg, linebacker Randy Gradishar and defensive end Claude Humphrey dropped from consideration.

That left seven finalists. Of that group, administrator George Young and linebacker Harry Carson failed to get the necessary 80 percent of the votes needed for election.

The 39-member selection committee consists of media representatives from the league's 32 franchises. There is one voter representing the Pro Football Hall of Fame and six at-large voters.

Bill Parcells was originally a finalist but removed himself from consideration when he signed to coach the Dallas Cowboys.

Enshrinement of the class of 2003 is scheduled for Aug. 3 at the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.