CANTON, Ohio -- The Pro Football Hall of Fame senior committee on Friday selected former Kansas City Chiefs' safety Johnny Robinson Friday as its one senior nominee for the Class of 2019.
Robinson was chosen to the 1960s' NFL all-decade team but was the only one of the 22 position players still without a bust. He had been a modern-era finalist six times but has been in the senior pool for the last 17 years.
“I was thinking the window had closed on me,” Robinson said. “I’m 79 years old. I’m thrilled to my bones.”
Robinson was the third overall selection of the 1960 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions but opted to sign with the AFL Dallas Texans. He spent his first two seasons as a running back before moving to safety in 1962. As a rookie, he finished in the Top 5 in the AFL in total offensive yards. The Texans relocated from Dallas to Kansas City in 1963 and became the Chiefs.
Robinson played safety his final 10 seasons and intercepted 57 passes, which ties him for 13th all-time. He led the AFL with 10 interceptions in 1966 and then led the NFL, again with 10, in the first season of the merged leagues in 1970. The Chiefs went 35-1-1 in games in which Robinson intercepted a pass. He went to seven Pro Bowls and helped the Texans/Chiefs win three AFL championships and a Super Bowl. He also was selected to the all-time All-AFL team.
"So why isn't he already in the Hall of Fame," Hall-of-Fame receiver Lance Alworth asked on a recent Talk of Fame Network podcast (http://www.talkoffamenetwork.com/lance-alworth-its-time-for-hall-to-admit-johnny-robinson/ ). "He should be. I don't think there is any more he could've done. But it's a damn good thing he didn't … or there wouldn't be a few of us in there."
Robinson survived a field of 23 senior candidates for this honor. He now becomes one of the 18 finalists for the Class of 2019. The class also will include 15 modern-era finalists and two contributors. Robinson and the two contributors, who will be selected next week, need 80 percent of the vote for election to the Hall.
Robinson is looking to join five other teammates from the 1969 Super Bowl-winning defense of the Chiefs. Tackles Buck Buchanan and Curley Culp, linebackers Bobby Bell and Willie Lanier and cornerback Emmitt Thomas already have busts in Canton.