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Andy Vasquez and Danielle Parhizkaran, North Jersey Record

Former Jets center Kevin Mawae was one of the best at his position in his era. This weekend, he could earn recognition as one of the finest to ever play the game by being tapped for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

The Hall of Fame selection committee meets on Saturday in Atlanta to pick the class of 2019, and Mawae should be very visible on their radar screens. 

Mawae is one of the more decorated centers of all-time and is a finalist for the third time. And one of his former coaches, a Hall of Famer himself, believes Mawae deserves to be enshrined. 

“I thought Kevin was a tremendous player,” former Jets and Giants coach Bill Parcells said on SiriusXM NFL Radio last month. “The only guy in his era that I think compared with him is Dermontti Dawson. And Dermontti Dawson is in the Hall of Fame. I thought those two guys were head and shoulders the best two.”

The long-time Steeler, Dawson was the center on the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1990s. Mawae was the All-Decade center on the 2000s team and has an impressive résumé. 

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He played 16 seasons with the Seahawks, Jets and Titans, earning eight Pro Bowl selections, three first-team All-Pro selections. His best years were with the Jets, where he started all 118 games, earned two of his first-team All-Pro selections and made a huge impression on Parcells. 

“If you look at Kevin, the teams he’s played on, everywhere he went they had a 1,000-yard rusher,” Parcells said. “So that should tell you something.” 

Mawae blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher in 13 of his 16 seasons in the league, including seven of his eight seasons with the Jets. And Parcells says there’s a reason. 

“It’s a vital position on the offensive line,” he said. “There are no plays off there. You are right in the middle of it all the time. He was terrific. He could pull, he could cut guys off. I just think he’s a tremendous player. 

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Mawae is deserving of a spot in the Hall of Fame, but there’s no guarantee it will happen this year. Five players typically get voted in each season, and this year’s class includes tight end Tony Gonzalez and safety Ed Reed, who are virtual locks to get in on the first ballot. Cornerback Champ Bailey also has a good chance of getting in on the first ballot. 

That would leave two open spots, and Mawae will be competing with other impressive players from his era, including running Edgerrin James, receiver Isaac Bruce and former Jets offensive lineman Alan Faneca. 

But if you ask his former coach, Mawae belongs. 

“He’s the best center I ever had, by far, “ Parcells said. “And he’s one of the best I’ve seen as well.”


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