Despite publicity and a push by local supporters, even a resolution of support passed by Portsmouth City Council, it seems to be becoming less and less likely Spartan pro football great Glenn Presnell will make the Pro football Hall of Fame.
While at least one Presnell supporter sees it as scant consolation, two other Spartan players, both linebackers, Ox Emerson and George “Tarzan” Christiansen, are both in line to get the honor.
A graduate of Portsmouth High School now living outside of Akron and serving as a volunteer for the National Football League Hall of Fame, Mike McConnell said he is still waiting for a special Hall of Fame selection committee to pick the next round of nominees for an expanded class of Hall of Famer’s to be named in order to honor the NFL’s 100th anniversary.
The class of 2020 is to include 10 senior players, players who retired more than 25 years ago.
Hall of Fame Vice President for Exhibits And Museum Services Saleem Choudhry is in charge of picking a so-called blue-ribbon committee to name the 10 senior players to make the next cut. In August, Choudhry said he expected that to occur sometime in September. McConnell said that has not yet happened, and though he said he continually asks when the panel might act, it is unclear when the selection process might move forward.
Choudhry did not respond to several requests for comment for this story.
“I believe he (Presnell) certainly has the qualifications to be in the Hall of Fame,” Choudhry told this newspaper at one point over the summer. Choudhry noted Presnell already is nominated to be enshrined as one of the 10 senior players.
McConnell has said he takes every opportunity to promote Presnell to anyone who will listen during his time volunteering at the Hall of Fame. He said in speaking to one hall official he discovered Presnell apparently has one important factor working against his enshrinement. For whatever reason, Presnell was not named to the 1930s All Decade NFL Team.
“I was told that hurts him, hurts his chances,” McConnell said.
The 1930s All Decade Team also might play a role in getting Emerson and Christiansen into the hall as both were named to the All Decade Team.
“It’s just they’re linebackers, so you don’t hear a lot about them,” McConnell said.
Christiansen, who died in 1968, played his college ball for the University of Oregon and played for both Spartans and later the Lions after the Spartans moved to Detroit before the 1934 season.
Emerson, who died in 1998, also played for both the Spartans and Lions. His positions are listed on Wikipedia as guard, center and linebacker. His Wikipedia page specifically notes he was selected to the 1930s All Decade Team. He played his college ball for the Texas Longhorns.
To McConnell, the possible enshrinement of two other Spartans isn’t the same as getting Presnell and the Hall of Fame. Not even close.
“He should be in the Hall of Fame, I think he should’ve been in the Hall of Fame years ago,” McConnell said.
Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370-0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.