Former Australian NFL punter Darren Bennett has been nominated for the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame and could be inducted as the franchise's 36th member. Bennett played nine seasons with the Chargers between 1995 and 2003 and finished his career as the most esteemed and successful punter in team history. He made the Pro Bowl twice (1995, 2000), was All-Pro twice (1995, 2000), was named in the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team and landed a spot in the San Diego Chargers 50th Anniversary Team. Bennett's story is a fascinating one. He spent six seasons in the AFL with West Coast and Melbourne before making the bold cross to the NFL, only to finish his career with 836 punts for over 36,000 yards, boasting a healthy 43.4 yard average. The Australian is one of three men nominated for the Chargers Hall of Fame alongside former RB Natrone Means and WR Anthony Miller. For the first time ever the fans will decide who gets inducted via an online voting ballot, the perfect way for them to show their appreciation of these players' great careers. Voting has started and will continue until September 17. Please visit this link to vote for Darren: http://www.chargers.com/hof/ and then once you have done that retweet the update below to spread the word: http://twitter.com/NFLDownUnder/status/225462998670655488 In a recent press conference, Bennett outlined some of his fondest memories during his time with the Chargers. Bennett said he was taken aback after hearing the news of his nomination from Bill Johnston (team director of public relations) a few weeks ago and admitted just to be considered is a major privilege.
"I think it’s a great honor to be asked to be to be even put in the Hall of Fame at Qualcomm Stadium. There have been some great football players through my time who were also performing, so to have me considered along those guys was an extreme honour."The highlights included his first ever tryout at Qualcomm Stadium, being selected for the Pro Bowl in his rookie season (1995) and celebrating the 1994 AFC Championship win with 75,000 adoring fans. Among a career jam-packed with records, success and big numbers, Bennett said being nominated into the Chargers Hall of Fame is something he is immensely proud of but said there are other aspects of his career he is equally as pleased with.
"For me as a personal accolade, this ranks very highly, but I rate watching guys that I’ve passed my knowledge on to, going ahead and doing what they do. I think that’s as high as well, I think those are the two obligations that you have as an NFL player: to be good at what you do and then to pass your knowledge to a younger person. So this ranks up as high at it can possibly be, I’m very appreciative and I’m very privileged.”And a privilege it is. Chargers Executive Vice President and CEO, A.G. Spanos, didn't shy away from explaining how high an honour this nomination is. “Aside from having their number retired, induction into the Chargers Hall of Fame is the highest recognition that the team can bestow on a player," he said. "It’s an honor that we take very seriously here at the Chargers, and I say that because we’re turning over the selection process to another group that’s very serious and passionate about this – our fans." But not only did Spanos laud the privilege of being nominated for the franchise Hall of Fame, but he also spoke wonders of Bennett as an innovator and a player who changed the game.
“You can look at Darren Bennett, and how he actually moved the game forward. He created his own punt, he made a few pro bowls, and he was selected to the NFL 1990’s All-Decade Team as a punter, so his accolades speak for themselves." - A.G. SpanosThe induction ceremony will be held on Sunday November 25th in front of the adoring Chargers home fans for the San Diego vs. Baltimore game. Make sure to vote for Darren here: http://www.chargers.com/hof/ and follow him on Twitter here: @nflaussie!! Photo courtesy of prod.www.chargers.clubs.nfl.com