Last week, we shined the spotlight on a few current NFL players who have made their cases for enshrinement in Canton, OH. They may come from different teams and play different positions. But they all have one thing in common: one Super Bowl ring will solidify their spot among the Hall of Famers that came before them.
We, as football fans, do not want to these guys call it a career without having hoisted the Lombardi Trophy at least once. But some are facing tighter windows to win it all than others.
Here are a few more active players who need just one title ring to complete their otherwise stellar resumes.
4 More NFL Players a Ring Away from Canton
Khalil Mack: Los Angeles Chargers
Not long after the then-Oakland Raiders drafted Khalil Mack fifth overall in the 2014 draft, Mack was more than ready to put his name out there. The Raiders switched Mack between the linebacker and defensive end positions throughout his rookie season, putting his versatility on full display. In only his sophomore outing in the NFL, Mack became the first player in NFL history to win All-Pro nods at two different positions.
With seven Pro Bowls and five All-Pro selections to his name, Mack continues to be a nightmare for quarterbacks. Regardless of what team he is on, that team’s defense seems to get better with him around. The Raiders, Bears, and now the Chargers all have had the privilege of him leading their front seven.
However, none of those teams has capitalized on the defensive efforts Mack has provided. He still remains without a Super Bowl ring. Now the Los Angeles Chargers need to utilize what Mack brings to the table and then some. They have a loaded offense, a potent defense, and no excuses.
Cameron Heyward/ Patrick Peterson: Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a good thing going right at this moment. They have two future Hall-of-Famers leading their defense, and they have an offensive squad on the rise. Though the two aforementioned “future Hall-of-Famers,” Cameron Heyward and Patrick Peterson, had different journeys to becoming a Steeler, their presences will provide boons for this team.
Let’s start with defensive tackle, Cameron Heyward. The Steelers drafted Heyward 31st overall in the 2011 draft. He has become a household name since then, earning Pro Bowl nods in the last six seasons straight. Though he has become the leader of that front seven, many statistic-savvy fans believe that his 2013-2015 seasons should have gotten him Pro Bowl nods then, as well.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson was taken fifth overall in that same draft by the Arizona Cardinals. In his rookie season, Peterson took the world by storm with his punt-returning ability. He set the record for most punts returned for a touchdown in a single season, with four. Over the next few seasons, he has become one of the premiere cornerbacks of the 2010s.
He has not made the Pro Bowl roster since 2018. But as a brand new member of the Steelers, the eight-time Pro-Bowl and three-time All-Pro can lead an already formidable Steelers secondary boasting the likes of Minkah Fitzpatrick and Joey Porter, Jr.
Calais Campbell: Atlanta Falcons
Calais Campbell got people talking about him when he was playing for the Arizona Cardinals. Drafted 50th overall in the 2008 draft, Campbell found himself at the right place at the right time, in just his rookie season. The Arizona Cardinals were in the midst of their first playoff appearance since 1998. They even reached Super Bowl XLIII but lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-23.
Campbell would continue to lead the Cards’ defense until 2016, when he moved east to become a Jacksonville Jaguar. In 2017, he recorded a career-high 14 sacks in that season and helped lead one of the most relentless defenses of that decade. But once again, Campbell fell short of the ultimate prize, when the Jaguars lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC Conference Championship.
The six-time Pro Bowl defensive end has gone on to play for the Baltimore Ravens and now the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta does play in arguably the worst division in the NFL: the NFC South. But the Falcons have to rally around their veterans, like Campbell, and get back into playoff contention. Time may not be on Campbell’s side, and the time for Atlanta to get it together is now.