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Chris Doleman had a relatively high-profile recruitment for the early 1980s. A star linebacker and defensive end from York, Pa., he carried offers from programs on each coast as well as TCU.
Doleman, who spent a year at prep school, ultimately selected Pittsburgh over the likes of Penn State, Maryland, Temple and West Virginia because it would allow his parents to drive and see him play on Saturdays.
“When I was 16, 17 years old, I just wanted to play in college, then maybe make the pros,” he said. “Back then, guys like Earl Campbell and Tony Dorsett were giants, you know. You just wished that one day you could meet them – let alone be like them.”
In a matter of days – less than four months, to be accurate – Doleman will be like them, accompanying a class of six players enshrined as the latest members to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
247Sports is also excited to announce that Doleman will be among several former NFL standouts participating in an exclusive feature series wherein they evaluate the top 2013 prospects at those pros’ positions.
Doleman made eight Pro Bowls in his 15 seasons (10 with the Minnesota Vikings) and was considered a prototype for the powerful-yet-agile pass-rushers who hold such value in today’s game. He tallied 150.5 sacks and was in fourth on the career sacks list when he retired.
“I’m looking at your size, your physical structure,” he said. “Do you have narrow or broad shoulders? How do you carry your weight? I also look at guys who play multiple sports. Do you play basketball, baseball, soccer? All those things make a big, big difference. Playing multiple sports says a lot about your conditioning and ability to handle your body in a lot of different situations. Then you go from there.”
Since retiring in 1999, Doleman has dabbled in a variety of professional venues as well. He had a successful car dealership, then moved to a technology marketing company until two years ago.
Doleman, who lives in Atlanta, now oversees Chris Doleman Pro Auctions – a service that hosts online auction events for all levels of charitable and non-profit organizations. There are presently listings for charity auctions involving lunch with Eric Dickerson, Archie Griffin or Marcell Dareus as well as a trip to the 2012 ESPY Awards.
“I wanted to move on and try and help someone else, have the ability to help non-profits,” he said. “I didn’t want to go out and help one charity, which is all well and good. I wanted the ability to help many different charities. Everybody is trying to compete for the same dollars. So to have the ability to tie into a system where it’s not competition felt like a great thing.”
Doleman was working a charity function at the Super Bowl when he learned of his Hall of Fame selection.
His son, Evan – a 21-year-old student at Greensboro (N.C.) College – will introduce him at the August induction.
“I know it’s going to mean just as much to him as it will for me,” Doleman said. “For him to have a front-row seat and be a part of this, we’ll have that to share forever.
“When you get that call for enshrinement, it totally changes your perspective. Now you are one of those chosen ones. You’re standing there, watching it happen, and you can’t believe it’s actually happening. It’s still hard to believe it.”
Check back next Monday for Doleman's breakdown of the top two defensive linemen in the nation, Robert Nkemdiche and Montravius Adams.