DeLamielleure picks Tippett over L.T.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Joe DeLamielleure is considered a football student of the highest order.

He estimates he has visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame a dozen times before he was inducted in 2003. Conversations with him are sprinkled with obscure trivia questions and name dropping that demonstrates a humbling knowledge.

He also is a vocal advocate for retired players in need of financial assistance, waging war against NFL Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw.

DeLamielleure has passionate opinions and backs them up.

So people ought to listen when the sensational pulling guard for the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns declares Andre Tippett was a better outside linebacker than Lawrence Taylor.

Tippett, who recorded 100 sacks for the New England Patriots, will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday.

"I thought he was better all around," DeLamielleure told ESPN.com by phone from Canton. "A lot of guys thought he was better.

"He played the run better than Lawrence Taylor. They never asked Lawrence Taylor to put his hand down on the ground. Lawrence Taylor was just a standup rusher.

"I always said if Tippett would have put his hand down on the ground every down, he probably would have been one of the top rushing defensive ends to ever play."

DeLamielleure was a member of the Electric Company, the gang who blocked for O.J. Simpson. Their coach was Jim Ringo, another Hall of Famer.

DeLamielleure said Ringo, a position coach for four Hall of Fame linemen, shared his belief Tippett was the best.

"Think of how many sacks Tippett had, and he always had a tight end on his side," DeLamielleure said. "He played the strong side. Lawrence Taylor was a weak-side linebacker."

Not surprisingly, DeLamielleure had a couple other names to push for induction. The first was his football role model, former Miami Dolphins guard Bob Kuechenberg, a finalist each of the past five years.

"John Hannah and I both looked at him when we were younger and said 'That's the guy we want to be like,' and we're in the Hall of Fame and he isn't," DeLamielleure said. "Strange."

Another oversight in DeLamielleure's mind is former New York Jets defensive lineman Joe Klecko.

"He made the Pro Bowl as a nose guard, as a defensive tackle and as a defensive end," DeLamielleure said.

"Think about that."