FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons defensive line coach Bryant Young remains focused on getting his group prepared for the next game, but he does have the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the back of his mind.
Young, named to four Pro Bowls in 14 seasons as a defensive lineman with the San Francisco 49ers, was one of 108 players named modern-era nominees for the 2018 Hall of Fame class. Last week, Falcons coach Dan Quinn playfully nudged the media about getting his guy Young into the prestigious class. Young's 89.5 career sacks achieved primarily as an interior defensive lineman speak volumes about his Hall of Fame credentials. And he was the 1999 NFL Comeback Player of the Year after overcoming what was thought to be a career-threatening lower right leg injury.
"You know what? It means a lot," Young said of being nominated. "It means your body of work, what you've done, deserves consideration. Hopefully, I've done enough, and people recognize that. If there's a place for me there, I'd certainly be excited about it. But to be on that list among all the great people that have come before me and the names that are on that list, it's an honor. If it happens, I'd be ecstatic."
Falcons linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich played alongside Young with the 49ers from 2000-2007.
"I tell you the thing about B.Y is, he was the was the most unselfish player I've ever been around," Ulbrich said of Young. "Where he could have made a play, a lot of times he would hold up two guys so another guy can make a play. Although his numbers are great, and all the Pro Bowls and All-Pros that he had were great, his ability was way beyond his statistics. The statistics don't tell the story of the man. He's the greatest teammate I ever played with; the toughest human I've ever been around."
Long-time Hall of Fame voter Dan Pompei has this to say about Young: "Bryant Young has slipped through the cracks in the Hall of Fame voting process. He has a sterling résumé, and I’d like to see his case advance."
The Falcons' defensive linemen certainly are pulling for their coach.
"It's pretty cool and just a testament to what he did as a player," defensive end Adrian Clayborn said of Young. "And he's doing the same thing as a coach. I've seen clips of him. He was a beast."
Said defensive tackle Dontari Poe, "He can tell us what we need to do to do it the right way because he's been there before. That's huge congrats to him. I know he deserves it. And it's good for us because we're trying to be where he's at one day."