Joe Klecko will have to wait at least another year.
The NFL Hall of Fame Seniors Committee met Thursday to recommend its two finalists for 2018, and Klecko, the legendary Jets defensive lineman, was not one of them.
The committee selected former Oilers linebacker Robert Brazile and former Packers offensive lineman Jerry Kramer.
Klecko, 63, has now missed out on the Hall in all 24 of his eligible years — the first 20 as a modern-era candidate and the past four as a Seniors Committee candidate. He remains one of the greatest Jets of all time. He played 140 games for Gang Green from 1977 to 1987 and finished his career with 24 sacks — though sacks didn’t become an official stat until 1982.
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Along with Marty Lyons, Mark Gastineau and Abdul Salaam, Klecko starred on the famed New York Sack Exchange of the early 80s. He was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 1981, reached four Pro Bowls at three different positions — nose tackle, defensive tackle and defensive end — and made two All-Pro teams, in 1981 and 1985.
“He deserves to be there,” Lyons told the Daily News earlier this month. “He wasn’t just a force on the football field. He was the glue that held together that locker room. It wasn’t his fault we didn’t make it to the Super Bowl or win a Super Bowl.”
In August 2010, Klecko was inducted into the Jets’ Ring of Honor. His No. 73 is retired.
Klecko will have an even tougher path to the Hall next year, as the Seniors Committee can only nominate one player instead of two.
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The committee will be able to nominate two players again for the Class of 2019.
Klecko attended Jets practice Thursday in Florham Park, watching from the sideline.
Outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin, who has yet to play in preseason action because of a back injury, is very unlikely to play in Saturday’s game against the Giants at MetLife Stadium, according to Todd Bowles.
Mauldin hasn’t practiced fully since aggravating the back issue last week. He was on the field with his helmet on Thursday. Bowles said Mauldin “moved around a little better” during the session. But, “If I had to make an answer right now, I would say no, he doesn’t play,” he said.
Mauldin is fighting for a starting job at outside linebacker, one of the most competitive positions on the Jets’ young and inexperienced roster. OLBs coach Kevin Greene admitted “sometimes it is” difficult to properly evaluate a player who can’t stay on the field.
“When a guy’s not on the practice field and a guy’s not getting a lot of reps in the game, it’s kind of hard to see him do his thing,” Greene said. “But he’s a player, and he understands he’s got to come back when he’s healthy and he’s got to show what he has.”
Tight ends Jordan Leggett (sprained foot) and Jason Vander Laan (shoulder) have both been ruled out for Saturday.
Cornerback Morris Claiborne (shoulder) didn’t practice Thursday and will be a game-time decision. Running back Matt Forte (hamstring) will also be a game-time decision Saturday.
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