NFL Selects All-Decade Team

Wednesday, July 26th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — Barry Sanders, Jerry Rice, Bruce Matthews, Bruce Smith and Reggie White were unanimous selections to the NFL All-Decade team for the 1990s, announced by the league Tuesday.

Sanders, who retired following the 1998 season, was the first running back to rush for 1,500 yards in four straight seasons — including 2,053 in 1997 when he was the co-MVP of the league. He won four rushing titles with Detroit (1990, 1994, 1996-97).

Rice led receivers with 860 catches, 12,078 yards receiving and 103 touchdowns for San Francisco.

Matthews, a guard who played in the last Super Bowl with Tennessee, started all 160 games for the Oilers in the '90s and was selected to 10 Pro Bowls.

Smith and White were the decade's premier defensive ends. Smith led the league with 113 1/2 sacks for Buffalo, two more than White, who starred for Philadelphia and Green Bay.

Smith, who signed this offseason with Washington, went to four Super Bowls with the Bills and was the 1990 and 1996 defensive player of the year.

White, who came out of retirement last week to sign with the Carolina Panthers, was the 1998 defensive player of the year.

John Elway of Denver is the first-team quarterback.

Deion Sanders and Mel Gray are the only players selected at two positions. Sanders is a first-team cornerback and punt returner, while Gray made the second team as both a kick and punt returner.

Safety Ronnie Lott, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Morten Andersen, Gary Anderson, Sean Landeta, Rice, White and Smith are making their second appearances on an All-Decade team. All were chosen for the 1980s team.

Andersen and Anderson are kickers, Landeta a punter.

Emmitt Smith is the other first-team running back and Cris Carter was chosen as the second receiver. William Roaf and Gary Zimmerman are the tackles; Randall McDaniel, the other guard; Dermontti Dawson is the center and Shannon Sharpe was picked at tight end.

On defense, Cortez Kennedy and John Randle are the tackles; Kevin Greene, Junior Seau and Derrick Thomas, who died after a January car accident, were chosen at linebacker.

Rod Woodson is the other cornerback; Steve Atwater and LeRoy Butler are the safeties

Darren Bennett is the first-team punter.

The first-team coach is Bill Parcells, who won one Super Bowl with the Giants and lost another with New England during the '90s. Marv Levy is the second-team coach for leading the Bills to four Super Bowls, despite not winning any.