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3 first-time nominees among 15 Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists

WPXI Pittsburgh
WPXI Pittsburgh
 2021-12-31
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Three players in their first eligibility are modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022.

Finalists include first-times defensive end DeMarcus Ware, one of the NFL’s all-time sack leaders; Andre Johnson, one of the league’s all-time receiving leaders; and Devin Hester, one of pro football’s all-time special teams greats, ESPN reported.

If any or all three of them are chosen for enshrinement, it will be the ninth straight year that at least one player in the first year of eligibility was chosen.

Up to five of the finalists will be selected, with the winners announced on “NFL Honors,” which airs live on Feb. 10 at 9 p.m. EST, NFL.com reported.

Late wide receiver Cliff Branch was already chosen as a seniors finalist, while Dick Vermeil was named as a coach finalist and former referee Art McNally is the contributors finalist, ESPN reported.

The date for next summer’s induction ceremonies at Canton, Ohio, has not been announced, but it is expected to be in August.

Here are the other 2022 modern-era player finalists with their positions, years and teams:

  • Jared Allen, DE – 2004-2007 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-2015 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers
  • Willie Anderson, OT -- 1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens
  • Ronde Barber, DB – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Tony Boselli, T -- 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve)
  • LeRoy Butler, S -- 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers
  • Torry Holt, WR -- 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Sam Mills, LB -- 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers
  • Richard Seymour, DE/DT -- 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders
  • Zach Thomas, LB -- 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys
  • Reggie Wayne, WR -- 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts
  • Patrick Willis, LB -- 2007-2014 San Francisco 49ers
  • Bryant Young, DE/DT -- 1994-2007 San Francisco 49ers

Ware had 138.5 sacks during his 12-year NFL career, leading the league two times. Johnson caught 1,062 passes for 14,185 yards and 70 touchdowns during the regular season. Hester retired as the NFL’s all-time leader in special teams touchdowns with 20, according to ESPN. He had 14 punt returns for TDs and five kickoff returns for a score during the regular season. He also returned the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI 92 yards for a score to cap his rookie season.

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