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Hall of Fame announces 17 finalists for Class of 2011

  • By NFL.com
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Jerome Bettis, Marshall Faulk, Curtis Martin, Willie Roaf and Deion Sanders -- the five players in their first year of eligibility for the Pro Football Hall of Fame -- will be among 15 modern-era finalists considered for election when the 44-member selection committee meets Feb. 5 in North Texas.

Joining the five first-year-eligible players are nine other modern-era players and one contributor.

Two senior nominees, announced last August, also will be considered.

A finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent to be elected.

Here are the 17 finalists (*-denotes senior nominee):

» Jerome Bettis, RB (1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers)

» Tim Brown, WR/KR (1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

» Cris Carter, WR (1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins)

» Dermontti Dawson, C (1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers)

» Richard Dent, DE (1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles)

» Chris Doleman, DE/LB (1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers)

» Marshall Faulk, RB (1994-98 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams)

» Charles Haley, DE/LB (1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys)

» *Chris Hanburger, LB (1965-78 Washington Redskins)

» Cortez Kennedy, DT (1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks)

» Curtis Martin, RB (1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets)

» Andre Reed, WR (1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins)

» *Les Richter, LB (1954-62 Los Angeles Rams)

» Willie Roaf, OT (1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs)

» Ed Sabol, Contributor (1964-1995 NFL Films)

» Deion Sanders, CB/KR/PR (1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-99 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-05 Baltimore Ravens)

» Shannon Sharpe, TE (1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens)

To be eligible for election, modern-era players and coaches must be retired at least five years. Contributors need not be retired.

Brown, Carter, Dawson, Dent, Haley, Kennedy, Reed and Sharpe all have been finalists in previous years. This is the first time that Doleman, Hanburger, Richter, and Sabol have been finalists, although they were eligible in previous years.

Hanburger and Richter were selected as candidates by the Hall of Fame's seniors committee, which reviews the qualifications of players whose careers took place more than 25 years ago.

The remaining 15 modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall of Fame's selection committee from a list of 114 preliminary nominees that earlier was reduced to a list of 26 semifinalists.

The selection committee will meet in North Texas the day before Super Bowl XLV to elect the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011. The election results will be announced at 7 p.m. ET on Feb. 5 during a one-hour NFL Network special, live from the Super Bowl media headquarters.

Although there isn't a set number of enshrinees for any class, the Pro Football Hall of Fame's current ground rules stipulate that between four and seven new members will be selected each year. No more than five modern-era nominees can be elected in a given year, and a class of six or seven can only be achieved if one or both senior nominees are elected.

The following 11 semifinalists didn't make the cut:

» Don Coryell, Coach (1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers)

» Roger Craig, RB (1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings)

» Terrell Davis, RB (1995-2001 Denver Broncos)

» Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner (1979-1997 San Francisco 49ers)

» Kevin Greene, LB/DE (1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers)

» Ray Guy, P (1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders)

» Lester Hayes, CB (1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders)

» Art Modell, Owner (1961-1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-2003 Baltimore Ravens)

» Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner (1989-2006 National Football League)

» Aeneas Williams, CB/S (1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams)

» George Young, Contributor (1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League)

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