Five first-year-eligible players -- Jerome Bettis, Marshall Faulk, Curtis Martin, Willie Roaf and Deion Sanders -- are among the 26 semifinalists being considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2011.
The Hall of Fame's selection committee chose the 26 semifinalists from the previously announced list of 114 preliminary nominees. The semifinalists list was first revealed Sunday on NFL Network's "NFL GameDay Morning."
Two other previously eligible candidates, Edward DeBartolo Jr. and Ed Sabol, made it to the semifinalists list for the first time. Each of the remaining 19 nominees on the selection committee's list has been a semifinalist at least once before this year.
The complete list of 26 semifinalists is as follows:
» Ed Sabol, Contributor (1964-1995 NFL Films)
» Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner (1989-2006 National Football League)
The list of 26 semifinalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 15 finalists. That list will increase to 17 with the inclusion of two candidates recommended by the Hall of Fame's seniors committee. The Seniors Committee nominees, who were announced in August, are linebacker Chris Hanburger (1965-1978, Washington Redskins) and linebacker Les Richter (1954-1962, Los Angeles Rams).
The 15 finalists will be announced in early January.
To be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a nominated player or coach must not have participated as an active player or coach for five consecutive seasons. A contributor still may be active in his pro football career.
Although there isn't a set number of enshrinees for any Hall of Fame class, the 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 enshrinees can only be reached if one or both senior nominees are elected.