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Five first-time eligibles head list of 26 Hall of Fame semifinalists

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:

» 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)

» 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)

» 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)

» 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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

» 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)

» 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)

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.

The Class of 2011 will be determined at the selection committee's annual meeting Feb. 5, the day before Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas. The election results will be announced at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT) during a one-hour NFL Network special, live from the Super Bowl media headquarters.

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