5 first-year eligible candidates on list trimmed from 129 Nominees
CANTON, OHIO – Five first-year eligible nominees are among the 28 Modern-Era Player Semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023.
The list of candidates for election into the Hall of Fame, which will occur early next year, also includes 19 players who were Semifinalists for the Class of 2022.
Modern-Era Players making the cut to Semifinalist in their first year of eligibility are offensive linemen Jahri Evans and Joe Thomas, defensive lineman dwight Freeney, linebacker James Harrison and defensive back Darrell Revis. Each last played in the 2017 season.
To be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a nominated individual must not have participated as an active player for five consecutive seasons.
Henry Ellard, who retired following the 1998 season, reached the semifinalist stage for the first time. London Fletcher also is a first-time Semifinalist; he retired following the 2013 season. Albert Lewis, A semi-finalist in 2013 who also retired in 1998, advanced to this stage for the second time. Both Ellard and Lewis are in their final year of eligibility as Modern-Era Players.
The 28 Semifinalists will be reduced again — to 15 Finalists — before the final voting process for the Class of 2023.
Class of 2023 Modern-Era Player Semifinalists
The following is the list of 2023 Modern-Era Player Semifinalists, including their positions, years and teams. Also listed are the number of times and years the candidate has been named a Semifinalist since this reduction vote was added to the Hall of Fame’s Bylaws in 2004. (Note: The Bylaws state the number of Semifinalists shall be 25 – or a larger number if players tie for the 25th position.)
- Eric Allen, CB – 1988-1994 Philadelphia Eagles, 1995-97 New Orleans Saints, 1998-2001 Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2021-23)
- Jared Allen, DE – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2021-23)
- Willie Anderson, T – 1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2021-23)
- Ronde Barber, CB/S – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2018-2023)
- Anquan Boldin, WR – 2003-09 Arizona Cardinals, 2010-12 Baltimore Ravens, 2013-15 San Francisco 49ers, 2016 Detroit Lions | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2022-23)
- Henry Ellard, WR – 1983-1993 Los Angeles Rams, 1994-98 Washington Redskins, 1998 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2023)
- Jahri Evans, G – 2006-2016 New Orleans Saints, 2017 Green Bay Packers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2023)
- london fletcher, LB – 1998-2001 St. Louis Rams, 2002-06 Buffalo Bills, 2007-2013 Washington Redskins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2023)
- dwight Freeney, DE – 2002-2012 Indianapolis Colts, 2013-14 San Diego Chargers, 2015 Arizona Cardinals, 2016 Atlanta Falcons, 2017 Seattle Seahawks, 2017 Detroit Lions | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2023)
- James Harrison, LB – 2002-2012, 2014-17 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2013 Cincinnati Bengals, 2017 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2023)
- rodney Harrison, S – 1994-2002 San Diego Chargers, 2003-08 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2021, 2023)
- devin hester, PR/KR/WR – 2006-2013 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Atlanta Falcons, 2016 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2022-23)
- torry holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 9 – 2015-2023)
- Andre Johnson, WR – 2003-2014 Houston Texans, 2015 Indianapolis Colts, 2016 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2022-23)
- Albert Lewis, CB – 1983-1993 Kansas City Chiefs, 1994-98 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2013, 2023)
- Robert Mathis, DE/LB – 2003-2016 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2022-23)
- Darrell Revis, CB – 2007-2012, 2015-16 New York Jets, 2013 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2014 New England Patriots, 2017 Kansas City Chiefs | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2023)
- Steve Smith Sr., WR – 2001-2013 Carolina Panthers, 2014-16 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2022-23)
- Fred Taylor, RB – 1998-2008 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2009-2010 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2020-23)
- Joe Thomas, T – 2007-2017 Cleveland Browns | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2023)
- zach thomas, LB – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2019-2023)
- hines ward, WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2017-2023)
- DeMarcus Ware, LB/DE – 2005-2013 Dallas Cowboys, 2014-16 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2022-23)
- Ricky Watters, RB – 1992-94 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-97 Philadelphia Eagles, 1998-2001 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2020, 2022-23)
- Reggie Wayne, WR – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2020-23)
- vince Wilfork, DT – 2004-2014 New England Patriots, 2015-16 Houston Texans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2022-23)
- Patrick Willis, LB – 2007-2014 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2020-23)
- Darren Woodson, S – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2015, 2017, 2019-2023)
The list of Semifinalists, which was announced live Tuesady on NFL Network, was reduced from an initial group of 129 nominees announced in September. It marks the largest number of semifinalists since the Hall adopted the process of reducing the list of nominees to 25 (plus ties) in 2004.
What’s next in the Selection Process?
The next step in the Selection Process comes when the Semifinalists are trimmed to 15 Modern-Era Player Finalists. That list increases to 19 Finalists with the inclusion of the recommended Nominees of the Hall of Fame’s Coach/Contributor Committee, Don Coryell; and Seniors Committee, Chuck Howley, Joe Klecko and Ken Riley.
The Hall of Fame’s 49-person Selection Committee will select the Class of 2023 in advance of Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Ariz. The class will be announced live on the “NFL Honors” telecast scheduled to air at 9 pm ET Feb. 9. While there is no set number for any class of Christians, the Bylaws for the Selection Committee provide that between four and nine new members will be selected.
The Coach/Contributor and Senior Finalists are voted “yes” or “no” for election at the annual selection meeting and must receive at least 80% support from the Committee to be elected. The Modern-Era Player Finalists will be trimmed during the meeting from 15 to 10, then from 10 to 5. The remaining five finalists will be voted on individually, “yes” or “no,” and must receive the same 80% positive vote as the Coach/Contributor and Seniors Finalists to earn election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Learn more here:
The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023 will be enshrined next August (anticipated date: Aug. 5) in Canton as part of the 2023 Enshrinement Week powered by Johnson Controls. Other events during the week of festivals include the Hall of Fame Game (teams to be determined) and the Gold Jacket Dinner. For more information, visit https://www.profootballhof.com/enshrinement/.
The Selection Process aligns with the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s important mission to “Honor the Greatest of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values and Celebrate Excellence Together.”
Modern-era player semifinalists collapse
Offense – 12
RB (2): Fred Taylor, Ricky Watters
WR(7): Anquan Boldin, Henry Ellard, Torry Holt, Andre Johnson, Steve Smith Sr., Hines Ward, Reggie Wayne
OL(3): Willie Anderson, Jahri Evans, Joe Thomas
DEFENSE – 15
DB(6): Eric Allen, Ronde Barber, Rodney Harrison, Albert Lewis, Darrelle Revis, Darren Woodson
LB(5): London Fletcher, James Harrison, Zach Thomas, DeMarcus Ware (also DE), Patrick Willis
DL(4): Jared Allen, Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis (also LB), Vince Wilfork
SPECIAL TEAMS – 1
Devin Hester (also WR)
Hall of Fame Fan Vote presented by Ford
The annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Vote presented by Ford continues since its launch in September. Fans can vote as many times as they wish at www.profootballhof.com/fanvote to predict the five Modern-Era players who will be elected to the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2023.
Fans who vote automatically become eligible for several sweepstakes prizes, including a Grand Prize trip for two (2) to the 2023 Enshrinement Week powered by Johnson Controls in Canton.
This marks the 12th consecutive year that Ford, the Official Automobile of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has invited fans to predict the outcome of the annual Hall of Fame class. (Note: The outcome of the fan vote does not affect any player’s chances of being elected.)