PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Hines Ward and Alan Faneca are one step closer to being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Ward, along with other first-year eligibles LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor and Brian Dawkins are among 26 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2017.
Joining them as first-time semifinalists is tackle-guard Chris Hinton, who retired in 1989 but has made this cut for the first time.
As for Ward, he racked up 1,000 receptions for 12,083 yards and 85 touchdowns over his career.
The other 21 candidates – there was a tie for 25th in voting by Hall of Fame selectors as the list was trimmed from an original 94 – all have made it this far in the past.
Two coaches, Don Coryell and Jimmy Johnson, have made the semifinals. So has placekicker Morten Andersen, the NFL’s career scoring leader.
Previously nominated by the veterans committee was safety Kenny Easley, and by the contributors’ committee were Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
The 2017 class will be selected on Feb. 4, the day before the Super Bowl. Between four and eight new members will be chosen.
Inductions will be in August at the Canton, Ohio, shrine.
Other semifinalists are quarterback Kurt Warner; running backs Roger Craig, Terrell Davis and Edgerrin James; wide receivers Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Terrell Owens; offensive tackles Tony Boselli, Joe Jacoby and Mike Kenn; guard Alan Faneca; center Kevin Mawae; cornerback Ty Law; safeties Steve Atwater, John Lynch and Darren Woodson; and linebackers Karl Mecklenburg and Clay Matthews Jr., the father of current Packers LB Clay Matthews III.
Warner, Bruce and Holt teamed up to win a Super Bowl with the Rams. Craig, Davis, Faneca, Law, Jacoby, Atwater, Johnson, Jones, Lynch, Woodson and Ward all own Super Bowl rings.
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