Four first-year eligible players — quarterback Peyton Manning, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, safety Charles Woodson and defensive end Jared Allen — are among the 25 semifinalists of modern-era players for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021.
This year’s list of semifinalists also includes four previously eligible players who are semifinalists for the first time: Eric Allen, Willie Anderson, Cornelius Bennett and Rodney Harrison.
To be considered for selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a nominated individual must not have participated as an active player for five consecutive seasons.
Below is the full list of modern-era semifinalists:
- CB Eric Allen (1988-1994 Philadelphia Eagles, 1995-1997 New Orleans Saints, 1998-2001 Oakland Raiders): 54 INT (8 TD), 6-time Pro Bowler with Eagles (5) and Saints (1).
- DE Jared Allen (2004-2007 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-2015 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers): 136.0 sacks, 4 career safeties (T-most all-time), 22.0 sacks in 2011 (T-2nd all-time), 1 of 7 players to lead NFL in sacks in a season twice, 4-time First Team All-Pro.
- T Willie Anderson (1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens): Started 184 of 195 games played in career, 4-time Pro Bowler, 3-time First Team All-Pro.
- CB/S Ronde Barber (1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Only player in NFL history with 40+ interceptions & 25+ sacks, NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s, won Super Bowl XXXVII with Buccaneers.
- LB Cornelius Bennett (1987-1995 Buffalo Bills, 1996-98 Atlanta Falcons, 1999-2000 Indianapolis Colts): 71.5 sacks, 7 INT (1 TD), 27 fumble recoveries, 5-time Pro Bowler with Bills, played in 5 Super Bowls with Bills (XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII) and Falcons (XXXIII), All-Decade Team of the 1990s.
- T Tony Boselli (1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars): NFL All-Decade Team of the 1990s, 3-time First Team All-Pro.
- S LeRoy Butler (1990-2001 Green Bay Packers): 38 career interceptions, only player in NFL history with 3+ interceptions & 3+ sacks in 3 straight seasons, NFL All-Decade Team of the 1990s, won Super Bowl XXXI with Packers.
- G Alan Faneca (1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-2009 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals): NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s, 6-time First Team All-Pro, won Super Bowl XL with Steelers.
- S Rodney Harrison (1994-2002 San Diego Chargers, 2003-2008 New England Patriots): 34 INT, 30.5 sacks, 1 of 2 players in NFL history in the 30/30 club (Ray Lewis), played in 4 Super Bowls, won Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX with Patriots.
- WR Torry Holt (1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars): 13,382 receiving yards, 920 receptions, led NFL in receiving yards in 2000 & 2003, 1 of 5 players with multiple 1,600 receiving yard seasons, NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s, won Super Bowl XXXIV with Rams.
- WR Calvin Johnson (2007-2015 Detroit Lions): 1,964 receiving yards in 2012 (most all-time), 86.1 career receiving YPG (2nd all-time), All-Decade Team of 2010s, 3-time First Team All-Pro.
- S John Lynch (1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-2007 Denver Broncos): 26 career interceptions, 16 career forced fumbles, 2-time First Team All-Pro, won Super Bowl XXXVII with Buccaneers.
- QB Peyton Manning (1998-2011 Indianapolis Colts, 2012-2015 Denver Broncos): 200 career wins including playoffs (2nd all-time), 539 career pass TD (3rd all-time), 71,940 pass yds (3rd all-time), 5,477 pass yds in 2013(most all-time), 55 pass TD in 2013 (most all-time), 14-time Pro Bowler (T-most all-time), 7-time First Team All-Pro, won Super Bowl XLI with Colts & Super Bowl 50 with Broncos (only QB to win Super Bowl with multiple franchises).
- LB Clay Matthews (1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-1996 Atlanta Falcons): 278 career games, Browns all-time sacks leader (62.0), 2nd-most games played (232) in Browns franchise history.
- LB Sam Mills (1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-1997 Carolina Panthers): 20.5 career sacks, 11 career interceptions, 1996 First Team All-Pro.
- DE/DT Richard Seymour (2001-2008 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders): NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s, 3-time Super Bowl champion with Patriots (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX).
- ST/WR Steve Tasker (1985-1986 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills): 7-time Pro Bowl selection, 2,159 career all-purpose yards.
- RB Fred Taylor (1998-2008 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2009-2010 New England Patriots): 11,695 rushing yards (17th all-time), 7 seasons with 1,100+ rushing yards (T-6th most all-time), led NFL in rush YPG in 2000 (107.6).
- LB Zach Thomas (1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys): 17 career interceptions, 20.3 career sacks, 4 career INT return TD, 184 career games, NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s.
- WR Hines Ward (1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers): 1,000 receptions, 12,083 receiving yards, 85 receiving TD, Steelers franchise leader in receptions, receiving yards & receiving TD, won 2 Super Bowls with Steelers (XL, XLIII).
- WR Reggie Wayne (2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts): 1,070 receptions (10th all-time), 14,345 receiving yards (10th all-time), led NFL with 1,510 receiving yards in 2007, 5th-most receiving yards for a single franchise in NFL history, 7 straight 1,000+ receiving yard seasons (T-6th longest streak in NFL history), won Super Bowl XLI with Colts.
- LB Patrick Willis (2007-2014 San Francisco 49ers): 2007 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, led NFL in tackles in 2007 (174) & 2009 (152), 950 career tackles, 20.5 career sacks, 52 TFL, 8 career interceptions in 112 games (all starts).
- CB/S Charles Woodson (1998-2005, 2013-2015 Oakland Raiders, 2006-2012 Green Bay Packers): 13 defensive TD (most all-time), 11 INT return TD (T-2nd all-time), 1 of 3 player in NFL history with 25+ INT with 2 different franchises, 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 3-time First Team All-Pro, All-Decade team of 2000s, won Super Bowl XLV with Packers.
- S Darren Woodson (1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys): 23 career interceptions, won 3 Super Bowls with Cowboys (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX).
- DT Bryant Young (1994-2007 San Francisco 49ers): 89.5 career sacks (most in 49ers history), 208 career games played, 1999 Comeback Player of the Year, NFL All-Decade Team of the 1990s, won Super Bowl XXIX with 49ers.
Eighteen finalists will be presented to the full 48-member Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee during its annual meeting on “Selection Saturday,” the day before Super Bowl LV. The finalists will consist of 15 modern-era finalists and the recently named senior finalist, Drew Pearson; contributor finalist, Bill Nunn; and coach finalist, Tom Flores.
While there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the selection process by-laws provide that between four and eight new members will be selected. The Class of 2021 will be revealed during NFL Honors on Saturday, Feb. 6.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021 will be enshrined Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021 in Canton, Ohio. Other events during the week of festivities will include the rescheduled Hall of Fame Game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys on Aug. 5, the Gold Jacket Dinner on Aug. 6 and the Centennial Class of 2020 Enshrinement on Aug. 7.