Five first-year eligible players – Jerome Bettis, Marshall Faulk, Curtis Martin, Deion Sanders, and Willie Roaf – are among the 15 modern-era finalists who will be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when the Hall's Selection Committee meets in North Texas on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011.
Joining the five first-year eligible players, are nine other modern-era players and a contributor. The 15 modern-era finalists, along with the two senior nominees announced in August 2010 (former Washington Redskins linebacker Chris Hanburger and former Los Angeles Rams linebacker Les Richter) will be the only candidates considered for Hall of Fame election when the 44-member Selection Committee meets. To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent.
Also, for the second consecutive year, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has teamed up with Van Heusen and JCPenney to ask fans to voice their choice for whom they think should be included in the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2011 at www.fanschoice.com.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee's 17 finalists (15 modern-era and two senior nominees*) with their positions, teams, and years active follow:
Dermontti Dawson – Center – 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
Chris Doleman – Defensive End/Linebacker – 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers Marshall Faulk – Running Back – 1994-98 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams
Charles Haley – Defensive End/Linebacker – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
*Chris Hanburger – Linebacker – 1965-1978 Washington Redskins
Cortez Kennedy – Defensive Tackle – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
Andre Reed – Wide Receiver – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
*Les Richter – Linebacker – 1954-1962 Los Angeles Rams
Ed Sabol – Founder/President/Chairman – 1964-1995 NFL Films
Deion Sanders – Cornerback/Kick Returner/Punt Returner – 1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-99 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-05 Baltimore Ravens
Shannon Sharpe – Tight End – 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens
Brown, Carter, Dawson, Dent, Haley, Kennedy, Reed, and Sharpe have all been finalists in previous years. Although they were eligible in previous years, this is the first time Doleman, Hanburger, Richter, and Sabol have been finalists.
From this year's list, four players – Dawson, Hanburger, Kennedy, and Richter – spent their entire NFL career with just one team.
Hanburger and Richter were selected as senior candidates by the Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee at their August 2010 meeting. The Seniors Committee reviews the qualifications of those players whose careers took place more than 25 years ago. The remaining 15 modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall's 44-member Selection Committee from a list of 114 preliminary nominees that earlier was reduced to a list of 26 semifinalists.
To be eligible for election, modern-era players and coaches must be retired at least five years. Contributors need not be retired.
Dent has been eligible for election for nine years, Doleman and Haley seven years. Dawson, Kennedy, and Reed have each been eligible for election for six years, Carter four years, Sharpe three years and Brown two years. Bettis, Faulk, Martin, Roaf, and Sanders are in their first year of eligibility. Since the retirement minimum for a player prior to 1968 was three years, senior nominee Richter has been eligible for 46 years. Hanburger has been eligible for 28 years.
The Selection Committee will meet in North Texas, on Saturday, February 5, 2011, to elect the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011. 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 Center.
At the 2011 selection meeting, the selectors will thoroughly discuss the careers of each finalist. Although there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 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 can only be achieved if one or both senior nominees are elected. Representatives of the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche will tabulate all votes during the meeting.
At the announcement, Pro Football Hall of Fame President/Executive Director Steve Perry will be presented with an envelope containing the names of the nominees elected. Each newly elected member will be contacted immediately by the Hall of Fame. Members of the Class of 2011 in North Texas for the Super Bowl will be asked to join the live announcement show. Those not able to attend will be asked to join via teleconference.
The Van Heusen Fan's Choice campaign which launched in September mirrors the Hall of Fame's selection process and will name the Fan's Choice for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011 live on NFL Network just prior to the official announcement from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Van Heusen Fan's Choice Top 15 list includes only five candidates who also appear on the official Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee list including: Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Marshall Faulk, and Andre Reed. Others who made the Van Heusen Fan's Choice Top 15 list who didn't make the official Hall of Fame Selection Committee list include coach, Tom Flores, as well as former players, Darryl Talley, Steve Tasker, Cornelius Bennett, Kent Hull, Fred Smerlas, Ray Guy, Jim Plunkett, Lester Hayes and Donnie Shell.
The Final Round of fan voting begins today and the top 15 Fan's choices will be combined with the official Hall of Fame Selection Committee choices for one powerhouse list of candidates looking for fans' votes to become a part of the Fan's Choice for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011.
Fans are encouraged to visit www.fanschoice.com to vote for their favorites before the Fan's Choice for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011 is revealed on February 5.
IF ELECTED … SPECIAL NOTES ON 2011 FINALISTS
THE ROSTER OF HALL OF FAME MEMBERS COULD INCREASE FOR 15 NFL TEAMS
The Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings, and St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams each have two finalists who spent a significant part of their careers with the team. The Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and the Washington Redskins each have one finalist who spent all or a significant part of their careers with that team.
If elected …
Jerome Bettis and/or Dermontti Dawson would be the 19th and/or 20th longtime Pittsburgh Steelers elected to the Hall of Fame. Other Steelers Hall of Fame members include Mel Blount, Terry Bradshaw, Bill Dudley, Joe Greene, Jack Ham, Franco Harris, John Henry Johnson, Walt Kiesling, Jack Lambert, Bobby Layne, Chuck Noll, Art Rooney, Dan Rooney, John Stallworth, Ernie Stautner, Lynn Swann, Mike Webster, and Rod Woodson.
Tim Brown would be the 14th Oakland/Los Angeles Raider elected to the Hall of Fame. He would join Marcus Allen, Fred Biletnikoff, George Blanda, Willie Brown, Dave Casper, Al Davis, Mike Haynes, Ted Hendricks, Howie Long, John Madden, Jim Otto, Art Shell, and Gene Upshaw. Cris Carter and/or Chris Doleman would be the 11th, and/or 12th Minnesota Vikings elected to the Hall of Fame. They would join Carl Eller, Jim Finks, Bud Grant, Paul Krause, Randall McDaniel, Alan Page, John Randle, Fran Tarkenton, Ron Yary, and Gary Zimmerman.
Richard Dent would be the 27th longtime Chicago Bear to be added to the Hall of Fame honor roll. Doug Atkins, George Blanda, Dick Butkus, George Connor, Mike Ditka, John "Paddy" Driscoll, Jim Finks, Dan Fortmann, Bill George, Harold "Red" Grange, George Halas, Dan Hampton, Ed Healey, Bill Hewitt, Stan Jones, Sid Luckman, Link Lyman, George McAfee, George Musso, Bronko Nagurski, Walter Payton, Gale Sayers, Mike Singletary, Joe Stydahar, George Trafton, and Clyde "Bulldog" Turner are the others.
Marshall Faulk and/or Les Richter would become the 14th and/or 15th longtime St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams elected to the Hall of Fame. They would join 13 previously elected Rams Hall of Famers including George Allen, Eric Dickerson, Tom Fears, Elroy Hirsch, Deacon Jones, Tom Mack, Ollie Matson, Merlin Olsen, Dan Reeves, Jackie Slater, Norm Van Brocklin, Bob Waterfield, and Jack Youngblood.
Marshall Faulk would be the 11th longtime Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts member elected to the Hall of Fame. He would join Raymond Berry, Eric Dickerson, Art Donovan, Week Ewbank, Ted Hendricks, John Mackey, Gino Marchetti, Lenny Moore, Jim Parker and Johnny Unitas.
Charles Haley would be the 14th member of the San Francisco 49ers elected to the Hall of Fame. He would join 13 other 49ers Hall of Fame members including Fred Dean, Jimmy Johnson, Ronnie Lott, Hugh McElhenny, Joe Montana, Leo Nomellini, Joe Perry, Jerry Rice, Bob St. Clair, Y.A. Tittle, Bill Walsh, Dave Wilcox, and Steve Young.
Charles Haley and/or Deion Sanders would be the 13th and/or 14th Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame members. Troy Aikman, Tony Dorsett, Bob Hayes, Michael Irvin, Tom Landry, Bob Lilly, Mel Renfro, Tex Schramm, Emmitt Smith, Roger Staubach, Randy White, and Rayfield Wright are the current Cowboys Hall of Fame members. Chris Hanburger would be the 19th Washington Redskins Hall of Fame member. He would join George Allen, Cliff Battles, Sammy Baugh, Bill Dudley, Albert Glen "Turk" Edwards, Ray Flaherty, Joe Gibbs, Darrell Green, Russ Grimm, Ken Houston, Sam Huff, Sonny Jurgensen, George Preston Marshall, Wayne Millner, Bobby Mitchell, Art Monk, John Riggins, and Charley Taylor.
Cortez Kennedy would join Steve Largent to become the second longtime Seattle Seahawk elected to the Hall of Fame.
Curtis Martin would be the fifth longtime New York Jet elected to the Hall of Fame, joining Weeb Ewbank, Don Maynard, Joe Namath, and John Riggins.
Andre Reed would be the ninth Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame member. He would join Joe DeLamielleure, Jim Kelly, Marv Levy, Billy Shaw, O.J. Simpson, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, and Ralph Wilson, Jr.
Willie Roaf would join Jim Finks and Rickey Jackson as only the third longtime member of the New Orleans Saints elected to the Hall of Fame. Deion Sanders would become the first longtime member of the Atlanta Falcons to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Shannon Sharpe would be the fourth Denver Bronco elected to the Hall of Fame, joining John Elway, Floyd Little and Gary Zimmerman.
THE MODERN-ERA POSITION ROSTER WILL CHANGE AFTER 2011 ELECTION (The Modern-Era is defined as a majority of an enshrinee's career occurred after 1946)
If elected …
Jerome Bettis and/or Marshall Faulk and/or Curtis Martin would be the 28th and/or 29th and/or 30th modern-era running back elected to the Hall of Fame. The other modern-era running backs in the Hall of Fame include Marcus Allen, Jim Brown, Earl Campbell, Larry Csonka, Eric Dickerson, Tony Dorsett, Frank Gifford, Franco Harris, Paul Hornung, John Henry Johnson, Leroy Kelly, Floyd Little, Ollie Matson, Hugh McElhenny, Lenny Moore, Marion Motley, Walter Payton, Joe Perry, John Riggins, Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers, O.J. Simpson, Emmitt Smith, Jim Taylor, Thurman Thomas, Charley Trippi, and Doak Walker.
Tim Brown, and/or Cris Carter, and/or Andre Reed would be the 22nd, 23rd and/or 24th modern-era receivers in the Hall of Fame. Other Hall of Fame modern-era receivers include Lance Alworth, Raymond Berry, Fred Biletnikoff, Tom Fears, Bob Hayes, Elroy Hirsch (also a halfback), Michael Irvin, Charlie Joiner, Steve Largent, Dante Lavelli, James Lofton, Don Maynard, Tommy McDonald, Bobby Mitchell (also a halfback), Art Monk, Pete Pihos, Jerry Rice, John Stallworth, Lynn Swann, Charley Taylor (also a halfback), and Paul Warfield.
Richard Dent, and/or Chris Doleman (also LB) and/or Charles Haley (also LB) would become the 16th, 17th and/or 18th modern-era defensive ends to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Other Hall of Fame defensive ends are Doug Atkins, Elvin Bethea, Willie Davis, Fred Dean, Carl Eller, Len Ford, Dan Hampton (DT-DE), Deacon Jones, Howie Long, Gino Marchetti, Andy Robustelli, Lee Roy Selmon, Bruce Smith, Reggie White, and Jack Youngblood.
Dermontti Dawson would become the ninth modern-era center to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Other Hall of Fame centers include Chuck Bednarik (also LB), Frank Gatski, Jim Langer, Bruce Matthews (G-T-C), Jim Otto, Jim Ringo, Dwight Stephenson, and Mike Webster.
Chris Hanburger, and/or Charles Haley (also DE), and/or Les Richter would be the 21st, and/or 22nd, and/or 23rd modern-era Hall of Fame linebackers joining Chuck Bednarik (also C) Bobby Bell (also DE), Nick Buoniconti, Dick Butkus, Harry Carson, George Connor (also DT-OT), Bill George, Jack Ham, Ted Hendricks, Sam Huff, Rickey Jackson (also DE), Jack Lambert, Willie Lanier, Ray Nitschke, Joe Schmidt, Mike Singletary, Lawrence Taylor, Derrick Thomas, Andre Tippett, and Dave Wilcox.
Cortez Kennedy would be the 14th defensive tackle elected to the Hall of Fame, joining Buck Buchanan, Art Donovan, Joe Greene, Dan Hampton (also DE), Henry Jordan, Bob Lilly, Leo Nomellini, Merlin Olsen, Alan Page, John Randle, Ernie Stautner, Arnie Weinmeister, and Randy White.
Willie Roaf would become the 19th tackle to earn election into the Hall of Fame. Other Hall of Fame tackles include Bob Brown, Roosevelt Brown, Lou Creekmur (also G), Dan Dierdorf, Forrest Gregg (also G), Lou Groza (also PK), Stan Jones (also G-DT), Bruce Matthews (also G-C), Mike McCormack, Ron Mix, Anthony Muñoz, Jim Parker (also G), Bob St. Clair, Art Shell, Jackie Slater, Rayfield Wright, Ron Yary, and Gary Zimmerman.
Ed Sabol would be the 19th contributor inducted into the Hall of Fame. He would join Bert Bell, Charles Bidwill, Joe Carr, Al Davis, Jim Finks, George Halas, Lamar Hunt, Earl "Curly" Lambeau, Tim Mara, Wellington Mara, George Preston Marshall, Hugh "Shorty" Ray, Dan Reeves, Art Rooney, Dan Rooney, Pete Rozelle, Tex Schramm, and Ralph Wilson, Jr.
Deion Sanders would become the 15th modern-era cornerback elected to the Hall of Fame. He would join Herb Adderley, Lem Barney, Mel Blount, Willie Brown, Darrell Green, Mike Haynes, Jimmy Johnson, Dick "Night Train" Lane, Dick LeBeau, Ronnie Lott (also S), Mel Renfro (also S), Emmitt Thomas, Roger Wehrli, and Rod Woodson (also S).
Shannon Sharpe would be the eighth tight end elected to the Hall of Fame. Other Hall of Fame tight ends include Dave Casper, Mike Ditka, John Mackey, Ozzie Newsome, Charlie Sanders, Jackie Smith, and Kellen Winslow.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, a multi-day celebration of the enshrinement of the newest Hall of Fame Class, is held each year in Canton. The festival which culminates with the Enshrinement Ceremony and NFL Hall of Fame Game includes 18 special events over a 11-day period. Two major events are the Enshrinees Dinner (Friday, August 5), and the Enshrinees Game Day Roundtable (Sunday, August 7). It is at the Enshrinees Dinner where each member of the Class of 2011 will be presented his gold Pro Football Hall of Fame Jacket. At the Enshrinees GameDay Roundtable, the Class of 2011 will be featured center stage as they share memories of the game and their personal feelings about being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Fan Packages for the 2011 Enshrinement Festival are on sale now. Individual Enshrinement tickets will go on sale to the public on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 at 11 a.m. ET. More ticket information for the Enshrinement Ceremony, NFL Hall of Fame Game and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival events can be found on the Hall of Fame's website (Profootballhof.com).
Tight End … 6-2, 230 … Savannah State … 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens … 14 playing seasons, 204 games … Three-time All-America at Savannah State … Selected by Broncos in the seventh round (192nd player overall) of the 1990 NFL Draft … At time of retirement, his 815 career receptions and 10,060 yards and 62 TDs were all NFL career records for a tight end … His 214 receiving yards vs. Kansas City in 2002 is an NFL single-game record for a tight end … Tied NFL record with 13 receptions in single post-season game (vs. Raiders, 1993) … Three times during career amassed over 1,000 yards receiving … Earned first- or second-team All-Pro honors five times and first- or second-team All-AFC honors six times … Selected to play in eight Pro Bowls (1993-99, 2002) … In 1996 led all tight ends in receptions (80), receiving yards (1,062 yards), and receiving touchdowns (10) … Following season had career best 1,107 receiving yards for career best 15.4 yard average … An integral part of Broncos Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII and Ravens Super Bowl XXXV championships … Born June 26, 1968 in Chicago, Illinois.
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