From the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Four first-year eligible nominees – Derrick Brooks, Tony Dungy, Marvin Harrison, and Walter Jones – 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 New York City on Saturday, Feb. 1.
Joining the first-year eligibles, are 10 other modern-era players and a contributor. The 15 modern-era finalists, along with the two senior nominees announced in August 2013 (former Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders punter, Ray Guy and Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Claude Humphrey) will be the only candidates considered for Hall of Fame election when the 46-member Selection Committee meets.
Although they have been nominees in previous years, this is the first time that Morten Andersen and John Lynch have been finalists.
The 15 modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall’s Selection Committee from a list of 126 nominees that earlier was reduced to a list of 25 semifinalists, during the multi-step, year-long selection process. Guy and Humphrey were selected as senior candidates by the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee. The Seniors Committee reviews the qualifications of those players whose careers ended more than 25 years ago.
To be elected a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent.
CLASS OF 2014 17 FINALISTS
Kicker … 6-2, 218 … Michigan State… 1982-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-2000, 2006-07 Atlanta Falcons, 2001 New York Giants, 2002-03 Kansas City Chiefs, 2004 Minnesota Vikings … 25 seasons, 382 games … Selected by Saints in 4th round (86th player overall) of 1982 draft … Began career in strike-shortened 1982 season … Scored more than 90 points in 22 seasons … Topped 100-point total 14 times in career … First 100-plus season, 1985, connected on 31 of 35 field goals, 27 extra point conversions, for 120 points, earning first of seven Pro Bowl selections … Also named All-Pro five times … After 13 years with Saints and ranking as team’s all-time leading scorer, joined the Falcons in 1995 … Became Falcons career scoring leader … Spectacular 1995 season, scored a career-high 122 points, including then NFL-record for most 50-yard field goals in season (8) … Dec. 10, 1995, became first kicker to convert three field goals of 50 yards or longer in single game … Set NFL records for career points (2,544), most field goals (565), games played (382) … His 40 field goals of 50-plus yards most in NFL history at retirement … Named to two NFL All-Decade Teams (1980s and 1990s) ... Converted 565 of 709 field goal attempts, 849 of 859 point-after-attempts … Led NFL in field goals, 1987 … Led NFC in scoring, 1992 and topped all conference kickers in most field goals in 1985, 1987, and 1995 …Born August 19, 1960 in Struer, Denmark. | Year of Eligibility: 2 |
Running Back … 5-11, 243 … Notre Dame … 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers … 13 seasons, 192 games … Selected by Rams in 1st round (10th player overall) of 1993 draft … Earned Rookie of Year honors ... Finished rookie season with seventh best rookie rushing total in league history... As rookie finished second in rushing yards and third in total yards from scrimmage ... First Rams rookie to rush for 1,000 yards since Eric Dickerson, 1983 … Rams leading rusher 1993-95 … Steelers leading rusher 1996-2001, 2003-04 … Steelers leader in total yards from scrimmage, 1996-2001 … His fifty 100-plus yard games ranks 1st in Steelers history … At time of retirement, his eight 1,000-plus yard seasons was tied for third-best in NFL history and his 13,662 ranked fifth all-time in career rushing yards … Ranked 19th all-time in combined net yards at time of retirement … Voted to Pro Bowl six times: 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2005 … Named All-Pro in 1993 (AP, PFWA), 1996 (AP); All-Pro Second Team 1997 (AP); All-NFC 1993 (UPI, PW); All-AFC 1996 (UPI, PW), 1997 (PW) … Born February 16, 1972 in Detroit, Michigan. | Year of Eligibility: 4 |
Linebacker … 6-0, 232 … Florida State … 1995-2008 Tampa Bay Buccaneers … 14 seasons, 224 games … Selected by Buccaneers in 1st round (28th player overall) of 1995 NFL Draft ... Never missed game during 14-season career … Started all but three games rookie season ... Never missed a start for remainder of career ... Earned All-Rookie honors after finishing second on team with 80 tackles … In 1997, led Bucs to first postseason appearance since 1981 ... Topped team with 182 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and 10 passes defensed, earned first of 11 Pro Bowl selections ... With Brooks, Bucs led NFL in total defense twice (2002 and 2005) and topped NFC five times (1998, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2007) during his career … Named NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, 2002 when he again led Tampa Bay with 173 tackles, career-high five interceptions (three returned for TDs), 15 passes defensed, one fumble recovery, one sack ... Was a major contributor in the Bucs’ victory in Super Bowl XXXVII where he had three tackles, one pass defensed, one interception returned 44 yards for a TD against the Oakland Raiders … Six-time All-Pro choice, named All-NFC eight times … Selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s … Born April 18, 1973 in Pensacola, Florida. | Year of Eligibility: 1 |
Wide Receiver/Kick Returner/Punt Returner … 6-0, 195 … Notre Dame … 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers … 17 seasons, 255 games … Heisman Trophy Winner … Selected by Raiders in 1st round (6th player overall) of 1988 draft … As rookie led NFL in kickoff returns, return yards, and yards per return average … Led NFL in receptions, 1997 … Set Raiders franchise records for receptions, receiving yards, and punt return yards … At time of retirement his 14,934 receiving yards were second-highest total in NFL history; 1,094 receptions were 3rd; and 100 touchdown catches were tied for 3rd … Also gained 190 rushing yards; 3,320 punt return yards, 3 fumble return yards; 1,235 kickoff return yards … Total of 19,682 combined net yards, 5th all-time at time of retirement … Scored 105 total touchdowns (100 receiving, 1 rushing, 3 punt returns, 1 kickoff return) … Voted to Pro Bowl nine times, 1989 and 1992 as kick returner, 1994-98, 2000 and 2002 as a receiver … All-Pro choice as a kick returner, 1988 … All-Pro wide receiver, 1997 … Was named All-AFC as a kick returner, 1988, punt returner, 1991, and wide receiver, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997 … Born July 22, 1966 in Dallas, Texas. | Year of Eligibility: 5 |
EDWARD J. DEBARTOLO, JR.
Owner … Notre Dame … 1977-2000 San Francisco 49ers … Purchased 49ers in 1977 with vision to create top-notch organization, on and off field … Known as a "players’ owner,” led franchise to unprecedented winning during tenure … In 1979, hired Bill Walsh as team’s head coach, drafted quarterback Joe Montana, and created atmosphere conducive to winning … Fortunes of franchise changed soon thereafter … In 1981, 49ers finished 13-3 to claim NFC Western Division title and won hard fought playoff battles with New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys and capped the year with a thrilling 26-21 victory over Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI … DeBartolo infused team roster with talent that resulted in San Francisco enjoying amazing string of winning seasons … Team averaged 13 wins per season, including playoffs, during a span from 1981 to 1998 (not including strike-shortened 1982 season). During DeBartolo’s ownership team claimed 13 division titles, made 16 playoff appearances, advanced to NFC championship game 10 times, and was first franchise ever to win five Super Bowls (XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV, XXIX) … Franchise posted the best winning percentage in NFL in both the decades of the 1980s and 1990s … Was named NFL Man of the Year by Football News, 1989 as the nation’s top sports executive … DeBartolo was also highly respected inside NFL circles and served on league’s realignment and expansion committees … Born November 6, 1946 in Youngstown, Ohio. | Year of Eligibility: Does not apply to contributor category. |
Head Coach … Minnesota …. 1996-2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2002-08 Indianapolis Colts … 13 seasons … Assistant coach with Pittsburgh Steelers (1981-88), Kansas City Chiefs (1989-1991), and Minnesota Vikings (1992-95) … Took over Bucs team in 1996 that had suffered 12 double-digit loss seasons in previous 13 years ... By second season, team finished 10-6 and earned playoff berth … Two seasons later, in 1999, Bucs posted 11-5 record and clinched franchise’s first divisional title since 1981 … After six seasons in Tampa Bay, that included four trips to the playoffs, Dungy was relieved of his duties. Eight days after dismissal was hired by Indianapolis … During Dungy’s seven years as Indy’s head coach, Colts posted 12 or more wins in every season except his first when they finished 10-6 … Indianapolis claimed five divisional titles, advanced to the playoffs every year of Dungy’s tenure … Guided Colts to AFC South Division title (2006) and capped season with win over New England Patriots in AFC championship game and victory over Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI … First African American head coach ever to win a Super Bowl … Overall record as head coach, 148-79-0 … Posted .668 winning percentage in the regular season (139-69-0) ... Born October 6, 1955 in Jackson, Michigan. | Year of Eligibility: 1 |
Linebacker/Defensive End … 6-3, 247 … Auburn … 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers … 15 seasons, 228 games … Selected by Rams in 5th round (113th player overall) in 1985 draft ... Played primarily on special teams as rookie, only season he didn’t register a sack … Did not have any starts in second season, but played in all 16 games and managed seven sacks … Added 6.5 sacks in 1987 and by fourth season was bona fide pass rusher for Rams, registering career-high 16.5 sacks, including career-best 4.5 sacks in win over 49ers in season finale that clinched playoff spot for Rams … Following year matched his 16.5 sacks total … Had double-digit sack totals 10 times, second in record book at the time … Only time missed recording 10 sacks in any of last eight seasons was 1995 when he had team-leading nine sacks for Steelers … Named to Pro Bowl five times (once with the Rams, twice with Steelers and Panthers) … Selected first-team All-Pro, 1989 with Rams, 1994 with Pittsburgh and 1996 with Carolina… Captured league sack title twice, 1994 and 1996 … A member of NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1990s … Played in six conference championship games and one Super Bowl … Led team in sacks 11 times and amassed 160 total sacks, third all-time at time of retirement … Also had three safeties, 26 opponent fumble recoveries, and five interceptions … Born July 31, 1962 in New York, New York. | Year of Eligibility: 10 |
SENIOR NOMINEE. Punter… 6-3, 195 … Southern Mississippi … 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders … 14 seasons, 207 games … All-America, nation’s top collegiate punter, 1972 … First punter ever to be selected in first round of draft, picked by Raiders (23rd player overall), 1973 … Became impact player from very first game as a rookie … Averaged under 40 yards only one season in NFL career … Had best average (45.3 yards) as rookie … Led NFL in punting, 1974, 1975, 1977 … Had only three of 1,049 punts blocked … Career average was 42.4 yards … Had 619 punts without a block, 1979-1986 … Veteran of 22 postseason games, adding 111 punts for 42.4 average … All-Pro six straight seasons, 1973-78 … All-AFC seven times … Played in seven Pro Bowls, including six straight from 1974 to 1979… Played in seven AFC championship games … Member of Raiders victories in Super Bowls XI, XV, XVIII … Three-game totals: 14 punts, 41.9-yard average … Had 77 punts inside 20-yard line, 1984-86 … First punter to hit Louisiana Superdome scoreboard, 1977 Pro Bowl … Doubled as Raiders’ emergency quarterback with strong accurate passing arm … Born December 22, 1949, in Swainsboro, Georgia. | Year of Eligibility: 23 |
Defensive End/Linebacker … 6-5, 242 … James Madison … 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys … 12 seasons, 169 games … Selected by 49ers in 4th round (96th player overall) in 1986 draft … Only player in NFL history to play on five winning Super Bowl teams (XXIII, XXIV, XXVII, XXVIII, XXX) … Began career at linebacker and led 49ers in sacks in each of first six seasons … Recorded four double-digit sack totals with 49ers including 12 as rookie and career-high 16 in 1990 … Moved to defensive end after trade to Dallas … Added two more double-digit sack seasons, 1994, 1995 … Suffered serious back injury, limited to just five games, 1996 … Retired after undergoing surgery … After a two-year hiatus, signed with 49ers as backup defensive end for two playoff games in 1998 … In 1999 came back for final season, added three sacks to finish career with 100.5 … Twice named NFC Defensive Player of the Year (1990, 1994), voted to five Pro Bowls, named All-Pro twice, once as linebacker, once as defensive end … Played in six NFC championship games over seven seasons … Starting at left outside linebacker in 49ers 1988, 1989, 1990 championship games; at right defensive end in Cowboys’ 1992, 1993, 1994 conference championships … Member of 10 division championship teams during his 12 seasons … Born January 6, 1964 in Gladys, Virginia. | Year of Eligibility: 10 |
Wide Receiver … 6-0, 181 … Syracuse … 1996-2008 Indianapolis Colts … 13 seasons, 190 games … Selected in 1st round (19th player overall) in 1996 … Colts obtained pick in trade with Falcons in exchange for QB Jeff George …. Earned All-Rookie honors and led the Colts in receptions (64), receiving yards (836) and total touchdowns (8) … Had three-TD game against the Chiefs as a rookie … Matched that three-touchdown effort eight more times during career ... Breakout season in 1999 … Teamed with QB Peyton Manning, he racked up 115 receptions for league-leading 1,663 yards and 12 TDs … Had remarkable string of eight straight years with 1,000-plus yards receiving, 10 or more touchdowns … Best season may have been 2002 when he shattered NFL single-season record for receptions (143) and had career-high 1,722 yards and 11 TDs ... In 2004 tied career-high for touchdowns in season with 15 (he set the mark in 2001) ... Major factor in Colts’ march to Super Bowl XLI where team defeated Chicago Bears 29-17 … Member of NFL’s All-Decade Team of 2000s, retired following 2008 season with 1,102 career receptions, 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns ... Eight-time Pro Bowl selection … Finished second to Jerry Rice in league annals in career receptions, most consecutive games with a reception (190) and most career 100-yard games (59) ... Yardage total ranked him fourth all-time and career TDs (128) ninth on all-time list at time of his retirement ... A six-time All-Pro, eight-time All-AFC selection ... Born August 25, 1972 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. | Year of Eligibility: 1 |
SENIOR NOMINEE. Defensive End … 6-4, 252 … Tennessee State … 1968-1978 (1975 inj. res.) Atlanta Falcons, 1979-1981 Philadelphia Eagles … 14 seasons, 171 games … Falcons’ first-round pick (3rd player overall) in 1968 draft … Recorded 11.5 sacks as rookie … Named National Football League Defensive Rookie of the Year, 1968 … Although not official NFL stat until after he retired, Humphrey is credited with 122 career quarterback sacks … Highly effective pass rusher, led team in sacks nine of 13 seasons … Earned first-team All-Pro in 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1977 … Second-team All-NFL/All-Pro 1969, 1970, 1971, 1974, 1976, 1977 … Selected to play in six Pro Bowls … Extremely durable, missed just two games prior to season-ending knee injury in 1975 … Rebounded with career-best 15 sacks in 1976 and was named team Most Valuable Player … Traded to Eagles in 1979 for two fourth-round picks following a brief “retirement” … In first year with Eagles, finished second in sacks and his 31 quarterback “hurries” were a team best … In 1980, team high 14.5 sacks helped Eagles advance as NFC champions to Super Bowl XV … Career stats include two interceptions, a fumble recovery for TD, and two safeties … Born June 29, 1944 at Memphis, Tennessee. | Year of Eligibility: 28 |
Tackle … 6-5, 300 … Holmes Comm. College (MS); Florida State … 1997-2008 Seattle Seahawks … 12 seasons, 180 games … Drafted in 1st round (6th player overall) of 1997 NFL Draft … Seahawks traded up to select Jones as sixth overall pick … Ability on football field was evident from start ... Earned starting left tackle spot during rookie training camp, named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month in October, and a consensus pick for multiple all-rookie teams ... Provided blindside protection for quarterback Warren Moon as Seahawks topped NFL in total passing yards that season … Following 1999 season, Jones became first offensive lineman in Seahawks history elected to Pro Bowl … First of team-record nine All-Star nods ... In 2001 was recognized with first selection as first-team All-Pro ... Highlights included Jones and line mates opening holes for Shaun Alexander’s 266-yard day that, at time, was fourth highest single-game rushing total in NFL history... Earned All-Pro honors five more times (2002, 2004-07) ... A team leader, Jones was integral part of Alexander’s MVP season in 2005 … Jones helped his running back chalk up a franchise-record and league-high 1,880 yards while establishing the then NFL mark for touchdowns in a season (28) as Seattle led the NFL in scoring with 452 points … Jones’ team-record 10 playoff starts included 2005 NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl XL ... Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s … Born January 19, 1974 in Aliceville, Alabama. | Year of Eligibility: 1 |
Safety … 6-2, 214 … Stanford … 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos … 15 seasons, 224 games … Selected by Bucs in the 3rd round (82nd player overall) of 1993 NFL Draft … Was vital addition to Bucs defense that soon dominated NFL … Earned permanent starting role in fourth pro season, racked up more than 100 tackles and tied career-high with three interceptions … From that point forward, was anchor of secondary on a defense that perennially ranked among NFL’s best ... Voted to first of nine Pro Bowl following 1997 season … Earned first-team All-Pro recognition three straight years (1999-2001) … In 2002, was integral part of Buccaneers’ championship season capped with franchise’s first Super Bowl title … Contributed 96 tackles (50 solo), three interceptions, and 12 passes defensed as Bucs finished 12-4 ... In postseason added five tackles in divisional playoff, six tackles in championship game and one tackle and pass defensed in Super Bowl XXXVII victory ... Signed as free agent with Denver in 2004 … Played final four seasons of 15-year career in Denver ... Helped lead Broncos to conference championship game in second season … That year recorded career-high four sacks, intercepted two passes, forced four fumbles, and racked up 69 tackles ... Added three solo tackles, one assist, one pass defensed in 1995 AFC Championship Game ... In all, recorded 26 interceptions, returned for 204 yards, 13 sacks, and more than 1,000 tackles ... Credited with 90 or more tackles in a season nine times ... Born September 25, 1971 in Hinsdale, Illinois. | Year of Eligibility: 2 |
Wide Receiver … 6-2, 190 … Kutztown … 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins … 16 seasons, 234 games … Selected by Buffalo in 4th round (86th player overall) of 1985 NFL Draft … Most prolific receiver in Buffalo Bills history … His 941 career receptions still Bills record and 266 more than number two on that list … His 13,095 career reception yardage, 36 games with 100-plus receiving yards, and 15 catches in a game are current team records … Known for his “yards after catch” … His 951 career receptions were third all-time in NFL history at the time of his retirement … His 13 seasons, including nine consecutive, with 50-plus receptions was exceeded only by Jerry Rice at time of Reed’s retirement … Reed is tied with Bills running back Thurman Thomas for team best career touchdowns (87), most on passes from Jim Kelly … Kelly-Reed tandem held NFL record for career receptions (663) until 2004 when eclipsed by Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison … Known for toughness as he made most of his receptions over the middle … A four-time All-AFC choice and three-time All-NFL second-team, was selected to play in seven consecutive Pro Bowls (1989-1995) … Added an additional 85 catches for 1,229 yards, including five 100-yard games in postseason play … Born January 29, 1964 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. | Year of Eligibility: 9 |
Guard … 6-3, 320 … Nebraska … 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs … 14 seasons, 224 games … Selected by Chiefs in 3rd round (74th player overall) of 1993 draft … Placed into lineup in first NFL game after starting left guard suffered injury … Next week was inserted as starting right guard … Started every game from that point through retirement … Never missed a game during 14-season career, 224 games played, 223 starts are franchise records … As rookie helped Chiefs to an 11-5-0 mark and AFC Western Division crown, first division title for team since 1971 … Chiefs won four division titles and made six playoff appearances during Shields’ career … Earned 12 straight Pro Bowl berths … Named first-team All-Pro in 1999, 2002, and 2003, picked as second-team All-Pro four times … Was All-AFC seven times including each of final six seasons … Chiefs led NFL in total yards gained in 2004 and 2005 and topped AFC in that category in 2003 … Led NFL in points scored in 2002 and 2003 highlighted by running back Priest Holmes’ then-record 27 rushing touchdowns in ’03 … In 1994, Chiefs offensive line established a franchise record allowing a mere 19 sacks … A member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s … Joined Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Thomas in 1999 as only active players named to Chiefs’ 40th Anniversary Team … Born September 15, 1971 in Fort Riley, Kansas. | Year of Eligibility: 3 |
Defensive End … 6-5, 255 … Texas Southern … 1993-2007 New York Giants … 15 seasons, 216 games … Selected in 2nd round (40th player overall) in 1993 draft … Dominant pass rusher and also excellent at defending the run … Recorded 141.5 career sacks … Had 38 multi-sack games during career … Registered double-digit sack totals six times during nine-season span, 1997-2005 … Suffered torn pectoral muscle in 2004 but rebounded following season by starting all 16 games and amassing 11.5 sacks … Named first-team All-Pro five times (1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005) … All-NFC five seasons … Voted to seven Pro Bowls … Set NFL single-season sack record with 22.5 sacks, 2001 … Also won NFL sack title in 2003 with 18.5 sacks … Named unanimous NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 2001 … Started at left defensive end in two NFC championship game wins, two Super Bowls … Recorded two tackles, one assisted tackle, one sack and one pass defensed in Giants’ 17-14 win over Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, his last NFL game … Selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s … Born November 21, 1971 in Houston, Texas. | Year of Eligibility: 2 |
Cornerback/Safety … 5-11, 194 … Southern University … 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams … 14 seasons, 211 games … Selected in the 3rd round (59th player overall) of 1991 NFL Draft … One of finest defensive backs ever … Starred at cornerback for first 12 years of career before moving to safety … Earned Pro Bowl nods at both positions, seven times at cornerback and once as safety … Had first career pick and four deflected passes in NFL debut … Finished year tied for most interceptions in NFC with six, also recorded 17 passes defensed, 48 tackles … Named NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year by NFL Players Association … Earned Pro Bowl nod and All-NFC acclaim for first time in 1994 when he added another conference interception title with career-high nine interceptions … Named first-team All-NFC 1995, 1996, 1997, and 2001 … Selected to NFL’s All-Decade Team 1990s … Recorded interception in every season but last and had five or more picks in a season six times … Led Cardinals in interceptions seven times and Rams leading interceptor in 2003 … In all, registered 55 interceptions for 807 yards … His nine pick-sixes tied him for second all-time at time of retirement … Shared NFL record for longest fumble return in upset victory over Redskins Nov. 5, 2000, 104 yards for a TD … Recorded interception in record four straight postseason games during span from 1998 to 2001 … Started at left cornerback for St. Louis in 2001 NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl XXXVI … Born January 29, 1968 in New Orleans, Louisiana. | Year of Eligibility: 3 |