Class of 2006 will come from list of finalists

01/11/2006

Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Thurman Thomas, and Reggie White, four first-year eligible candidates, are among the 15 finalists who will be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when the Hall's Board of Selectors meets in Detroit, Michigan on Saturday, February 4, 2006.

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White

Joining the first-year eligible players as finalists, are nine other modern-era players and a coach and player nominated earlier by the Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee. The Seniors Committee nominees, announced in August 2005, are John Madden and Rayfield Wright. The other modern-era player finalists include defensive ends L.C. Greenwood and Claude Humphrey; linebackers Harry Carson and Derrick Thomas; offensive linemen Russ Grimm, Bob Kuechenberg and Gary Zimmerman; and wide receivers Michael Irvin and Art Monk.

 Notes on the Class of 2006 Finalists

 Hall's Selection Process

 15 Finalists, All-Time List

To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent.

Listed alphabetically, the 15 finalists with their positions, teams, and years follow:

Troy Aikman - Quarterback - 1989-2000 Dallas Cowboys
Harry Carson - Linebacker - 1976-1988 New York Giants
L.C. Greenwood - Defensive End - 1969-1981 Pittsburgh Steelers
Russ Grimm - Guard - 1981-1991 Washington Redskins
Claude Humphrey - Defensive End - 1968-1978 Atlanta Falcons, 1979-1981 Philadelphia Eagles (injured reserve - 1975)
Michael Irvin - Wide Receiver - 1988-1999 Dallas Cowboys
Bob Kuechenberg - Guard - 1970-1984 Miami Dolphins (injured reserve - 1984)
John Madden - Coach - 1969-1978 Oakland Raiders
Art Monk - Wide Receiver - 1980-1993 Washington Redskins, 1994 New York Jets, 1995 Philadelphia Eagles
Warren Moon - Quarterback - 1984-1993 Houston Oilers, 1994-1996 Minnesota Vikings, 1997-1998 Seattle Seahawks, 1999-2000 Kansas City Chiefs
Derrick Thomas - Linebacker - 1989-1999 Kansas City Chiefs
Thurman Thomas - Running Back - 1988-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Miami Dolphins
Reggie White - Defensive End/Defensive Tackle - 1985-1992 Philadelphia Eagles, 1993-1998 Green Bay Packers, 2000 Carolina Panthers
Rayfield Wright - Tackle - 1967-1979 Dallas Cowboys
Gary Zimmerman - Tackle - 1986-1992 Minnesota Vikings, 1993-1997 Denver Broncos

Carson, Greenwood, Grimm, Humphrey, Irvin, Kuechenberg, Madden, Monk, Derrick Thomas, Wright, and Zimmerman have all been finalists in previous years.

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Moon

From this year's list, nine nominees - Aikman, Carson, Greenwood, Grimm, Irvin, Kuechenberg, Madden, Derrick Thomas, and Wright - spent their entire NFL career with just one team.

Madden and Wright were selected as senior candidates by the Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee at their August 2005 meeting. The Seniors Committee reviews the qualifications of those players, coaches, and contributors whose careers took place more than 25 years ago. The remaining 13 modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall's 39-member Board of Selectors from a list of 112 preliminary nominees that earlier was reduced to a list of 25 semi-finalists. To be eligible for election, modern-era players must be retired for at least five seasons while a coach needs only to be retired.

At the 2006 election meeting, the selectors will thoroughly discuss the careers of each finalist before narrowing the field to six candidates. At least three candidates must be elected but the total class cannot number more than six.

Of the 2006 finalists, Madden has been eligible for 27 years, Wright 22 years, Greenwood and Humphrey 20 years, Kuechenberg 17 years, Carson 13 years, Grimm 10 years, Monk six years, Zimmerman four years, Irvin and Derrick Thomas two years, and for Aikman, Moon, Thurman Thomas, and White, 2006 is their first year of eligibility.

The Class of 2006 will be announced at a press conference at 2 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, February 4, at the Super Bowl media center in the Marriott Renaissance Center.

Representatives of the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche will tabulate all votes during the meeting. At the press conference, they will present Hall of Fame Interim Executive Director Ron Dougherty with an envelope containing the names of the nominees elected. The Hall will contact each new member immediately after the announcement. Members of the Class of 2006 in Detroit for the Super Bowl will be asked to join the press conference. Those not able to attend will be asked to join via teleconference.

Enshrinement of the Class of 2006 will take place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio on the weekend of August 5-6.

CLASS OF 2006 15 FINALISTS

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TROY AIKMAN
Quarterback. . .6-4, 219. . .Oklahoma, UCLA. . .1989-2000 Dallas Cowboys. . .12 seasons, 165 games. . .Cowboys' first-round draft pick (1st player overall), 1989 NFL Draft. . .Earned All-Rookie honors. . .Led team to three Super Bowl wins. . .Closed career with 94 regular season wins, including 90 in 1990s, making him winningest starting quarterback of any decade. . .Held or tied 47 Dallas passing records, including career attempts (4,715), completions (2,898), passing yards (32,942), touchdowns (165) and completion percentage (61.5%). . .Posted 13 regular season 300-yard passing games during career. . .Guided Dallas from 1-15 in 1989 to six NFC East titles (1992-1996 and 1998), four NFC Championship Games (1992-1995), three Super Bowl wins (XXVII, XXVIII, and XXX). . .One of game's most accurate passers, 70 percent or more of passes (min. 20 attempts) 41 times in career. . .Led Cowboys from behind 16 times in fourth quarter, including six times in final two minutes. . .Six times he led team to wins after score was tied in fourth quarter. . .Outstanding in postseason play. . .His four 300-yard playoff passing days were third best in NFL history. . . Named to six Pro Bowls, All-Pro 1993, All-NFC Second Team 1994, 1995. . .Born November 21, 1966, in West Covina, California.

HARRY CARSON
Linebacker. . .6-2, 237. . .South Carolina State. . .1976-1988 New York Giants. . .13 seasons, 173 games. . . Giants' fourth-round draft pick (105th player overall), 1976 NFL Draft. . .Defensive end in college. . .Became Giants' starting middle linebacker halfway through rookie season. . .Earned All-Rookie honors. . .Led Giants defenders in tackles five seasons. . .Had career-high performance in 1982 vs. Green Bay, 20 solo tackles and five assists. . .Ferocious run stopper had 14 career fumble recoveries . . .Known for his aggressive pursuit, he recorded 11 career interceptions. . .Was a part of the famed Giants linebacker trio of Carson, Lawrence Taylor, and Carl Banks. . .A big-play performer, his interception and 12 tackles vs. Redskins in 1986 virtually assured Giants of NFC East title. . .Made key goal line stand play in Super Bowl XXI when he stopped Broncos running back for no gain. . .Selected to play in nine Pro Bowls, including seven straight (1982-1988). . .All-Pro (first-team) 1981, 1984; (second-team) 1978, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986. . .All-NFC (first-team) 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1986; (second-team) 1978, 1985. . .Born November 26, 1953, in Florence, South Carolina.

L. C. GREENWOOD
Defensive End. . .6-6, 245. . .Arkansas AM&N. . .1969-1981 Pittsburgh Steelers. . .13 seasons, 170 games. . . Three-year regular, Ebony All-America in college. . .10th-round pick (238th player overall) in 1969 AFL-NFL Draft. . .Served as fifth defensive lineman first two years before becoming regular left defensive end in 1971. . .Teamed with Hall of Famer Joe Greene, the left defensive tackle, to give Steelers superior left-side strength for their "Steel Curtain" defense. . .Consistent, possessed exceptional quickness, speed. . .Used height to knock down passes or force passers to rush throws. . .Noted for free-wheeling style as pass rusher. . .Had 73.5 sacks, 14 opponents fumble recoveries in career. . .Missed five games with knee injury in 1977, but rebounded with superior 1978 campaign. . .Played in six AFC title games, Super Bowls IX, X, XIII, XIV. . . Batted down three Fran Tarkenton passes in Super Bowl IX; sacked Roger Staubach three times in Super Bowl X. . .All-Pro twice, All-AFC five times. . .Born September 8, 1946, in Canton, Mississippi.

RUSS GRIMM
Guard. . .6-3, 273. . .Pittsburgh. . .1981-1991 Washington Redskins. . .11 seasons, 140 games. . .Selected in 3rd round (69th player overall) in 1981 NFL Draft. . .Originally pegged to play center, moved to left guard as rookie. . .Immediate starter on line that earned nickname "The Hogs". . .Teaming with tackle Joe Jacoby, formed perhaps most punishing side of an offensive line in football at the time. . .With Grimm's speed and strength, Redskins rode success of dominating running attack to victory in Super Bowl XVII in which John Riggins rushed for then-record 166 yards. . .During playoff run that year, team averaged 152 yards rushing. . .In 1983 Grimm was selected to first of four straight Pro Bowls. . .Also marked start of four consecutive years (1983-1986) of All-Pro recognition. . .Also named All-NFC in each of those seasons. . .In 1987 moved to center and started five games before being sidelined until season finale with knee injury. . .Missed 11 games in 1988 with knee injury. . .Appeared in five NFC championship games and four Super Bowls including wins in Super Bowls XVII, XXII, XXVI. . .Elected to NFL's 1980s All-Decade Team. . .Born May 2, 1959 in Scottsdale, Pennsylvania.

CLAUDE HUMPHREY

Defensive End. . .6-4, 252. . .Tennessee State. . .1968-1978 (inj. res. - 1975) Atlanta Falcons, 1979-1981 Philadelphia Eagles. . .14 seasons, 171 games. . .Falcons' first-round pick (3rd player overall) in 1968 AFL-NFL Draft. . .Recorded 11.5 sacks as rookie. . .Named National Football League Defensive Rookie of the Year, 1968. . .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. . .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 1980, team high 14.5 sacks helped Eagles advance to Super Bowl XV. . .Career stats include two interceptions, a fumble recovery for TD, and two safeties. . .Born June 29, 1944 in Memphis, Tennessee. 

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MICHAEL IRVIN
Wide Receiver. . .6-2, 207. . .Miami (FL). . .1988-1999 Dallas Cowboys. . .12 seasons, 159 games. . .Selected by Dallas in first round (11th player overall) of 1988 NFL Draft. . .Earned starting role as rookie, but injuries caused him to miss 12 games in first two seasons. . .His 20.4 yard per catch average during rookie year led NFC. . .Feared by opponents for his combination of speed, size, strength. . .In 1991, caught 93 passes for a league-leading 1,523 yards and 8 touchdowns. . .Consensus All-Pro that year and earned the first of five straight Pro Bowl trips. . .Recorded 1,000-yard seasons in all but one year from 1991 through 1998. . .In 1995 recorded finest season with 111 receptions for 1,603 yards, recorded an NFL record eleven 100-yard games, and scored 10 touchdowns. . .Had seven receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns in the Cowboys' 38-27 win over Packers in 1995 NFC Championship Game. . .Capped off year with five catches for 76 yards in Dallas' 27-17 victory over Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. . .Accumulated 750 receptions for 11,904 yards, 65 TDs during career. . .A member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s. . .Had 100 or more yards receiving in a game forty-seven times. . .Born March 5, 1966 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

BOB KUECHENBERG
Guard. . .6-2, 253. . .Notre Dame. . .1970-1984 Miami Dolphins (inj. res. - 1984). . . 15 seasons, 196 games. . .Selected by Philadelphia Eagles in 4th round (80th player overall) of 1969 AFL-NFL Draft. . . Spent 1984 season on injured reserve. . .Released by both the Eagles and Atlanta Falcons. . .Played semi-pro football before signing as free agent with Miami Dolphins in 1970. . .Highly competitive and driven to succeed, played in more regular season games (196) than any other player in Dolphins history at the time of his retirement. . . Also only player to play in all 19 playoff games in franchise's history at that time. . .A versatile player, spent time at tackle and center positions. . .In 1978 played eight games at guard and seven at tackle, earning Pro Bowl spot at guard and Sporting News All-AFC honors at tackle. . .In 1977 suffered a pair of fractures in back in August but returned to lineup after missing just two regular season starts. . .Named to six Pro Bowls (1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1983, 1984). . .All-Pro 1975, 1978; All-AFC 1974, 1975, 1978; All-Pro Second Team 1975, 1977, 1978. . .Had memorable performance in Super Bowl VIII victory. . .Born October 14, 1947 in Gary, Indiana.

JOHN MADDEN
Coach. . .San Mateo, California Polytechnic College at San Luis Obispo. . .1969-1978 Oakland Raiders. . .10 seasons. . .Regular season record: 103-32-7. . .Post-season record: 9-7. . .Overall record: 112-39-7. . . Began pro coaching career as Raiders assistant, 1967-1968. . .At age 32, became one of youngest head coaches in history when Raiders hired him in 1969. . .His .759 winning percentage during regular season ranks as highest ever among coaches with 100 career victories. . .Only Hall of Famers George Halas and Curly Lambeau reached 100 career wins at earlier age. . .In first year at helm, led the Raiders to 12-1-1 record and American Football League Western Division title. . .AFL Coach of the Year in 1969. . .Under Madden, Oakland never suffered losing record and claimed seven division titles and had eight playoff appearances, including 37-31 six-quarter AFC Divisional Playoff win over Colts in 1977. . .In 1976, guided Raiders to 13-1 record to win AFC Western Division. . .Success continued in post-season with wins over New England in divisional playoff game and a commanding 24-7 victory over Pittsburgh in AFC championship. . . Capped the season with a 32-14 win over Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI. . .Team won 17 straight games between 1976-1977 seasons, one short of NFL record. . .Born April 10, 1936 in Austin, Minnesota.

ART MONK
Wide Receiver. . .6-3, 210. . .Syracuse. . .1980-1993 Washington Redskins, 1994 New York Jets, 1995 Philadelphia Eagles. . .16 seasons, 224 games. . .Selected by Washington in first round (18th player overall) of 1980 NFL Draft. . .Prototype for today's bigger, stronger receivers. . .Caught 58 passes as a rookie and was unanimous All-Rookie choice. . .Had 50 or more receptions in a season nine times. . .Gained 1,000 or more receiving yards in a season five times. . .Set then-NFL records for catches in a season (106), most consecutive games with at least one reception (164), and career receptions (820). . .Finished career with 940 catches. . .A strong receiver, especially effective over the middle in traffic, made the "dodge pattern" his signature play. . . Had finest season in 1984, catching eight or more passes in six games, five games of 100-plus receiving yards, and in one game caught 10 passes for 200 yards. . .Named Redskins 1984 Most Valuable Player. . .First Redskin to produce three consecutive 1,000 receiving yard seasons. . .A three-time Pro Bowl selection, was All-Pro choice in 1984 and 1985. . .First- or second-team All-NFC three times. . .Born December 5, 1957 in White Plains, New York.

WARREN MOON
Quarterback. . .6-3, 212. . .West Los Angeles Junior College, Washington. . .1984-1993 Houston Oilers, 1994-1996 Minnesota Vikings, 1997-1998 Seattle Seahawks, 1999-2000 Kansas City Chiefs. . .17 seasons, 208 games. . .Began pro career with CFL's Edmonton Eskimos (1978-1983), winning five straight Grey Cups. . . Signed with NFL's Houston Oilers as unrestricted free agent, 1984... In NFL career, completed 3,988 of 6,823 passes for 49,325 yards, 291 touchdowns, 233 interceptions ... Rushed 543 times for 1,736 yards for 22 TDs, giving him 51,061 yards of total offense. . .At retirement, pass attempts, completions, yardage totals and total offense totals all ranked third all-time. . .291 career touchdown passes total was fourth... Nine 3,000-yard passing seasons was third in league history. . .His forty-nine 300-yard games are third in NFL behind Hall of Famers Dan Marino (60) and Dan Fouts (51). . .Holds record for quarterbacks with eight straight Pro Bowl selections (1988-1995 seasons), added ninth following 1997 campaign. . .Recorded a then-record nine 300-yard games in 1990, including 527-yard effort at Kansas City, second-most in NFL history. . .At time of retirement, one of three quarterbacks (Marino, Elway) to have back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons and only one to do it for two different teams (Oilers, Vikings). . .Had four 4,000-yard passing seasons. . .Set then-NFL record with 404 pass completions in 1991. . .Started 203 of 208 regular season contests. . .All-Pro, 1990…First or second team All-AFC 1988, 1989, 1990…Born November 18, 1956 in Los Angeles, California.

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DERRICK THOMAS
Linebacker. . .6-3, 243. . .Alabama. . .1989-1999 Kansas City Chiefs. . .11 seasons, 169 games. . .Selected in the first round (4th player overall) in 1989 NFL Draft. . .Consensus All-America. . .Amassed 10 sacks and 75 tackles to earn Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. . .In 1990 recorded league-leading and team record 20 sacks; including NFL record seven sacks in game vs. Seahawks. . .Also recorded six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 63 tackles, five pass deflections, 35 quarterback pressures and was named to first of nine Pro Bowls. . .No player amassed more sacks during 1990s than 116.5 by Thomas. . .Finished career with 126.5 sacks; fourth highest total by linebacker in NFL history. . .Had 10 or more sacks in a season seven times; recorded multi-sack games 27 times. . .Forced 45 fumbles, had 19 fumble recoveries, scored four touchdowns on fumble returns and added three safeties during career. . .Lone interception came in final season. . .Member of NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s. . .All-NFL three times. . .Named first-team All-AFC seven times during eight-year stretch (1989-1996). . .In 11 years Thomas anchored defense, Chiefs finished first or second in AFC West ten times, made seven playoff appearances, won three division titles. . .Born January 1, 1967 in Miami, Florida. . .Died February 8, 2000.

THURMAN THOMAS
Running Back . . . 5-10, 198. . .Oklahoma State. . .1988-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Miami Dolphins. . .13 seasons, 182 games. . .Selected in the second round (40th player overall) in 1988 NFL Draft. . .Epitomized heart and soul of Bills team during their glory years in early 1990s. . .A vital component to Bills unprecedented run of four straight Super Bowl appearances. . Set record by leading NFL in total yards from scrimmage four consecutive seasons. . .In 1991 gained over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and was voted league's Most Valuable Player. . .At time of retirement ranked sixth all-time in career yards from scrimmage (16,532). . .At time of retirement, one of only three running backs to gain 1,000 yards in 8 consecutive seasons. . .Rushed for 12,074 yards during career. . .Only Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders rushed for more yards in decade of the 1990s. . .One of only three running backs (Walter Payton and Marcus Allen) to have over 400 receptions and 10,000 yards rushing. . .Played in six AFC title games and four Super Bowls. . .Set playoff records for career points (126), touchdowns (21), and consecutive games with a TD (9). . .Selected to play in five consecutive Pro Bowls. . .First- or second-team All-Pro five consecutive years (1989-1993). . .All-AFC 1989-1993, All-AFC Second Team 1994. . . Born on May 16, 1966 in Houston, Texas.

REGGIE WHITE
Defensive End/Defensive Tackle. . .6-5, 291. . .Tennessee. . .1985-1992 Philadelphia Eagles, 1993-1998 Green Bay Packers, 2000 Carolina Panthers. . .15 seasons, 232 games. . .Selected in the first round (4th player overall) 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft. . .Nicknamed "Minister of Defense," was consensus All-America as a senior at Tennessee. . .Joined Eagles after two years with USFL's Memphis Showboats. . .During eight seasons with Eagles recorded more sacks (124) than games played (121). . .In 1987 season recorded 21 sacks, second most in NFL history at the time. . .Became only player to accumulate 20 or more sacks in just 12 games. . .His 1.75 average sacks per game in that season was also a record. . .In 1993, went to Green Bay where he recorded another 68.5 sacks, becoming Packers' all-time sack leader. . . A dominant defensive performer, at time of retirement his 198 sacks were NFL record as was his 12 seasons with 10-plus sacks. . .Reached 100 sacks in 93 games, 21 games quicker than No. 2 Lawrence Taylor. . .Only player to record 10 sacks in 9 consecutive seasons. . .Was important contributor to Packers two Super Bowl appearances. . .Named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1987 and 1998. . .Briefly retired following 1998 season. . .Signed with Carolina Panthers for 2000 season . . .Elected to 13 straight Pro Bowls. . .Named All-Pro 13 of 15 seasons including 10 as first-team selection. . .Born December 19, 1961 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. . .Died December 26, 2004.

RAYFIELD WRIGHT
Tackle. . .6-6, 255. . .Fort Valley State. . .1967-1979 Dallas Cowboys. . .13 seasons, 166 games. . .Selected by Cowboys in seventh round (182nd played overall) of 1967 NFL Draft. . .Raw talent, used as a tight end, defensive end, and offensive tackle during first three seasons. . .In 1969 replaced injured right tackle Ralph Neely in lineup. . .First opponent was future Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones. . .Performance against Jones good enough that before 1970 training camp, named permanent starting right tackle. . .One season later was named All-NFL. . .Known as "Big Cat," earned first- or second-team All-NFL honors six consecutive times (1971-1976). . .Selected to play in Pro Bowl following each of those seasons. . .1975 season particularly impressive. . .Coming off knee surgery, many questioned whether he would even play. . .Again earned All-NFL honors. . .In 1975 postseason play faced three legendary defensive ends - Jack Youngblood, L.C. Greenwood, and Carl Eller - head on. . .Each time rose to occasion with exceptional play. . .During career, Wright and Cowboys won 10 division titles, six conference crowns, two Super Bowls. Started at right tackle in six NFC championship games and played in five Super Bowls. . .Named to NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1970s. . .Born August 23, 1945 in Griffin, Georgia.

GARY ZIMMERMAN
Tackle. . .6-6, 294. . .Oregon. . .1986-1992 Minnesota Vikings, 1993-1997 Denver Broncos. . .12 seasons, 184 games. . .Selected in first round (3rd player overall) 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft. . .Originally selected by Giants, signing rights traded to Vikings for two second-round picks in 1986 draft. . .Spent two seasons with the L.A. Express of failed USFL before reporting to Vikings. . .After joining Vikings, began streak of 169 consecutive starts that lasted until 1996 when surgery sidelined him. . .Anchored offensive line that helped Vikings lead NFC in rushing, 1991. . .Acquired by Broncos in trade prior to start of 1993 season. . .With Zimmerman blocking, Broncos recorded most successful offensive output in franchise history. . .Led AFC in total combined yards, 1995. . .Led NFL in that category, 1996, 1997. . .Broncos also led NFL in rushing, 1996. . .Equally adept at pass blocking, Minnesota and Denver quarterbacks led their conferences in passing 1986, 1988, 1993, 1996. . .One of just handful of players to earn honor of being named to two NFL All-Decade Teams, 1980s, 1990s. . .Earned first- or second-team All-Pro honors eight times. . .Selected to play in seven Pro Bowls. . .Born December 13, 1961 in Fullerton, California.